Released as a double-album in 1973, The Who’s rock opera QUADROPHENIA is a conceptual work set in the 1960s milieu of the Mod movement during which they began their career in west London. The central character of Jimmy is a disaffected youth who hates his parents and lowly job, but finds release from blue-collar drudgery with his fellow Mods, popping pills and riding motor-scooters to weekend concerts by bands like The Who. But the freedom he finds turns out to be illusory. The album title comes from the personalities of the four members of The Who, used to represent the four sides of Jimmy. Townshend has described the album as the best music he has ever written. In 1979 it was turned into a film, directed by Franc Roddam (and featuring a young Sting in a key role) and has been performed live by The Who, sometimes with guest performers. In 2012 The Who played the album in its entirety on tour.
Watch composer Pete Townshend, orchestrator Rachel Fuller, singer Alfie Boe and conductor Robert Ziegler discuss
the making of Pete Townshend’s CLASSIC QUADROPHENIA.
Those curious about Pete Townshend’s symphonic re-imagining of The Who’s Quadrophenia can now watch the new video ‘Love Reign O’er Me’ and pre-order the album today!
One of the most recognisable figures in the pantheon of popular music, Pete Townshend has spent 50 years at the helm of rock legends The Who, primarily as guitarist and principal songwriter. The British band, who rose to fame alongside The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Kinks in the early 1960s, has sold more than 100 million albums including the rock operas TOMMY and QUADROPHENIA and scored 25 UK hit singles, among them enduring standards such as ‘Pinball Wizard’, ‘My Generation’ and ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’. Townshend, 69, has also written scripts for stage and screen, novels, short stories and a best-selling autobiography. He grew up in West London, where he still lives, with his partner Rachel Fuller.
Rachel Fuller is a successful composer, arranger and singer-songwriter who has been composing music since she was ten years old. A classically trained pianist, she first worked with Pete Townshend on his LIFEHOUSE CHRONICLES solo project, subsequently released her own solo album CIGARETTES AND HOUSEWORK and co-wrote a song for The Who’s last album ENDLESS WIRE. Rachel, 41, worked closely with Townshend on the orchestrations for QUADROPHENIA – an album originally released in the year she was born. Her first professional job in music was as an organist in a funeral home. More recently she wrote her own stage musical, ASH. She met Townshend in 1996 and lives with him in west London.
Britain’s leading tenor Alfie Boe has triumphed on theatre stages and in concert halls on both sides of the Atlantic. He shared a Tony award for his role in Baz Luhrmann’s 2002 revival of ‘La Boheme’ on Broadway and scaled new heights of popularity as Valjean in the West End stage production of LES MISERABLES in London and its 25th anniversary performance in 2010. Now 41, he grew up in Lancashire as one of nine children and was famously discovered while singing opera on the production line of his job in a car factory. A graduate of the Royal College of Music, and the Royal Opera House’s Young Artists Programme, his subsequent string of solo albums spanning familiar favourites from the worlds of opera, pop and folk have earned him four Top Ten hits.
ROYAL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
Widely regarded as one of the UK’s great orchestras, the ‘Royal Phil’ was founded by Sir Thomas Beecham in 1946 and has spent nearly 70 years making numerous acclaimed recordings of symphonies, opera, ballet and film soundtracks. Stravinsky recorded his opera ‘The Rake’s Progress’ with the RPO in 1964 and Colin Davis made some of his earliest recordings with them. In the 1960s and 1970s they recorded Gilbert and Sullivan operas with the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company. In 1986 they launched RPO Records, “the world’s first record label to be owned by a symphony orchestra.” For the past decade the RPO has been based at Cadogan Hall in London’s Chelsea.
LONDON ORIANA CHOIR
One of the UK’s leading amateur choral groups, the Oriana was formed in 1973 and now boasts around 100 members from all walks of life. They have performed in all of London’s major concert halls, churches and cathedrals, singing everything from sacred to secular, classical to jazz, pop and folk from around the world, often accompanied by orchestras, including the RPO. They have toured all over the world and recorded five CDs, as well as singing with giants of pop and rock music including Barbra Streisand, Cliff Richard and Led Zeppelin front man Robert Plant, who memorably described them as being “louder than Jimmy Page”.
One of the most versatile conductors working today, Robert is equally at ease with classical, opera and jazz, or theatre, rock and the avant garde. American by birth, he grew up in Los Angeles, where he spent his youth juggling his classical piano studies with attending stadium rock gigs by bands including The Who – making him a perfect choice to conduct CLASSIC QUADROPHENIA. Based in the UK since 1981, he has conducted all the major British orchestras and his arrangements have been played by orchestras all over the world. He has also recorded two award-winning albums with Ute Lemper and worked with rock stars ranging from Radiohead and Debbie Harry to David Gilmour and Donny Osmond, as well as jazz legend Wayne Shorter. He maintains a lively career as a broadcaster for BBC television and radio.
With his unmistakeable Cockney accent, London-born actor Phil Daniels came to fame in the lead role of Jimmy in the 1979 feature film of QUADROPHENIA. Once in a New Wave band himself, his acting credits include the brutal borstal drama Scum and the films Still Crazy and Vinyl (for which he also wrote the screenplay and music). He had a recurring role in more than 200 episodes of the TV soap EastEnders in 2006-07, and his major stage roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company include The Merchant Of Venice and A Clockwork Orange. For an entire generation, however, he will always be best known for his unforgettable contribution to Blur’s hit single ‘Park Life’, narrating the spoken verses and appearing in the video.
With his spiky peroxide hair and black motorcycle leathers, Billy Idol was made for MTV and his rise to pop stardom coincided with the TV channel’s ascent to dominance in the early 1980s. The former frontman of punk band Generation X lived up to his assumed surname with hits like ‘Rebel Yell’ and ‘White Wedding’ – rock anthems as notable for their big-budget videos as their big riffs and shout-along choruses. Long resident in Los Angeles, he survived drug problems and a serious motorcycle accident to tour with The Who as a guest singer on their 1996-97 QUADROPHENIA tour, later released on DVD, and appeared (as himself) in the 1998 film The Wedding Singer. Still recording and performing, he published his autobiography, Dancing With Myself, in 2014.