- Album name: Tommy
- Group name: The Who
- Year: 1969
- Number of discs: two
- Label: Decca Records
- Collection: Brenner / Gessner
- Distinguishing characteristics: “Goldstein” is written on the inside spines of the album and on the LPs, as with another iconic double album from the same era, the Grateful Dead’s Skull Fuck.
- Buy it on Amazon: $37.99
Level of familiarity before listening
I didn’t grow up knowing who The Who were or what Tommy was, though in high school I did understand that it was a musical beloved by “artistic” types. It was only in college that I fell in love with The Who and, since then, have listened to Tommy a few hundred times, and even watched the movie.
This is my fourth review of a record by The Who, and the previous three were:
What I expected
What it was actually like
My favorite songs from side one were Amazing Journey and The Hawker.
Side two was my least favorite, with a particular dislike for The Acid Queen and Cousin Kevin. Those parts in the opera were also pretty traumatic.
My favorite songs from side three were Pinball Wizard, Go to the Mirror! and Tommy Can You Hear Me?.
My favorite songs from side four were Sally Simpson, We’re Not Gonna Take It and I’m Free, which is the best song on the record.
Tommy’s Holiday Camp is also one of the most Oompa Loompa songs in existence.
I love this record, but am prepared to die on the hill that the hard rock versions that they performed live in the early 1970s, particularly on Live at Leeds (which, I may add, is a desert island record for me), blew the studio version away. See what I mean?
5/5: love it
|“He doesn’t know who J*sus was or what praying is.”
|Actually an opera.
|I can still recall exactly the first time I learned about the existence of Tommy the movie. It was June 2000 and I was home from college for the summer. I had spent the evening with friends, came back after midnight, and was flipping through the channels on the television in my parents’ family room, which is something that people used to do to pass the time before youtube and tickety tock. I stopped flipping when I reached that scene, as perplexed and as appalled and as intrigued as Ignatius at the Prytania. Wikipedia did not exist yet, and 2000 Google was not like 2023 Google, so I could not figure out right away what it actually was, but once I did figure it out, I was immediately a fan.