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3.84 | 26 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 1969

Filed under Proto-Metal


Disc One

1. Overture (3:50)
2. It's A Boy! (2:07)
3. 1921 (3:14)
4. Amazing Journey (3:25)
5. Sparks (3:45)
6. The Hawker (2:15)
7. Christmas (5:30)
8. Cousin Kevin (4:03)
9. The Acid Queen (3:31)
10. Underture (9:55)

Disc Two

1. Do You Think It's Alright? (0:24)
2. Fiddle About (1:26)
3. Pinball Wizard (3:50)
4. There's A Doctor (0:25)
5. Go To The Mirror! (3:50)
6. Tommy Can You Hear Me? (1:35)
7. Smash The Mirror (1:20)
8. Sensation (2:32)
9. Miracle Cure (0:10)
10. Sally Simpson (4:10)
11. I'm Free (2:40)
12. Welcome (4:30)
13. Tommy's Holiday Camp (0:57)
14. We're Not Gonna Take It! (6:45)

Total Time 75:12


- Roger Daltrey / lead vocals, harmonica, tambourine
- Pete Townshend / guitars, banjo, keyboards, lead vocals, backing vocals
- John Entwistle / bass guitar, French horn, lead vocals, backing vocals
- Keith Moon / drums, percussion, backing vocals

- Paul Townshend / backing vocals
- Simon Townshend / backing vocals

About this release

Released by Track, Polydor, Decca.

Reissued in 1996 with the following tracklist:

1. Overture (5:21)
2. It's A Boy (0:39)
3. 1921 (2:50)
4. Amazing Journey (3:25)
5. Sparks (3:47)
6. Eyesight To The Blind (2:14)
7. Christmas (4:34)
8. Cousin Kevin (4:07)
9. The Acid Queen (3:35)
10. Underture (10:09)
11. Do You Think It's Alright? (0:25)
12. Fiddle About (1:30)
13. Pinball Wizard (3:00)
14. There's A Doctor (0:24)
15. Go To The Mirror! (3:50)
16. Tommy Can You Hear Me? (1:36)
17. Smash The Mirror (1:35)
18. Sensation (2:27)
19. Miracle Cure (0:12)
20. Sally Simpson (4:12)
21. I'm Free (2:40)
22. Welcome (4:34)
23. Tommy's Holiday Camp (0:58)
24. We're Not Gonna Take It! (7:08)

Total Time 75:12

Reissued as Deluxe Edition with a bonus disc with the following tracklist:

1. I Was (0:17)
2. Christmas (outtake) (4:43)
3. Cousin Kevin Model Child (1:25)
4. Young Man Blues (version 1) (2:51)
5. Tommy Can You Hear Me? (alternate version) (1:59)
6. Trying to Get Through (2:51)
7. Sally Simpson (out-take) (4:09)
8. Miss Simpson (4:18)
9. Welcome (take 2) (3:44)
10. Tommy's Holiday Camp (band's version) (1:07)
11. We're Not Gonna Take It (alternate version) (6:08)
12. Dogs (Part Two) (2:26)
13. It's A Boy (0:43)
14. Amazing Journey (3:41)
15. Christmas (1:55)
16. Do You Think It's Alright (0:28)
17. Pinball Wizard (3:46)

Total Time 46:11

Thanks to Lynx33 for the addition

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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Although it was tremendously important in promoting the idea of the narrative concept album, I have to say that Tommy hasn't weathered the test of time quite as well as some of its contemporaries. It's not that the lyrics are goofy - though it's hard to deny that they are, seeing how they're so steeped in Pete Townshend's interpretation of Meher Baba's teachings that if you don't agree with their premises they are quite likely to grate - so much that we now have better performances of the material available to us that tease out the power of the songs so much better. Both Live At Leeds and Live At the Isle of Wight Festival contain performances of the Tommy album as the Who delivered them on their 1970 tours, in which the orchestration was jettisoned and they tackled the material - sometimes quite complex, as on the instrumental Sparks - as a standard "power trio plus vocalist" lineup. And brought the house down.

