The Who / Let’s See Action 1965 - 1978
1965 - 1970
1. I Can’t Explain / Single A Side January 1965
2. Anyway Anyhow Anywhere / Single A Side May 1965
3. My Generation / Single A Side October 1965
4. Shout And Shimmy / Single B Side October 1965
5. Out In The Street / My Generation LP December 1965
6. The Kids Are Alright / My Generation LP December 1965
7. Substitute / Single A Side March 1966
8. Circles / Single B Side March 1966
9. I’m A Boy / Single A Side August 1966
10. Disguises / Ready Steady Who EP November 1966
11. Happy Jack / Single A Side December 1966
12. Run Run Run / A Quick One LP December 1966
13. So Sad About Us / A Quick One LP December 1966
14. Pictures Of Lily / Single A Side April 1967
15. I Can See For Miles / Single A Side October 1967
16. Armenia City In The Sky / The Who Sell Out LP December 1967
17. Relax / The Who Sell Out LP December 1967
18. Magic Bus / Single A Side July 1968
19. Pinball Wizard / Single A Side March 1969
20. The Acid Queen / Tommy LP May 1969
21. I’m Free / Tommy LP May 1969
22. We’re Not Gonna Take It / Tommy LP May 1969
23. Tommy Can You Hear Me? / Tommy LP May 1969
24. The Seeker / Single A Side February 1970
1970 - 1978
1. Young Man Blues / Live At Leeds LP May 1970
2. Summertime Blues / Live At Leeds LP May 1970
3. Baba O’ Riley / Who’s Next LP September 1971
4. Bargain / Who’s Next LP September 1971
5. Behind Blue Eyes / Who’s Next LP September 1971
6. Won’t Get Fooled Again / Who’s Next LP September 1971
7. Let’s See Action / Single A Side October 1971
8. Long Live Rock / Originally Unreleased Recorded June 1972
9. Join Together / Single A Side June 1972
10. Relay / Single A Side December 1972
11. 5.15 / / Quadrophenia LP November 1973
12. The Real Me / Quadrophenia LP November 1973
13. The Punk And The Godfather / Quadrophenia LP November 1973
14. Love Reign O‘er Me / Quadrophenia LP November 1973
15. Slip Kid / The Who By Numbers LP October 1975
16. Who Are You? / Who Are You LP September 1978
Pushed to choose between those venerable sixties titans the Beatles or the Stones, there’s a good chance many an old lag would pick The Who. For a start there’s no way they could ever be mistaken for anyone else. No-one sounded like them and not many snarled like them. They were pure demolition, starting as a spectacle to become spectacular. And while Rock wordsmiths continue to write a trillion songs they still can’t conjure up a line as immortal as ‘Hope I die before I get old’, ‘My Generation’ summing up the thoughts of post war teens better than any other record. And therein lies the rub because The Who were so obviously children of the sixties and that had nothing to do with me. Even at the turn of the decade, as Pete Townsend turned to DM’s and a boiler suit, Roger Daltrey’s golden locks, bare chest and suede tassels still gave the game away.
Admittedly, at school in the early seventies they remained the connoisseur’s choice, the hipper, older kids who sneered haughtily at us young pups for digging The Stones more. They did everything they could to convert us, generously offering their valued LP’s on loan even if that offer always came with the threat of a pasting should we dare scratch them.
In my first flush of musical discovery I for one greedily accepted, recording countless cassettes on primitive recorders, microphone carefully positioned between speakers, my old man immortalised forever, shouting ‘Tea’s ready’ over the opening salvo of ‘5.15’. Tommy, Meaty, Beaty, Big And Bouncy, Live At Leeds, Who’s Next and Quadrophenia, I heard them all and became as well informed as possible without actually buying the records myself.
While I found much to like about The Who, many songs sparkling with majesty and magic, no matter how hard I tried I felt no connection to the group themselves which was a bit surprising given Townsend’s self appointed role as the ‘voice of a generation’. But then, it wasn’t my generation was it?
Infact, I found the man’s eternal quest for reason and harmony off putting, a hippy hangover that sounded a little too earnest, a little too desperate and smelt of rampant self publicity. Unfortunately, the rest of The Who were even less appealing; Daltrey always playing his ‘I’m a thick hard nut me’ role (course you are Rog); Moon the tiresome spoilt aristo and Entwistle? Well c’mon, those his novelty songs were bollocks weren’t they?
So I guess it was either a stroke of luck or maybe even genius that four such disparate characters were able to make such a wondrous unholy racket together. Ignoring my lack of connection, and Townsend and Daltrey’s most recent pension plan (surely it should all have ended even before Moon’s predictable death), it’s obvious that The Who’s anger, ebullience and sheer masculine vitality was so great it could never quite be contained by the music. That sheer energy makes them more than worthy of their place at the high altar of rock.