The Who – Tommy (1968)

AllMusic Review: The full-blown rock opera about a deaf, dumb, and blind boy that launched the band to international superstardom, written almost entirely by Pete Townshend. Hailed as a breakthrough upon its release, its critical standing has diminished somewhat in the ensuing decades because of the occasional pretensions of the concept and because of the insubstantial nature of some of the songs that functioned as little more than devices to advance the rather sketchy plot. Nonetheless, the double album has many excellent songs, including “I’m Free,” “Pinball Wizard,” “Sensation,” “Christmas,” “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” and the dramatic ten-minute instrumental “Underture.” Though the album was slightly flawed, Townshend’s ability to construct a lengthy conceptual narrative brought new possibilities to rock music. Despite the complexity of the project, he and the Who never lost sight of solid pop melodies, harmonies, and forceful instrumentation, imbuing the material with a suitably powerful grace. — Richie Unterberger

Track Listing:

All tracks are written by Pete Townshend, except where noted.

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. “Overture” Townshend 3:50
2. “It’s a Boy” Townshend 2:07
3. “1921” Townshend, with John Entwistle and Roger Daltrey on chorus 3:14
4. “Amazing Journey” Daltrey 3:25
5. “Sparks” instrumental 3:45
6. “The Hawker” Sonny Boy Williamson II Daltrey 2:15
Total length: 18:36
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. “Christmas” Daltrey, Townshend on bridge 4:34
2. “Cousin Kevin” John Entwistle Townshend and Entwistle 4:03
3. “The Acid Queen” Townshend 3:31
4. “Underture” instrumental 10:10
Total length: 22:18
Side three
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. “Do You Think It’s Alright?” Townshend and Daltrey 0:24
2. “Fiddle About” Entwistle Entwistle 1:26
3. “Pinball Wizard” Daltrey, Townshend on bridge 3:01
4. “There’s a Doctor” Townshend, with Entwistle and Daltrey 0:25
5. “Go to the Mirror!” Daltrey, Townshend on bridge 3:50
6. “Tommy Can You Hear Me?” Townshend, Entwistle, and Daltrey 1:35
7. “Smash the Mirror” Daltrey 1:20
8. “Sensation” Townshend 2:32
Total length: 14:33
Side four
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. “Miracle Cure” Townshend, Entwistle, and Daltrey 0:10
2. “Sally Simpson” Daltrey 4:10
3. “I’m Free” Daltrey 2:40
4. “Welcome” Daltrey, Townshend on bridge, Entwistle on spoken word 4:30
5. “Tommy’s Holiday Camp” Keith Moon Townshend 0:57
6. “We’re Not Gonna Take It” Daltrey, with Townshend and Entwistle 7:06
Total length: 19:31


Schill Score: 9/10


Listen to Album Below

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