August 14: The Who released “Who’s Next” in 1971

whos-next

With its acoustic guitars and drumless bits, this triumph of hard rock is no more a pure hard rock album than Tommy. … And… it uses the synthesizer to vary the power trio format, not to art things up.
~Robert Christgau

On Who’s Next, the band crossed that line with power and grace. The album spawned the concert classics “Baba O’Riley” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again”; the great Daltrey vocal vehicles “Bargain” and “Song Is Over”; Entwistle’s scorching, anxiety-ridden “My Wife”; and Townshend’s most delicate song on record, “Behind Blue Eyes.” On Who’s Next, Townshend unleashed the power of the synthesizer as a rock & roll instrument, to be used like guitar or bass rather than as a special-effects novelty.
~The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (rollingstone.com)

#9 – Won’t Get Fooled Again:


From Wikipedia:

Released 14 August 1971 (UK); 25 August 1971 (US)
Recorded March–May 1971, Olympic Studios, London
Genre Rock, hard rock
Length 43:38
Language English
Label Track, Decca
Producer The Who, Glyn Johns (associate producer)

Who’s Next is the fifth studio album by English rock band The Who, released in August 1971. The album has origins in a rock opera conceived by Pete Townshend called Lifehouse. The ambitious, complex project did not come to fruition at the time and instead, many of the songs written for the project were compiled onto Who’s Next as a collection of unrelated songs. Who’s Next was a critical and commercial success when it was released, and has been certified 3× platinum by the RIAA.

The Who - Whos-Next back

From Allmusic (Stephen Thomas Erlewine):
Much of Who’s Next derives from Lifehouse, an ambitious sci-fi rock opera Pete Townshend abandoned after suffering a nervous breakdown, caused in part from working on the sequel to Tommy. There’s no discernable theme behind these songs, yet this album is stronger than Tommy, falling just behind Who Sell Out as the finest record the Who ever cut. Townshend developed an infatuation with synthesizers during the recording of the album, and they’re all over this album, adding texture where needed and amplifying the force, which is already at a fever pitch. Apart from Live at Leeds, the Who have never sounded as LOUD and unhinged as they do here, yet that’s balanced by ballads, both lovely (“The Song Is Over”) and scathing (“Behind Blue Eyes”). …. Read more -> Allmusic.com 

Classic albums (BBC Radio 1) The Who – Who’s Next (Townshend interview) (60min):

Originally broadcast June 2nd 1990 on BBC Radio 1.
Pete Townshend talks to Roger Scott about The Who’s 1971 album.

Track listing:

All songs written and composed by Pete Townshend, except where noted.

Side one
1. “Baba O’Riley” 5:08
2. “Bargain” 5:34
3. “Love Ain’t for Keeping” 2:10
4. “My Wife” (John Entwistle) 3:41
5. “The Song Is Over” 6:14
Side two
6. “Getting in Tune” 4:50
7. “Going Mobile” 3:42
8. “Behind Blue Eyes” 3:42
9. “Won’t Get Fooled Again”

Personnel:

The Who
  • Roger Daltrey – lead vocals, backing vocals, harmonica on “I Don’t Even Know Myself”
  • Pete Townshend – guitars, organ, VCS3 and ARP synthesiser, backing vocals, piano on “Baba O’Riley”, lead vocals on “Going Mobile” and the original version of “Love Ain’t for Keeping”, co-lead vocals on “Baba O’Riley”, “Bargain” and “The Song Is Over”
  • John Entwistle – bass guitar, backing vocals, brass, lead vocals and piano on “My Wife”
  • Keith Moon – drums, percussion
Additional musicians
  • Nicky Hopkins – piano on “The Song Is Over” and “Getting in Tune”
  • Dave Arbus – violin on “Baba O’Riley”
  • Al Kooper – organ on alternate version of “Behind Blue Eyes”
  • Leslie West – lead guitar on “Baby, Don’t You Do It”
Production
  • Kit Lambert, Chris Stamp, & Pete Kameron – executive production
  • The Who & Glyn Johns – production
  • Glyn Johns – engineering, mixing
  • Ethan A. Russell – photography
  • John Kosh – album design

#1 Baba O’Riley:

Accolades:

  • Who’s Next has been named one of the best albums of all time by VH1 (#13)
  • #28 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s  “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”
  • Upon its release it was named the best album of the year in The Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics poll.
  • It was also ranked #3 in Guitar World‘s Greatest Classic Rock Albums list.
  • Many of its nine tracks are perennial favourites on classic rock radio, especially “Baba O’Riley”, “Bargain”, “Behind Blue Eyes”, and the closing track “Won’t Get Fooled Again”.
  • The album appeared at number 15 on Pitchfork Media’s top 100 albums of the 1970s. 
  • The album is also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
  • In 2006, the album was chosen by TIME Magazine as one of the 100 best albums of all time.
  • In 2007 it was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for “historical, artistic and significant” value.
  • In 1999 it was the subject of a Classic Albums documentary produced by Eagle Rock Entertainment which has aired on VH1 and BBC among others, entitled Classic Albums: The Who – Who’s Next.
  • The album was selected as the 32nd-best of all time by Mojo in January 1996.
  • In 2011, Classic Rock Review named Who’s Next its album of the year for 1971.

Bargain Live @ San Francisco Civic Auditorium December 12, 1971. (This is an edited version of the performance) + classic Pete Dialogue – Long Beach, California December 10, 1971:

Spotify:

-Egil

One thought on “August 14: The Who released “Who’s Next” in 1971

  1. Hearing this when it was first released as a 15 year old in 1971, this album changed my life. It demonstrated to me more of a sense of the power, importance and possibilities inherent in music than anything else I had ever heard. I’ve never been the same since. I will always be grateful to Roger, Pete, John, and Keith for this album.

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