What a great way to begin this giant collection with a snippet of exasperated stage patter from a clearly angry Pete Townsend, in the US c1971.
The unlikely progress of a quartet of insecure young guys from mods through, for a while, to god-like rock icon status and then on to safe middle age is charted with pinpoint accuracy.
They always stuck out like a sore thumb, pre-Tommy, far more punk than r&b, but years before punk actually became a musical genre. And those early singles! Gorgeous, brutal, honest. These guys sounded real, looked real, and had the added plus of an articulate lead guitarist who gave good interview..
oh yes, plus Keith Moon. And you must have heard of him. What you may not know is how good a drummer he actually was - a wild man with a sense of the dramatic.
Then along came Tommy in 1969 and the band's fortunes never looked back. For some years the Who effectively ruled the roost, adored in the US, respected in the UK, while trying .. and failing .. to top Tommy and change the world.
Were they as good as some remember? That's up to you to judge. But if you are a serious rock fan, have respect for the genre, then this compilation will fill you in on the third main pillar of UK rock excellence, along with the Beatles and the Stones. And in some ways, the Who topped the lot. Peak years? 1969-1971. They were simply awesome at Woodstock and it is captured on film.
This compilation has an excellent booklet with a sweet intro from Pete Townsend and I love it to bits. Favourite track? Has got to be See Me Feel Me.. but Young Man's Blues is also, for me, the definitive killer performance. At their best, they sounded like an army charging towards you, intent on utter annihalation. And you can't say that about many bands, can you?