WHO’S NEXT? NOBODY COMES CLOSE: Reflections On Listening To Who At 50, And Their Rock Masterpiece (No, It’s Not Tommy)

Happy 44th Anniversary on the date (this coming Tuesday) of the release in the U.K. of two of the Mount Rushmores of the Rock Canon: The Who and their masterpiece album (one of them, anyway), “Who’s Next”. Reading Pete Townshend’s candid, thoughtful, self-probing, and engagingly entertaining autobiography, “Who I Am,” only reinforces my appreciation for him as a truly brilliant, complicated, multi-talented songwriter and musical visionary. His little group wasn’t half bad, either.

RPM: Jonathan Perry's Life in Analog

The sound of a jet taking off? Nope, it's just The Who in full flight. The sound of a jet taking off? Nope, it’s just The Who in full flight.

Just a quick one — pun intended — to honor one of my all-time favorite artists, The Who, to mark their “Who Hits 50!” world tour that lead singer Roger Daltrey has summed up as “one long goodbye.” Of course, we’ve all heard that promise/threat from the ‘Orrible ‘Oo” a few times and decades before, and I’ve always had misgivings about the band soldiering on even as drummer Keith Moon and bassist John Entwistle — two absolutely crucial and irreplaceable, pieces of the Who’s dynamic sound puzzle — fell away in 1978 and 2002, respectively.

Let’s face it. Cranking up the lucrative touring machine year in and year out is one thing. Producing compelling new music is another. And one middling new album in 30 years is certainly a far, far cry from the prolific flurry of epochal works…

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