The Who formed out of the ashes of two bands. Pete Townshend and John Entwistle had a Dixieland Jazz band called The Confederates while Roger Daltry had a blues band called The Detours. One day, Daltry saw Entwistle walking down the street with his bass and asked him to join The Detours. Entwistle joined and brought Townshend along with him. By 1964, and the addition of Keith Moon on drums, the quartet began calling themselves The Who. But for a brief period in 1964, they changed their name to The High Numbers and released their first single aimed at the burgeoning British Mod scene featuring “Zoot Suit” as the A-side and “I’m The Face” on the B-side. “Face” was written by then-manager Peter Meaden and is a total rip of Slim Harpo’s “Got Love If You Want It.” Listening to it now, you can hear how the band’s sound that they termed “Maximum R’n’B” was already fully-formed and wholly their own. Shortly after the single bombed, the band changed their name back to The Who and began to write their own material at the insistence of their new manager, Kit Lambert, who wisely began molding them after The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. But with Keith Moon as their not-so-secret weapon, The Who stood tall amongst their peers, and far above all of the rest in the music scene of the early 1960s.
One of the gems I picked up on a Record Store Day was the second volume of Quadrophenia demos by Pete Townshend pressed on 10″ vinyl. The first volume was released in November 2011 on Black Friday Record Store Day. Also in 2011, The Who released a deluxe Quadrophenia CD box set that featured the whole two record set in demo form as bonus tracks. The demos illustrate Townshend’s creative process of pretty much having everything figured out ahead of time before he presented the songs to the band. The arrangements are all there in demo form with Townshend handling all instruments, overdubs and vocals. While Roger Daltry was a more dramatic vocalist, Entwistle the definitive anchor to the band and Moon a far more exciting drummer, Townshend holds his own on these recordings and really could have released them as a solo record. As far as the album is concerned, Quadrophenia was Townshend’s last real credible musical statement. Sure “Who By Numbers” and “Who Are You” are good albums, but they are patchy collections of songs without a defining theme. Most of his solo records, barring “Empty Glass” are pretty uneven with “The Iron Man” being the low point of his career. I also feel Quadrophenia is a far more consistent and developed collection compared to Tommy, Townshend’s other epic musical statement.
Song Of The Day – “5:15” by The Who
Since it recently received the deluxe reissue treatment, I revisited the Who’s “Quadrophenia” album on Spotify for the first time in years. I’ve got to admit that the album holds up better than most of the other Who albums and this clip from Top Of The Pops just before its 1973 release shows the band when they were indeed a powerhouse. The two discs of demos that augment the reissue not only show how Townshend had the whole thing worked out before he ever delivered it to The Who, but that there are several songs that didn’t make the cut that would’ve pushed the story along in different directions.
The inspiration came from my good friend Otis Jones who sent out an email to our group of music-loving friends from North Carolina (and now VA, OR, AZ, and me up in Illinois.)
He implored the group to add to his list of three stellar albums in a row by rock artists. Live albums and compilations not included.
He led off with:
Beatles: Rubber Soul/Revolver/Sgt. Pepper
Rolling Stones: Beggars Banquet/Let It Bleed/Sticky Fingers
Jimi Hendrix: Are You Experienced/Axis: Bold As Love/Electric Ladyland
Neil Young: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere/After The Goldrush/Harvest
Led Zeppelin: Zoso/Houses of the Holy/Physical Graffiti
CCR: Green River/Willie and the Poorboys/Cosmos Factory
So you get the picture.
I chose one deeper cut (not really possible with Zep IV) and played them on air. Included is my Spotify playlist. Note that they don’t have the Beatles in their catalog, so my leadoff tracks of “I’m Looking Through You,” “She Said She Said,” and “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite” are not included.
This is part one. Another installment airs next Wednesday.
Tune in most Wednesday 9 – 11 AM ET on wmxm.org or 88.9 FM in the northern Chicago suburbs.
1966, Bob Dylan and The Band played at the Convention Center in Louisville, Kentucky. This was the first date on a world tour which would become noted as Dylan’s first that used electric instruments, after he had ‘gone electric’ at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival.
1967, The Rolling Stones’ Between the Buttons enters the U.K. chart at No. 3.
1967, The Monkees self-titled debut album started a seven-week run at No.1 on the album chart.
1968, Billed as ‘Tour 60 cities in 66 Days’ The Jimi Hendrix Experience appeared at the Winterland in San Francisco.
1968, Working at Abbey Road studios, London, The Beatles recorded ‘Across The Universe’. John and Paul decided the song needed some falsetto harmonies so they invited two girl fans into the studio to sing on the song. The two were Lizzie Bravo, a 16-year-old Brazilian living near Abbey Road and 17-year-old Londoner Gayleen Pease.
1970, John Lennon and Yoko Ono donated their hair for an auction in aid of the Black Power movement.
1972, Genesis appeared at the Hippodrome in Bristol, England.
1973, Pink Floyd played at the Palais des Sports de la Porte de Versailles, Paris.
1972, In a memo to Attorney General John Mitchell, South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond suggests that John Lennon be deported.