As it is, the album itself is a bit too mawkish, a bit too soft, a bit too unsure of itself, when what you want out of the whole is a howling, rocking, loud as hell monster. It's good, I won't deny that, but it's been outshone since both by other artists and by the Who themselves, leaving it upstage and sounding not particularly fresh. Sure, it was revolutionary when it came out, but I'm not listening to it when it came out, I'm listening to it *now*, and that's the basis on which I review albums. There are seminal, revolutionary albums from the early prog days that still sound as bold and new today as they did when they came out. Tommy isn't one of them.
siLLy puPPy
TOMMY is one of those so-called “firsts” that doesn't quite muster up the goods to fall in the category of the “bests.” A rather ambitious project by THE WHO that was fairly cutting edge back in 1969 when the music world was in a creative explosion ushering all kinds of firsts like fully developed progressive rock in the form of King Crimson and East Of Eden, totally new genres like heavy metal from the likes of Black Sabbath or brilliant and creative new forms of jazz-fusion from the likes of Miles Davis but unlike their contemporaries THE WHO's first foray into the newly opened possibilities of progressive rock just doesn't seem as competent as all the others. Apparently the album was partially inspired by the teachings of Pete Townsend's spiritual guru Meher Baba who claimed to be an avatar and God in human form (seems like everyone had one after the Beatles went to an ashram in India). The story is about a boy named Tommy who is deaf, dumb and blind and his world as he goes through life. Hailed by critics at the time for being one of the first rock opera's and was in no doubt THE WHO's major breakthrough after a couple psychedelic rock albums firmly planted in the style of the late 1960s.

I have never loved TOMMY nor have I ever hated it. For me this is just one of those historical relics that marks a time in musical history as a milestone of sort but never really able to sustain itself throughout the decades that passed. The story is not a bad concept but what really keeps me from loving this album is how much of the music sounds the same track after track and segments are played way past their point of making the point. The midpoint overture cleverly titled “Underture” is the perfect example of a song that just goes on and on and on offering meager variations and has no ability to sustain my interest. I find this is true of much of this album. There are many individual tracks that are brilliant. I'm quite partial to the hits “Pinball Wizard” and “I'm Free” but there is just too much clunkiness on this album for me to get excited about. Having said all that I do like to throw this on now and again because it does mark a specific time in history and for that reason I do like this album but when I want to hear THE WHO I usually go straight for the much better releases that immediately follow.
The Concept Album Part 1

It's not hard to listen to this album, and not just be flushed with just the pure excellence of it.

This album is a pure masterpiece, and is a real landmark in music history.

This album did have alot of spin offs, including a movie, musical and other werid stuff.

I recomend the movie, it is quite good & at times very weird, and can even mess with your mind a wee bit (as I will tell you later)

1. Overture - A perfect presentation of themes, musically put together. 10/10

2. It's A Boy - Beautiful vocal harmonies and climaxes. 10/10

3. 1921 - One of my favourite songs on the album. I love the vocals in it, Pete & Roger do create a great colourfull harmony. 10/10

4. Amazing Journey - The lyrics of the song freak me out a wee bit, but it does have a great chorus. 9/10

5. Sparks - Quite psychadellic. Pretty cool. 8/10

6. The Hawker (Eyesight To The Blind) - The best parts of this song are the dominant bass and drums. 10/10

7. Christmas - Great song with some werid time changes and even werid goony like backing vocals. I love this song too much to hate it really. 10/10

8. Cousin Kevin - I remember falling asleep on my couch, and waking up to find my dad was watching the movie of this album. This scene really dug hard into my brain and I remember having weird and quite scary dreams after it. But, besides that, this is my favourite song on the album. The quite complex harmonies creating a quite fugal feel are amazing. 10/10

9. The Acid Queen - I do prefer the movie version, mainly because Tina Turner's performance was quite provacative but nontheless amazing. I'm not the biggest fan of Daltrey's voice in this song. 8/10

10. Underture - A wee bit long in my opinion, but great representation of the themes. 9/10

11. Do You Think It's Alright - Basically leads to the next song. 10/10

12. Fiddle About - The movie version of this song is incredibly weird, but suprisingly funny. Keith Moons portrayal was quite eccentric, but very funny in a very moral defining way. 10/10

13. Pinball Wizard - Again the movie version is better, and I prefer Elton John singing this song. 10/10

14. There's A Doctor - Another interlude. 9/10

15. Go To The Mirror! -My brother's favourite song from this album. I do agree with him, this song does rule. Amazingly put together. 10/10

16. Tommy Can Your Hear Me? - The movie version of this song was ver weird, and I prefer the folkly acoustic feeling of the album version. 10/10

17. Smash The Mirror - Great song, again I prefer the movie version, the actresss playing his mother (I forget her name) did an amazing job. 10/10

18. Sensation - This song is quite cathcy, and has very Beach Boys vibe to it. 9/10

19. Miracle Cure - Interlude basically. 9/10

20. Sally Simpson - I detest the movie version of this song. To be honest, I'm not the biggest fan of it anyway. 8/10

21. I'm Free - Why is this song near the end of the album, when it should come before Sensation (the movie got it right). 9/10

22. Welcome - I'm not the biggest fan of this song (to be honest the ending never really got me, I loved the rest though). 8/10

23. Tommy's Holiday Camp - How can you not like this song. 9/10

24. We're Not Gonna Take It! - Pretty cool ending. I hate the first verse of the song, I always thought the cork bit was quite innuendo to be honest. 9/10

CONCLUSION: Either you've heard it or you need to hear it.


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