Posts Tagged ‘Track Records’

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Unlike ‘Quadrophenia’ and ‘Tommy,The Who’s other celebrated concept albums, ‘The Who Sell Out’ doesn’t tell a story. Instead, the album weaves together songs (like ‘I Can See for Miles’) with fake commercials (like for deodorant) so that the whole thing plays like 40 minutes of a pirate radio station. It’s pop-art filtered through the era’s psychedelic shadings.by The Who followed with its concept of a pirate radio broadcast. Within the record, joke commercials recorded by the band and actual jingles from recently outlawed pirate radio station Radio London were interspersed between the songs, ranging from pop songs to hard rock and psychedelic rock, culminating with a mini-opera titled “Rael.”

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Their 1967 psychedelic statement ‘The Who Sell Out’. Complete with radio ads linking the songs this is as swinging as the 60s got, plus my favourite ever Who 45 was contained within the grooves… ‘I Can See For Miles’.
Original copies of the album, issued on the Track label, came in Mono and Stereo and if you were lucky enough there was a sticker on the sleeve promising a ‘Free Psychedelic Poster Inside’. If you have the complete item with unblemished poster you are sitting on a £500+ record!

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‘Pinball Wizard’: The Magic Moment Behind The Who’s ‘Tommy’

‘Pinball Wizard’ is one of those very special pieces of music, It’s a great rock song, but at the same time a classic  song, and yet it was not as big a hit as perhaps we all remember, such is its popularity today, five decades after it was recorded. The song was, of course, part of Pete Townshend magnum opus “Tommy”,which he and the band had begun recording in September 1968, but they had broken off from working on to tour. With much of the album in the can, Pete had played some of it to his friend, the music critic Nik Cohn, who liked it, but thought it only worth four stars, rather than five.

Pete, knowing Cohn to be a massive pinball fan, asked “So, if it had pinball in it, would you give it a decent review?’ He went, ‘Of course I would. Anything with pinball in it’s fantastic.’ And so I wrote ‘Pinball Wizard,’ purely as a scam.”

Written in haste, Pete was unsure of its merit, saying, “It was going to be a complete dud, but I carried on. I attempted the same mock baroque guitar beginning that’s on ‘I’m a Boy’ and then a bit of vigorous kind of flamenco guitar. I was just grabbing at ideas. I knocked a demo together and took it to the studio and everyone loved it.”

On 7th February 1969, The Who went into Morgan Studios, in the High Road, Willesden, far from the most prestigious recording set up in central London, and set about ‘Pinball Wizard’ with Kit Lambert as producer.

Released on Friday 7th March, on Track Records it made the UK chart on the 22nd, climbing to No.4 on 3rd May. The Beatles ‘Get Back’ was at No. 1 and fellow Apple Records artist Mary Hopkin at No. 2 with ‘Goodbye,’ with the great Desmond Dekker and the Aces’ ‘The Israelites’ at No. 3. All this despite BBC Radio 1 DJ, Tony Blackburn calling ‘Pinball Wizard’ “distasteful.” Released in the US two weeks after its UK appearance, it made the Hot 100 in early April, eventually peaking too No.19 on the Billboard chart on 24th May.

Tommy was finished in March and released in May to critical and fan acclaim in equal measure, although there were some poor misguided critics who deemed it “sick.” Despite a poor sales start, the double album’s growing mystique eventually pushed Tommy to No. 2 in Britain .

Tommy formed the core of The Who’s set at the Woodstock Festival in the middle weekend of August 1969. While they were playing their “opera” section, Abbie Hoffman infamously stormed on stage just after they had just finished ‘Pinball Wizard’. He grabbed the microphone and started ranting about the imprisonment of John Sinclair, the leader of the White Panther Movement and the MC5’s manager. Townshend was incensed, and hit Hoffman with his guitar while herding him off the stage with a chorus of invective.