1974, Pink Floyd release “Time” b/w “Us and Them” as a 7-inch single in the US.
1975, Led Zeppelin performs at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.
1975, American jazz, blues, songwriter and saxophonist Louis Jordon died aged 66. Known as “The King of the Jukebox,” between 1942-1950 he scored eighteen No.1 singles and fifty-four Top Ten hits on the US R&B chart.
1976, David Bowie appeared at Memorial Coliseum, Portland, Oregon.
1977, The 25th anniversary show of TV’s “American Bandstand,” which began as a local program on WFIL-TV, Channel 6 in Philadelphia on October 7, 1952.
1977, Aerosmith played at the Kyoden-Taiiku-Kan, Fukuoka, Japan.
1977, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours is released. The album shoots to the top of US album charts, staying there for 31 weeks. More than 17 million copies have been sold in the U.S.
1979, The Grateful Dead appeared at the Dane County Coliseum in Madison, Wisconsin.
1981, The Who performed at the Rainbow Theatre in London.
1982, Scottish singer Alex Harvey died of a heart attack while waiting to take a ferry back to shore after performing a concert with his new band, the Electric Cowboys. In an ambulance on the way to the hospital, he suffered a second heart attack, this one fatal. It occurred on the day before his 47th birthday, in Zeebrugen, Belgium. Formed Alex Harvey Big Soul Band in 1959 and then mid 1960’s band Tear Gas. Had the 1975 UK No.7 single with Sensational Alex Harvey Band ‘Delilah’ and 1975 album ‘Next’.
1983, Karen Carpenter died aged 32 of a cardiac arrest at her parent’s house in Downey, California; the coroner’s report gave the cause of death of imbalances associated with anorexia nervosa. The Carpenters 1970 album Close to You, featured two hit singles: ‘(They Long to Be) Close to You’ and ‘We’ve Only Just Begun.’ They peaked at No.1 and No.2, on the singles chart. In 1975 – In Playboy’s annual opinion poll; its readers voted Karen Carpenter the Best Rock Drummer of the year.
1984, Culture Club started a three-week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with “Karma Chameleon” the group’s 5th US Top 10 hit, also a No.1 in the UK.
1984, Eurythmics scored their first UK No.1 album with their second release Touch, featuring the singles “Here Comes The Rain Again,” “Who’s That Girl” and “Right By Your Side.”
1984, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble kicked off their 114-date Couldn’t Stand the Weather tour at the War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.
1985, Prince performed at the Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis, Tennessee.
1992, Pearl Jam appeared at The Borderline in London, England, tickets cost £5 ($8.50.)
1999, In a daring move, Rykodisc becomes the first music label to give its stamp of approval to the MP3 music format.
2001, Jimmy Buffett is thrown out of a New York Knicks – Miami Heat basketball game after verbally abusing a referee.
Born on this day: John Steel, The Animals (1942); Florence Larue, The 5th Dimension (1944); Margie and Mary Ann Ganser, vocalists, The Shangri-Las (1947); Vincent Furnier, aka Alice Cooper (1948); Phil Ehart, Kansas (1950); Jerry Shirley, Humble Pie (1951); and Clint Black, country singer (1962)
Today in Rock History home page
Author of the daily InternetFM music column “Song of the Day,” Eric Berman joined me live in the Acid Flashback Radio studios for an afternoon and brought some great music by Peter Gabriel, Robert Fripp and David Bowie, a couple of vintage Who songs, and newer material from Jack White, eels, and an obscure group called Unknown Mortal Orchestra. You will also her some parody songs from the National Lampoon.
Most of the material for these two hours comes from real vinyl.
Listen to Hour 1
Listen to Hour 2
w/ Vintage Trouble
Allstate Arena, Rosemont, IL
November 29, 2012
Most people don’t remember that the halftime show was not really a rock/pop/hip showcase until the early nineties, when producer The Walt Disney company trotted out New Kids on the Block.
Early incarnations of the halftime event consisted of marching bands, drill teams, and “Up WIth People,” a group of singer made of young adults from around the world. They graced the halftime stage on four occasions.
None of those performances provided anything you couldn’t see at a New Year’s Day bowl game.
That all changed in 1993 at the Rose Bowl when Michael Jackson made his Super Bowl debut, and turned the half time show into must see TV.
Since then audiences have been treated to the likes of Diana Ross, ZZ Top, the Blues Brothers, a Motown review, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, U2, Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Prince and the Who.
Also included there is the infamous wardrobe malfunction set with Janet Jackson and Justin Timerberlake.
For my money the best show ever was Prince in 2007, and the worst ever- don’t perform live period was The Who in 2010. Pete and Roger were just flat out awful.
The 2012 show with Madonna and Cee Lo Green was eye-popping but hardly memorable.
On the other hand, and perhaps because I was there in person, his purple majesty put on a set for the ages. Despite the rain that was definitely not purple, the show was electric, the dark stadium with the flashlights was dazzling, and the atmosphere was flat out electric.
See for yourself.
The High Numbers was a name The Who used for five months in 1964. The was a single issued on the Fontana label. The B-side to “Zoot Suit.”
Click to hear