By Jess Samson
August 14th, 1971 marked the release of the fifth studio album of The Who. The English rock band claimed their fame during the British invasion of the 1960s. While most of these bands eventually broke up or just died out, The Who have prevailed with their signature strong guitar riffs and remarkable drum beats that have made the band legendary.
“Who’s Next” was brilliantly performed and produced to a tee. One of the greatest guitarists of all time, Pete Townsend, intended the album to be a sequel to the group’s rock opera Tommy. The failed rock opera ended up as an exciting piece of rock and roll music that changed the way we listen to rock today.
Originally holding only nine tracks, every song on Who’s Next is a masterpiece itself. Two of the most beloved classic Who tracks open and close the record. “Baba O’Riley”, opens the album with the band’s first use of synthesizers. “Teenage Wasteland“, refers to the drugged out teenagers that defiled Woodstock. The Who decided to end the album with a call-to-action with “Won’t Get Fooled Again”. It was a statement that we are ready and we will fight when the time comes to preserve our freedom, and the song became almost a theme for the people at home during the Vietnam War. These two songs are considered the songs that shaped all of rock and roll.
The song that sticks out the most from the Who’s Next album is the song that starts the B-Side, titled”Getting In Tune”. Beautiful piano chords begins the song with the heavy passion of Roger Daltrey’s voice singing, “I’m singing this note ’cause it fits in well with the chords I’m playing/I can’t pretend there’s any meaning here or in the things I’m saying/But I’m in tune“. This song is about the rocky balance of being a rock star and dealing with the absence of spirituality. The dynamics of the song is where it gets the most praise. The song alternates between passionate heart-felt emotions with power rock that takes you on a roller-coaster ride.
Every song on this album is genius. It’s one of the most important pieces of rock and roll, even by today’s standard. If someone were to ask “what albums would you take if you were on a desert island?” Fan or no fan, Who’s Next should and would have to be one of them.
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