For all its controversies, ‘Pinball Wizard’ remains one of The Who’s crowning glories.

tommy

Pete Townshend‘s masterpiece is as much a defining part of the late ’60s as Vietnam and Woodstock. Its story — about a deaf, dumb and blind boy  turns hippie idealism into a messianic fable of acceptance and rejection. But it’s the music, constructed as a rock opera complete with an overture and recurring musical themes, that holds together this double-record epic.

Perhaps it’s the original rock opera “Tommy”, released in 1969, composed by Pete Townshend and performed by The Who. This acclaimed work was presented over two LPs and it took the idea of thematically based albums to a much higher appreciation by both critics and the public. It was also the first story-based concept album of the rock era to enjoy commercial success. The Who went on to further explorations of the concept album format with their follow-up project “Lifehouse”, which was abandoned before completion, and with their 1973 rock opera, “Quadrophenia”.

After the witty, but flawed The Who Sell Out, The Who still hadn’t been really accepted as a serious album act. That was it, if they were going to conquer the world, they were going to have to use the big guns. It was time for the rock opera. While there had been concept albums before, none of them had been on this scale, Tommy was a double album meditation on loneliness, murder, child abuse, spritual guff, rejection and and a whole host of other weird stuff. On top of this it also had some fantastic tunes and was easily the best Who album to date.

Tommy as a little boy see’s his father murdered by his mother and her lover. He is told to never say he saw it or heard it. Tommy, being deaf, dumb, and blind learns to play pinball by sense of smell and touch soon master’s the game.
Tommy as an adult becomes famous for his pinball prowess and quickly gains a mass following. By the end of the Opera Tommy’s follower’s turn on him, as they get sick of all of the rules he give’s.

Townshend’s desire for this album to be taken seriously is underlined by the instrumental passages “Overture” and “Sparks”, though admittedly the ambitious “Underture” was far too long for its own good. Most of the characters in this cantata are given voice by Roger Daltrey, though each member of the band seems to get to voice at least one character. As many of the songs on Tommy are a part of the much bigger narrative, there’s actually not that many songs that work well as stand-alone tunes, with only the rocking “Pinball Wizard” and to a lesser extent “Sally Simpson” able to thrive outside of the confines of the parent album.

Tommy is an album you have to listen in totality. There’s no point in which you can happily let your mind wander, other than “Underture”, which probably explains why it is one of the most popular tracks on the album (i.e. it gives you chance to put the kettle on). Arguably the thing that makes Tommy work was the drive and ambition of Pete Townshend and the fact at this stage in their career, The Who were a particularly well-drilled band, capable of making a good job of almost anything thrown at them.

Of course since its release Tommy has inspired countless bands to attempt ill-conceived and frankly tedious concept albums, all trying to be hugely significant and open the doors of perception. Ultimately Tommy is a much more intelligent and creative album than its questionable legacy suggests.

On (May 23rd) in 1969: The Who released their classic album ‘Tommy’ (Track Records in the UK/Decca Records in the US), a full-blown ‘rock opera’ about a deaf, dumb & blind boy that launched the band to international superstardom; written almost entirely by Pete Townshend, his ability to construct a lengthy conceptual narrative brought new possibilities to rock music; despite the complexity involved, he & the band never lost sight of solid pop melodies, harmonies & forceful instrumentation, imbuing the material with a suitably powerful grace the album has sold over 20 million copies worldwide…

The Who – Rock Opera Tommy – Full Concert – 1989 – Live performance in Los Angeles at the Universal Amphitheater The Los Angeles version of this show featured Phil Collins as Uncle Ernie, Patti LaBelle as the Acid Queen, Steve Winwood as the Hawker, Elton John as the Pinball Wizard and Billy Idol as Cousin Kevin

The Band

Roger Daltry (Vocals) Peter Townsend (Vocals/ Guitar) John Entwistle (Vocals Bass) Phil Collins, Billy Idol, Elton John, Patti LaBelle, Steve Winwood Simon Phillips (drums) Steve Boltz Bolton (Guitar) John Rabbit Bundrick (Keyboards) Roddy Lorimor (trumpet) Jody Linscott (Percussion) Simon Clarke (Saxophone) Tim Sanders (Saxophone) Niel Sidwell (Trombone) Simon Gardner (Trumpet) Chyna (Vocals) Cleveland (Vocals) Billy Nichols (Vocals)

The Who: ‘Maximum As & Bs’ Box Set, Plus Coloured Townshend Vinyl, Set For Release

UMC-Polydor are set to issue Maximum As & Bs, a 5CD box set, which collects all A-sides, B-sides and EPs from The Who in one place for the very first time, on 27th October.

