Sunday, April 22, 2012

Song Of The Week: 4/22/12

Song: "Sea And Sand"

Artist: The Who

Album: "Quadrophenia"

Year: 1973

Without getting into the whole story that is the mini-opera called "Quadrophenia", I'll just say that "Sea And Sand" is a time of reflection for the story's main character Jimmy. Jimmy would go to the beach to gather his thoughts and reflect on his inadequacy in love as well as his inability to fit in at home or with the Mod subculture that he so much wanted to be a part of. "Quadrophenia" was really The Who's masterpiece, specifically Pete Townsend's. Townsend called this album the greatest piece of music he ever wrote and the best he ever will write. The Who formed as a band in England back in 1964. To separate themselves from the already successful Beatles and Rolling Stones, The Who would feature a bombastic live show, complete with smoke bombs and destruction of instruments. Early hits like "I Can't Explain", "My Generation" and "I Can See For Miles" put The Who on the map and they would never look back. Lead singer Roger Daltry had a thunderous voice and unmatched stage presence. Bassist John Entwistle took you on a ride with his slick basslines, never staying in one spot for long, always moving. Keith Moon, the band's drummer, was insane to say the least. His drumming was unrivaled and he managed to turn total chaos into a thing of beauty. Lead guitarist Pete Townsend was the mastermind of the band. A creative genius who would almost bring himself to nervous breakdowns while creating some of the best music of all time, then would let out his pent up frustrations on stage, on his guitar and on the audience's ears. I'd say the real "golden era", if you want to call it that, for The Who was between the years 1969 and 1979. During this span, the band released the following hallmark albums, "Tommy", "Who's Next", "Quadrophenia", "The Who By Numbers", "Who Are You" and "The Kids Are Alright". These albums, along with unforgettable live performances, most notably the Monterey Pop Festival, Woodstock and the Isle Of Wight, would propel The Who to legendary status, easily securing a spot right next to The Beatles and The Rolling Stones as one of the best rock and roll bands of all time. The Who would sell about 100 million records worldwide during their illustrious career. All wasn't always perfect for the band however. Tragedy would strike not once, but twice for the band. In 1978, drummer Keith Moon died of an overdose right at the height of The Who's reign on the rock world. They would continue on as a band, but very sporadically. Mostly, they would get together for benefit festivals and stuff like that. In 2002, bassist John Entwistle passed away of a heart attack leaving only Daltry and Townsend as the surviving members of The Who. The two did put out a new studio album in 2006 entitled "Endless Wire" but touring was again sporadic, mostly due to health issues involving Townsend. Still, the band always makes it a point to perform at the Teenage Cancer Trust benefits concerts that are held yearly at Royal Albert Hall in London. Currently, word has it that Townsend has been writing new material for a supposed Who record in the future.

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