A while ago I started posting some of the albums from the 70′s that I’d particularly enjoyed back then but hadn’t played in years, terminal apathy set in and I let the idea fizzle. I recall creating a mental list that was too long to include here but it included Traffic, Van Morrison, Floyd, CSN plus many more, that was a wonderful period for new releases by major groups. There was one very memorable album that I liked a lot but it doesn’t get any airplay or mention anymore, that was Tommy by The Who, I first heard it in Suffolk when it was released and I played it obsessively everyday that summer; I was teaching at a California university then and had delusions of including it into the curriculum on my return and teaching the course on Tommy, that’s how much impact it had. Does anyone else out there share my enthusiasm or had it faded into obscurity by the time most Spillers were up and about? Rather than go into detail about the album I’ll refer you to Wiki, they have a decent page on it:

Plus there’s a piece here [Tommy text] from a 1968 Rolling Stone interview with Pete Townshend, [he basically wrote the whole thing] where he talks about how Tommy came into being and how it evolved. In 1975 it was produced as a film which was directed by Ken Russell, I can’t stomach anything made by him, I walked out after about 15 minutes. I did likewise for his film ‘Mahler’. I’m posting Tommy in 4 parts, one for each side of a double vinyl album, in total it runs 72 mins, if you’re a believer in earworms it’s worth it.

side 1.

side 2.

side 3.

side 4.

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13 thoughts on “THAT DEAF, DUMB AND BLIND KID…

  1. Excellent post, GF. I discovered “Tommy” circa 1977, my first boyfriend had the album, together with Quadrophenia (which I prefer). It was innovative in its day, and Roger Daltry had a superb voice. I’m with you on the film – saw it once on TV and that was enough. The story is best left to the imagination, carried by the music.

  2. Tommy is a great album, I play it a lot.

    The Who were a fantastic band back in their heyday.

    They should have knocked it on the head when Moony died though.

  3. The Who have long been one of my all-time favorites, I think their musicianship and creativity were way above a lot of the rest and Mooney was their driving force, literally; I’ve never seen/heard a drummer who could come close to him. Fabulous band.

  4. Tfd and i just had and involved chat about We’re Not Gonna Take It for the last topic. I’m glad to see that i wasn’t the only one who hated the film though. I think i bailed out after Ann-Margaret was rolling around in the baked beans.

  5. I like the film a lot – the Acid Queen sequence is my favourite, and I’ve already explained why!

    Also, seeing it broke me out of my ‘no listening to music’ phase. This had lasted since I’d moved in with a man with no record player, who only liked live music – and no ‘popular’ music at all. In the autumn of 1975 I was visiting my parents so that I could revise in peace and quiet for my first OU exams, and I went to see the film as a bit of a breather from all the book work. So I didn’t recognise any of the music except Pinball Wizard, and it all just thrilled me so much that I went home with a new purpose – we acquired a record player in no time flat and I bought the Tommy album.

    I then could compare the original with the changes Russell had made; like amy I don’t like the baked beans, nor the music that went with them, which was new stuff that Pete had added to link parts of the story together. But I do specially like the way the setting was moved from the 20s to the 50s so that Oliver Reed could be a teddy boy – though it does mean it takes Tommy’s father rather a long time to reappear.

    Plus the film has my favourite continuity error EVER – the boy who plays Tommy as a child has brown eyes.

  6. Thank you so much for posting this, it is really generous of you to take the time.

    I am not so familiar with the WHO, but I am looking forward to listening to this!

    Thank you so much!

  7. Sakura: Of all the Spillers, you’re the one most likely to enjoy discovering the Who, one of the most important UK bands of the 60′s/70′s, wish I was starting over. Check this video, that’s what the Who were like, lots of posturing, huge amounts of enthusiasm and great musicianship; Pete’s the one with the tambourine and Keith’s at the back enjoy.

  8. Rock Operas: 3 – 5 good tracks, padded with filler, to tell a dull & depressing “story” (see also: Pink Floyd – The Wall). Sorry.

  9. Although I loved individual tracks and I love the Who, the film ruined Tommy for me at the time – so much so that I never bought the album, which I now plan to rectify at some future opportunity. Great post.

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