Music

Tommy

TRACKLIST

  1. OVERTURE
  2. IT’S A BOY
  3. 1921
  4. AMAZING JOURNEY
  5. SPARKS
  6. EYESIGHT TO THE BLIND (THE HAWKER)
  7. CHRISTMAS
  8. COUSIN KEVIN
  9. THE ACID QUEEN
  10. UNDERTURE
  11. DO YOU THINK IT’S ALRIGHT?
  12. FIDDLE ABOUT
  13. PINBALL WIZARD
  14. THERE’S A DOCTOR
  15. GO TO THE MIRROR!
  16. TOMMY, CAN YOU HEAR ME?
  17. SMASH THE MIRROR
  18. SENSATION
  19. MIRACLE CURE
  20. SALLY SIMPSON
  21. I’M FREE
  22. WELCOME
  23. TOMMY’S HOLIDAY CAMP
  24. WE’RE NOT GONNA TAKE IT
  25. SEE ME, FEEL ME / LISTENING TO YOU

TOMMY was released in the UK in May 1969 by Track Records (Track 613013/4) with a subsequent double CD (Polydor 800 077-2), followed by a remixed single CD (Polydor 531 043-2) in 1996 and finally a Deluxe Edition two-CD set SACD hybrid (Polydor 9861011) in 2004. It was released simultaneously in the US (Decca DXSW 7205), then as two CDs (MCA MCAD-10005), MFSL with a single disc remix in 1996 (MCAD-11417) and in the UK as a Deluxe Edition SACD hybrid (Geffen B0001386-36) in 2003. In 2014 Tommy was released as a Super Deluxe Edition (See BOX SETS)

Recorded at London’s IBC Studios between September 1968 and March 1969. Produced by Kit Lambert.

The Who’s first official performance of Tommy was at a press preview at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London’s Soho on May 1, 1969, the same month the original double album was released. The finalTommy performance, until their 25th Anniversary reunion tour in 1989, was at London’s Roundhouse on December 20, 1970, when they dedicated it to their support act, an upcoming singer-songwriter/pianist called Elton John. In between, The Who took Tommy across Europe and America, performing it over 160 times. Despite the perfect timing its mystical themes were ideal for 1969  and the general hullabaloo surrounding its release,Tommy stalled at #2 in the UK charts. In America it eventually reached #4 on re-entering the charts. Overall, it re-entered the Billboard charts several times for a total of 126 weeks, far longer than any other Who album.

Original sleeve design by Michael McInnerney. Booklet photography by Barrie Meller.

All songs written by Pete Townshend except where noted.

Tracks on the original UK version were:

1. OVERTURE

2. ITS A BOY

3. 1921

4. AMAZING JOURNEY

5. SPARKS

6. EYESIGHT FOR THE BLIND (THE HAWKER) (Sonny Boy Williamson)

7. CHRISTMAS

8. COUSIN KEVIN (Entwistle)

9. THE ACID QUEEN

10. UNDERTURE

11. DO YOU THINK ITS ALRIGHT

12. FIDDLE ABOUT (Entwistle)

13. PINBALL WIZARD As a single PINBALL WIZARD reached #4 in the UK charts and #19 in the US. Rod Stewart sang a heavily orchestrated version in Lou Reizners all-star adaptation of Tommy in 1972, while Elton John sang it during a memorable set piece in Ken Russell’sTommy movie in 1975 (his version reached #7 in the UK). It was also covered by The New Seekers in a medley with SEE ME, FEEL ME, whose version reached #16 in 1973.

14. THERES A DOCTOR

15. GO TO THE MIRROR

16. TOMMY CAN YOU HEAR ME?

17. SMASH THE MIRROR

18. SENSATION SENSATION was written long before Tommy was formulated, apparently about a girl Pete met during The Who’s disastrous tour of Australia in 1968.

19. MIRACLE CURE

20. SALLY SIMPSON This song was inspired by an incident that occurred when The Who played on the same bill as  The Doors at New York’s Singer Bowl in August 1968. A girl in the audience was hurt in the crush in front of the stage and was helped backstage by Jim Morrison where she was cared for by the medical staff.

21. I’M FREE

22. WELCOME

23. TOMMY’S HOLIDAY CAMP (Moon)

24. WE’RE NOT GONNA TAKE IT (SEE ME, FEEL ME)

Bonus Tracks (Outtakes and Demos) on Deluxe Edition CD 2:

1. I WAS

2. CHRISTMAS (Out-take 3) An unused backing track to an alternate take of CHRISTMAS.

3. COUSIN KEVIN MODEL CHILD This unreleased Tommy track, written by Pete and sung by Keith was ultimately rejected in favour of John’s COUSIN KEVIN.

4. YOUNG MAN BLUES (Version 1) (Allison) This first version was originally released on The House That Track Built, a 1969 UK-only sampler from Track Records. This is a cover of a Mose Allison song The Who were delivering on stage at the time (and heard to full effect on Live At Leeds). A slower, alternate take (version 2) was accidentally issued as a bonus track on the Odds & Sods CD (1998).

5. TOMMY CAN YOU HEAR ME? (Alternate Version) Rather than the familiar acoustic version this early take is played as an ensemble performance with an extended ending that eventually falls apart.

6. TRYING TO GET THROUGH An impromptu performance worked out on the studio floor under Pete’s guidance, sung from the point of view of either of Tommy’s parents.

7. SALLY SIMPSON (Out-takes) A classic example of Pete and Keith as the Pete ‘n’ Dud comedy duo in The Who. As engineer Damon Lyon Shaw announces the first take, Pete mock announces that he’s discovered his band nickname (‘Bone’) through the pages of English weekly music paper Record Mirror. This causes considerable mirth, particularly from Keith, setting the tone for Takes 15; a series of breakdowns and false starts, underlining that though the subject matter of Tommy was often heavy and solemn, the recording sessions were, on the whole, anything but.

8. MISS SIMPSON A completed take under the original working title.

9. WELCOME (Take 2)

10. TOMMYS HOLIDAY CAMP (Band’s version) (Moon) An early rejected group performance of Keith’s theme, featuring the melody line played on fairground-style organ and Moon bashing happily along behind.

11. WERE NOT GONNA TAKE IT (Alternate Version) This early version follows Pete’s original demo in that the song ends as it began with the opening riff repeating, ending on a final flourish.

12. DOGS (PART 2) (Moon/Towser/Jason) Released in March 1969 as the B-side of PINBALL WIZARD (and here in a noticeably different stereo remix), Moon’s co-writers, Towser and Jason, were Pete and Johns respective dogs.

13. ITS A BOY

14. AMAZING JOURNEY

15. CHRISTMAS

16. DO YOU THINK ITS ALRIGHT?

17. PINBALL WIZARD Tracks 13-17 are a selection of Petes original stereo demos for Tommy. PINBALL WIZARD was first officially made available as part of a two track flexidisc given away with Richard Barnes’ Who biography, The Who: Maximum R&B (1982).