on June 9, 2004
When people talk about The Who's Tommy, they generally seem to focus on the form rather than the content of the album. Listeners will comment on the originality of Townshend's application of opera sensibilities to a rock and roll album, and so on and so forth. Yes, it's true, what made The Who's Tommy a major hit rather than a pop-culture after-thought was its structure and distinction as the first "Rock Opera," but I believe that the most artistically redeeming quality of the album is its message.
During a time when psychedelic experimentation was the order of the day, The Who had the intestinal fortitude to release an album preaching transcendence through spiritual exploration. Tommy is a wholesale rejection of the entire psychedelic culture dominating the late 60's and a plea for spiritual enlightenment. More than just great music, Tommy is an album with purpose and a positive message.
on May 14, 2004
The Who's fourth studio album Tommy was released in May of 1969. This album was the make or break for the group because if Tommy had failed, The Who would have probably disbanded. Guitarist Pete Townshend came up with a rock opera about a deaf, dumb and blind kid named Tommy whom becomes those aforementioned things after witnessing an event as a child that traumatized him(his father killing his step-father whom he considered his father). Alot of classics appear on this album like the Overture, Pinball Wizard, Amazing Journey, the Underture(best instrumental on here), Go to the Mirror, I'm Free, Cousin Kevin(one of bassist John Entwistle's greatest compositions), Fiddle About(about the perverted Uncle Ernie), Tommy's Holiday Camp(another excellent ditty written by drummer Keith Moon whom did an excellent rendition in the film version of Tommy in 1975) and the finale We're Not Gonna Take It among many other classics. The 1996 remaster used different masters for the remixed reissue. However, this version uses the very original tapes that were found in Universal's vault after being said that the original tapes were destroyed by Kit Lambert in a fire. As a result of the discovery of the original tapes, the sound quality is amazing on here. I have yet to hear the surround mix but I know it will be great. Disc two has great outtakes and demos like I Was, The Who trying to record Sally Simpson with hilarious results and instrumental versions of Tommy Can You Hear Me and Tommy's Holiday Camp among many other rarities. Highly recommended.
on May 6, 2004
The original versions of these songs I have to say are better than any I've heard. Sure, some of the songs on the movie soundtrack are pretty good(i.e. Cousin Kevin, The Acid Queen, Sally Simpson, Fiddle About). But, others on this album are far better(I'm Free, Pinball Wizard, Christmas, It's A Boy, Amazin Journey).
After hearing this album, I really want to write a rock opera myself.
Overture - 10/10
It's a Boy - 10/10
1921 - 10/10
Amazing Journey - 10/10
Sparks - 10/10
Eyesight to the Blind - 10/10
Christmas - 10/10
Cousin Kevin - 8/10 - I think the movie version is better. But, this one is equally good. Slow and melodic and creepy. =D
Acid Queen - 7/10 - I really love Tina Turner's version better.
Underture - 10/10 - Just beautiful to listen to all by itself.
Do You Think it's Alright? - 10/10
Fiddle About - 7/10 - Very good, but I prefer the movie version.
Pinball Wizard - 10/10 - Better than the movie version.
There's a Doctor - 10/10
Go to the Mirror - 10/10
Tommy, Can Your Hear Me? - 10/10 - Very folk sounding. And when they get to saying 'Tommy' over and over, sounds like a broken record. Very good. =)
Smash the Mirror - 10/10 - Very good to dance to.
Sensation - 10/10
Miracle Cure - 10/10 - Interesting little 12 second song.
Sally Simpson - 10/10 - I love this song.
I'm Free - 10/10 - Good music.
Welcome - 10/10 - Very laid-back song.
Tommy's Holiday Camp - 10/10 - This song is very fun and creepy in a way.
We're Not Gonna Take It - 10/10 - Better than the movie and a great way to end the album.
This album is nice to listen to on a rainy day or on a long car trip.
on April 20, 2004
The first Who cd i bought was the Millennium Collection. I became obsessed with it and then I read the reviews. It made me realize that this timeless band was MUCH better even than I thought it was. Tommy is WOTHOUT A DOUBT a masterpeice. Some people think that a rock-opera is a silly idea. These people are ignorant and have no paitence, and most definitely have no taste in music. But I'm reviewing the actual album, right? OK.
Tommy is an album composed by Pete Townsend (*John Entwistle wrote "Fiddle About" and "Cousin Kevin"). in the late 60s. It was released in mid-1969. Tommy is a story about a deaf, dumb, and blind boy who "sure plays a mean pinball." Tommy's father dies in battle before he is born, and his Mother tries to raise him. She meets another man and they wed. WHat happens next is the beginning of Tommy's journey that you will have to figure out for yourself.
