- Album name: The Story of The Who
- Group name: The Who
- Year: 1976
- Number of discs: two
- Label: Polydor Records
- Collection: Brenner / Gessner
- Who owned it: I think I bought this one!
- Buy it on Amazon: $8.99
Level of familiarity before listening
My recollection is that I probably bought this record around 2000, probably at a used record store on East Gude Drive in Rockville, Maryland.
That, however, was exactly what I thought about Hooligans, when I reviewed it last summer.
Did I actually buy two double-album compilations by the Who at the same record store – which I do not believe that I visited more than once – which would hardly make any sense? Or could I have picked up one of these records at a different time and place? I have no idea, but I do think it’s unlikely that either of my parents would have bought either of these compilations.
At any rate, I know most of the songs on it, but I have no clear memory of ever listening to it, and may only have played it once or twice after buying it (and leaving it in my parents’ basement with their record collection, since I never owned a turntable until my parents gave me theirs).
What I expected
This is four sides of the Who, and I expect to love it because the songs are weighted much more heavily towards their better music: sides one and two are pre-Tommy, side three is material from Tommy and side four looks like Who’s Next and Live at Leeds.
What it was actually like
This was a phenomenally great compilation, because the Who were a phenomenally great band, and it would be difficult to make a bad compilation of their work, except by focusing on whatever they were doing in the mid 1970s and later. It was far better than Hooligans.
Live at Leeds, however, remains the greatest Who record, and the greatest live rock record, and one of the greatest records ever made, and anyone who wants to listen to the Who at their best should go straight to it – with the understanding that it unfortunately came before Who’s Next, so necessarily leaves out songs like Baba O’Riley (that would not have sounded good on a live record, anyway). It still includes lots of songs from Tommy, though.
As for this one, though, here is the order of excellence of the four sides: two, one, four, three.
And here is how I ranked each song by excellence, within each side:
- My Generation
- Heat Wave
- Magic Bus (this version did not sound familiar to me, but it was good)
- Boris The Spider
- I’m A Boy
- Run, Run, Run
- Pictures of Lily
- Squeeze Box (I have always loved the banjo in this song)
- I Can See For Miles
- Happy Jack
- The Seeker
- We’re Not Gonna Take It
- I’m Free
- Amazing Journey
- Pinball Wizard
- Do You Think It’s Alright?
- The Acid Queen
- Fiddle About
- Tommy’s Holiday Camp
- Summertime Blues (this was the version from Live at Leeds)
- Baba O’Riley
- Won’t Get Fooled Again
- Behind Blue Eyes
- Slip Kid
5/5: love it