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Always gets a replay, never tilts at all

The Who's Tommy

The Who's Tommy

There is a special anniversary this week that we’d like to call to your attention. Yes, JFK would have been 92 today (we have 13 great biographies for him). Sure, Wisconsin joined the Union on this day in 1848 (later to be governed by Fighting Bob La Follette, six bios). But let’s go back a few days, to May 23, a day on which Bonnie and Clyde (seven bios, collectively) were shot to death in Louisiana in 1934. Israel captured Adolf Eichmann (five bios) in Argentina on May 23, 1960. And nine years later to the day, in 1969, the music industry saw, felt and touched history: The Who’s Tommy, the first and, in our opinion, greatest rock opera of all time, was released.

Long before Ann-Margret (one bio) basked in baked beans in the film and Des McAnuff (one bio) adapted Tommy for Broadway, it was sonic beauty on two discs of wax, 74 minutes of tripped-out rock’n’roll that reached its apotheosis with “Pinball Wizard” and also spawned “I’m Free”. The album was dedicated to guru Meher Baba (five bios), whose teachings inspired Pete Townshend.

The Who consisted of guitarist Townshend (two bios), singer Roger Daltrey (three bios), bassist John Entwistle (one bio) and drummer Keith Moon (one bio). We also have three biographies for The Who as a complete band, from Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, Contemporary Musicians and St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. It’s best to read them while rocking out to “The Acid Queen” or “Sensation.”

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Posted on: May 29, 2009, 2:29 pm Category: Factoids Tagged with: , , , , , ,

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