Now, my biggest reccommendation to you besides buying the album is listening to it all the way through. If you don't the story literally means nothing and the songs seem very out of place. Do yourself a favor. Listen to it all the way through 2 or 3 times before you start skipping around to your favorite songs. You will thank me later, trust me. There are many tracks, but some are very short. Also, people who just try to pick out favorites completely overlook the less famous, but equally fantasic songs like 'Sally Simpson,' 'I'm Free,' The Acid Queen,' 'Cousin Kevin,' among others.
All in all, Tommy is a very highly recommended album, especially for every rock fan's library. Don't be fooled by the genre; "Rock-Opera." It is much more like a rock album. also, don't listen to people who say you should by all of their singles albums before you buy the concept albums (Tommy, Quadrophenia, and the debatable Who's Next). This is not true. Don't let Tommy be the first Who album you listen to, because it will be a lot to handle, and try to get a Who compilation first, but Tommy is a great intro. to their albums. The ultra-cheap Millennium Collection will do just fine for the compilation.
on February 18, 2004
AMAZON.COM SHOPPERS:BEWARE OF INSINCERE CRETINS LIKE "FRED" AND "AUBURN" WHO HIT THIS PAGE BY ACCIDENT AND DECIDED TO SLAM THIS RELEASE. IT'S VERY TRANSPARENT THAT THEY NEVER ACTUALLY LISTENED TO IT. I CAN ONLY PONDER THAT THEIR BRAIN DAMAGE WAS CAUSED BY TOO MUCH NICKELBACK, COLDPLAY AND OTHER WHINEY, NOTHING BANDS.
Tommy never sounded better than in this hybrid SACD release. I don't have an SACD player, but have played other Hybrids on my normal player, and have noticed a vast improment in depth, clarity and overall dynamics. Pete's guitar, John's bass, Moon's drums and Roger's voice NEVER sounded more remarkable.
The bonus disc is a winner too. A few of the cuts are just the instrumental backing tracks. I find myself doing Kareoke to them. Pete and Roger have nothing to worry about with regard to my singing ability. The real treat is the studio chatter between Pete and Keith on track 7. Absolutely hilarious! This bonus disc is not just for avid collectors or completists only.
on January 17, 2004
This was not my first SACD purchase, but it's the one I'm most satisfied with to date. I'll assume you're familiar with the original recording, agree with me that it is one of the most significant rock albums of all time and give you the reasons why I think should you pick this up in addition to your vinyl or '96 CD remaster. First and foremost, there's the superb 5.1 surround mix. (Some performances were just meant to be heard in surround sound, and probably would have been mixed that way had the technology been available.) Done by Pete Townshend himself using the original 8-track master, this new mix has startling clarity and definition, and presents most of the vocals without reverb or echo. Listening to it, I felt as if I were sitting on the studio floor while the band was recording around me. The wealth of additional material on the second disc includes a studio version of "Young Man Blues" as well as songs left off the original release, alternate takes and instrumental only tracks. Also included are several of Townshend's laboriously made home demos, which give greater insight into the creative process behind the Who's repetoire and the development of this milestone album. The booklet provided features an informative essay and candid snapshots of the band and producer Kit Lambert taken during the recording sessions.
Something I learned reading the essay that might be of interest to those of you who don't own a SACD capable system is that the original master of "Tommy" had been missing and presumed destroyed, and that previous CDs had been mastered from an alternate 'sweetened' by Kit Lambert. While remixing this project, Townshend discovered the original master tape, and used it for the stereo SACD and CD mixes included here, so for the first time on CD, you can now hear the mix the band signed off on back in 1969.
on January 5, 2004
Unlike most people I don't get my knickers into too much of a twist over the filler in the album. I of course can see there point of view and to an extent agree, but I find the filler to be forgivible because this was the first rock opera and when you are creating somthing that nobody has ever done before it usually gets dated faster. And there aren't many albums that don't have alot of filler anyway especially ones that are albums and not collections of singles. And after all the Who did improve their talents on the rock opera later didn't they? So I would recomend this one to anyone who loves The Who or would like to own a piece of rock history.
