The WHO – ” Who’s Next ” Released August 14th in 1971

Posted: August 14, 2016 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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The Who - Whos-Next

“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,

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 fromLive 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”). That’s the key to Who’s Next  there’s anger and sorrow, humor and regret, passion and tumult, all wrapped up in a blistering package where the rage is as affecting as the heartbreak. This is a retreat from the ’60s, as Townshend declares the “Song Is Over,” scorns the teenage wasteland, and bitterly declares that we “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” For all the sorrow and heartbreak that runs beneath the surface, this is an invigorating record, not just because Keith Moon runs rampant or because Roger Daltrey has never sung better or because John Entwistle spins out manic basslines that are as captivating as his “My Wife” is funny. This is invigorating because it has all of that, plus Townshend laying his soul bare in ways that are funny, painful, and utterly life-affirming. That is what the Who was about, not the rock operas, and that’s why Who’s Next is truer than Tommy or the abandoned Lifehouse project. 

Track listing:

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”

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


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”
  • 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

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.

Check out this live cut of the song “Bargain”  with Pete’s  Dialogue – Long Beach, California December 10, 1971.

“Bargain” – San Francisco Civic Auditorium December 12, 1971. (This is an edited version of the performance)

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.
Recorded March May 1971 at Olympic Studios  in London

This is Track 09 of the Who’s album – Who’s Next. First recorded (then rejected) in New York on March 16th, 1971, this became the first song to be worked on with Glyn Johns during a trial session at Stargroves with The Rolling Stones Mobile studio in April, 1971. This version (unlike the New York original) used the synthesizer track from Pete’s demo and was edited down for the single which reached #9 in the UK and #15 in the USA. Played onstage at the Young Vic ( see Other Post ) and retained at every Who concert thereafter.

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