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Buyer's Guide: The Who

Classic Rock's guide to The 'Orrible 'Oo

Many of the basics of rock began with the Who: the emphatic clang of Pete Townshend’s guitar, the ardent histrionics of singer Roger Daltrey, the dexterity of John Entwistle’s bass playing, the exuberant pummelling of madcap drummer Keith Moon. Also as pioneers of longer-form musical ideas from 1966, The Who massively expanded the lexicon of the music.

While Tommy remains The Who’s archetypal concept album, their greatest achievement, Who’s Next, stems from Townshend’s failure to top that idea. He sketched out Lifehouse, a project so complex it made the fractured narrative of Tommy seem as straightforward as their song I Can’t Explain, but finishing Lifehouse proved beyond the limits of his confidence – and the band’s patience (it was eventually completed in its intended form in 1999). But at the time, The Who were left with a batch of extraordinary songs which they captured in a studio with unprecedented clarity and energy. 

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