After reading the reviews of this album I have now read the stupidest quote since someone told me that The Beatles music releases should be the American versions instead of the UK because The Beatles were an all American band. But I must say that The Who being influenced by bands whose members probably weren't born before Tommy's release(like Oasis and Hanson) takes the cake. What's next the Rolling Stones album Let it Bleed was inspired from The Strokes or The Fountains of Wayne?
on December 30, 2003
okay... i normally don't review too many albums on amazon, but was i amazed to read all these reviews from people who chat about the album but then go on to say "but i haven't heard it on SACD yet." so i thought someone might benefit from reading about the surround mix in SACD...
well, it is simply amazing, especially for having been mixed by the near-deaf townsend (surely its a joke!).
the most amazing thing about the 5.1 surround mix is how present and powerful keith moon's drumming is. i have always pointed to "quadrophenia" as the shining example of his frenetic hammering of the drums. but now i can more fully appreciate his drumming on "tommy." the drums sound amazing on this SACD surround mix. no other words can describe it.
one of the reasons for the drums being more powerful is the ability to follow keith's "live in the studio" drumming more closely. you see, all the "accentuating" drum parts (tympani, gongs, cymbal splashes) are all separated from keith's drums in the mix... it wasn't as clear in the stereo mix which drums keith is playing, and which drums are over-dubbed elements.... but here, they are coming at you from different sides of the room. this makes for some amazing parts, particularly during "sparks" and "overture", where keiths keeps pounding out a rhythm, then the tympani drums build up to a crescendo.
also, pete and roger's vocals are sometimes separated in the mix. pete's first words on the alubm came as a shock. he sings, "captain walker didn't come home. his unborn child will never know him." and he's coming from the rear right speaker (mostly) and roger and all come in later, together chanting "a son, a son, a son" from the front speakers. its pretty powerful stuff from the get-go.
i could go on and on. but the most amazing thing truly is the fidelity... i hear things i've never heard before, and i thought i was prety intimately familiar with the album. subtle touches now are given such depth and prominence... and the separation that is achieved with surround sound allows the listener to follow a particular part or a particular instrument...
you can hear pete breathe in before singing... you can hear the sound of his pick against the acoustic guitar. you can hear a few of keith's dud hits on the snare (thought they are few, and always charming to hear).
another reviewer said, "reason alone to buy a SACD player."
thanks for reading.
on December 25, 2003
First and foremost, if you do not have an SACD, and are buying this because you are looking for a sonic upgrade to the 1996 remaster, you are wasting your money. That is not criticism, just a fact. As the liner notes state, the original stereo masters were used to make the "regular" stereo version of this CD. They are not kidding. If you've ever compared the original stereo album or CD to the remastered 1996 version, you would notice an incredible difference. On the 1996 remix, the drums are brought further forward in the mix, the definition in much greater, and the placing of instruments in the mix (the "soundstage") is different...and much improved. The liner notes go on to state that they used the original stereo master because the first generation tapes had been found for the first time since the album was first recorded. If that's true, it doesn't make a big difference. I A/B..ed my old Mobile Fidelity Gold CD with this one and the only difference is that this is mastered considerably louder. If Mobile Fidelity had to use a second generation master, you honestly can't hear the difference.
So why am rating this 5 stars? Because they went back to the orignal multitrack (just like they did on the 1996 remaster) to do a 5.1 mix. Since I don't yet own a SACD player, I can't comment on the mix, but I'm assuming and hoping it is as good as others here say it is.
I am disappointed that they did not use this as an opportunity to upgrade the stereo mix they did in '96, or at least use the same one, because there is no doubt that it is superior, as it was remixed from the orginal multitracks, which means there is no "2nd generation" fidelity loss. But I'm thinking that all the money and time was spent on the 5.1 mix, therefore this "rediscovered" stereo master was...well, convenient(i.e. timesaving and costsaving).
Just be forewarned, all you who do not have a SACD player. You're getting the same mix, with pretty much the same fidelity, that you had on the orignal album and CD, just considerably louder. But you ARE getting all that extra stuff on the other disc. So look at the bright side.
on December 22, 2003
I was perfectly happy with the 1996 remix/remaster until this came along. Although the original album libretto is not included (everyone who buys this should own the original vinyl anyway), this is "Tommy" presented, perhaps for the first time,
the way it should have been all along. As others have mentioned, the sound quality here is stunning; it's a different remix than the '96 one, but even sharper and clearer, with an overall sound that is loud, punchy and direct rather than timid and muffled. The bonus tracks are also quite interesting--many having never seen the light of day before--although more of Pete's original demos should have been included (esp the original, psychedelic take of "Amazing Journey", with much more backwards instrumentation). Still, there's enough here to please most archivists. The second disc is worth it for "Trying To Get Through" alone, an outtake that even in its rough studio form sounds as rocking as anything else that made the cut.
Overall, those with SACD players will be getting a rare treat, and even those with normal stereo systems will still be hearing by far the best-sounding version of this album ever made available. That the now half-deaf Townshend could come up with such a definitive take on his most important statement is a minor miracle in itself. While the definitive "Tommy" remains the live version captured on the 69/70 tour (and available on the deluxe "Leeds" and "Isle Of Wight" CDs), the original album's stature has now been newly redeemed. Time has not dimmed its complexity and relevance one bit, as the socio/psychological/spiritual implications are still hotly debated among fans, critics and other observers today.