Maximum As & Bs features 86 tracks in all from the Brunswick, Reaction, Track and Polydor labels. The tracklist includes classic hits such as ‘Pictures Of Lily’, ‘I Can See For Miles’, ‘Magic Bus’, ‘Pinball Wizard’, ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’, ‘Substitute’, ‘I Can’t Explain’, ‘Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere’, ‘My Generation’, ‘Squeeze Box’ and many more, along with the band’s last recorded track to date, ‘Be Lucky’.

In addition, the set includes rarely heard B-sides and EP tracks, along with the group’s first single (recorded as The High Numbers), ‘Zoot Suit’, b/w ‘I’m The Face’. In all, the box features five CDs, in separate wallets, housed in a rigid, lift-off-style box along. Also included is a 48-page booklet, with track-by-track annotation by acclaimed The Who writers plus period photos and memorabilia.

Also coming exclusively to vinyl on 27th October are new editions of The Who’s first singles anthology Meaty, Beaty, Big & Bouncy and their landmark live LP Live At LeedsThe New York Times declared the latter title – which was originally released in 1970 – to be “quite simply… the best live rock album ever made.” Both titles have been cut at Abbey Road Studios in London with half-speed mastering and will be available on heavyweight, 180g vinyl.

Prior to the arrival of these new editions from The Who, UMC-Polydor are releasing remastered editions of Pete Townshend’s critically-acclaimed demo and outtake collections, Scoop, Another Scoop and Scoop 3. Reissued for the first time in a decade and a half, these albums give a unique insight into Townshend’s creative process and feature early versions of future classics by The Who such as ‘Eminence Front’, ‘The Real Me’, ‘Long Live Rock’ and ‘Magic Bus’.

As with the aforementioned titles from The Who, these Pete Townshend albums have been newly remastered at half speed, and will also be pressed on different coloured wax. Scoop will be available on pink, Another Scoop on yellow, and Scoop 3 on light blue vinyl.

Cheapest price yet for the recent The Who Track Records seven-inch vinyl box on Amazon UK at present…

This is the third in a series of singles box sets and contains music from the band’s Track Records era – featuring 45s like Pinball Wizard, I Can See For Miles and Won’t Get Fooled Again. The 15 singles are all pressed on heavyweight vinyl with paper sleeves, and are housed in a rigid ‘lid-and-tray’ outer box. This also comes with a 20-page colour booklet with liner notes about each release

A fantastic box set, obviously not a original idea, the music speaks for itself, the format is one of individual choice, but I do love a good 7″ vinyl box set.
The labels, the sound, the total number of singles this box gives you is good value for money, divide the cost between the fifteen singles and it doesn’t seem so bad.
The booklet could of been better, maybe a few more unreleased photos, but it gives you the scope on each 7″,
The only other disapointment is the plain sleeves on the singles, except for the two picture covers, they look so boring, they could of just used a corner stamp with the Track logo….but white plain sleeves make this box set look slightly cheap
The Track Records Singles Box 1967-1973 [7" VINYL]

The Track Records Single 1967 – 1973 is volume three of a four part set of classic Who singles pressed on heavyweight vinyl with paper sleeves , rarely heard b-sides , 7” sized 20-page colour booklet with liner notes about each release and period memorabilia. The 15 disc set also features classic hits –‘Pictures of Lily’, ‘I Can See For Miles’, Magic Bus’, ‘Pinball Wizard’, ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ and ‘Join Together’….