The Who's Masterpiece?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Scope J, Jan 12, 2020.

  1. keifspoon

    keifspoon Forum Resident

    New Jersey, USA
    Other: Ready Steady Who
    The most Moon for my money! :D
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  2. Joti Cover

    Joti Cover Forum Resident

  3. fishcane

    fishcane Dirt Farmer

    Finger Lakes,NY
    Lol that was going to be my comeback if someone criticized my choice!
    uzn007 likes this.
  4. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

    It would be a single, not an album
  5. andy75

    andy75 Forum Resident

    I like "The Who By Numbers" the best.
    J_D__ likes this.
  6. shakti

    shakti Forum Resident

    Ramnes, Norway
    I voted Tommy. There is nothing else quite like it in the history of rock. There are other rock «operas», i.e. works with an overarching story, but AFAIK nothing that approaches the level of sophistication and composition while sitll retaining such incredible rock power. It’s an amazing feat. The studio album is perhaps a touch tame in production, but onstage the real power was revealed.

    Lifehouse aspired to be even greater, and one could easily vote for Who’s Next as their masterpiece. The highs are incredible (how can three such simple chords as the main theme of Baba O’Riley be so evocative?), but I can never shake the feeling that it was not as great as it could have been.

    Quadrophenia is great, of course, but to my ears it is The Who just over their top. It lacks some of the insane energy of the band at their 69-71 peak and there’s a melancholic feeling that gets me a little down. Still love it though.

    Sell Out is killer, but it’s not a masterpiece.
  7. joeym3

    joeym3 Forum Resident

    1st place - Sell Out

    2nd place - Pete Townshend calling Ray Davies the poet laureate of the british invasion.

    3rd place - Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy
  8. Limopard

    Limopard National Dex #143

    Leipzig, Germany
    Who's Next for me. Very clearly. Tommy and Quadrophenia have their merits too, but the whole Rock Opera thing doesn't work for me.
    Mook likes this.
  9. J.R.

    J.R. Forum Resident

    Quadrophenia. Maybe my favorite album of all time along with Exile on Main St.
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  10. mbleicher1

    mbleicher1 Tube Amp Curmudgeon

    Completely agree. The chord progressions/themes/structure of Tommy is musically rich in a way that the slower and chordally simpler songs post-1970 can’t match. I think Bargain/Behind Blue Eyes/Won’t get fooled/Baba are individually better songs than anything on Tommy but as a whole, Tommy is better to my ears. Live Tommy is the apogee; the combination of Pete’s brilliance and the band’s genius.
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  11. Rockford & Roll

    Rockford & Roll Forum Resident

    Midway, KY
    Who's Next is my favorite. Not a weak song in the bunch and it hangs together very well.
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  12. Jon H.

    Jon H. Forum Resident

    Raleigh, NC USA
    This question is one I grapple with often. I created a game, and now a thread, that promotes discussion about what is the favorite, and then the best, album of an artist’s catalog.

    For me, with my favorite band, I’m so conflicted! Here then are some sub- categories:

    Favorite studio album: Sell Out
    Favorite live album (and favorite album of all time for me!): Live at Leeds
    Best/most popular/most recommended album: Who’s Next
    Most realized concept album: Quadrophenia

    subjective list, I’m afraid.
    They’re ALL freakin’ masterpieces in my book!

    “Favorite” album/“Best or most popular album”
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  13. Chrome_Head

    Chrome_Head Forum Resident

    Los Angeles, CA.
    Quadrophenia, undoubtedly. Townshend laid it all out musically and thematically, and it was the band's final true magnum opus. It's an astonishing work.
  14. Two Sheds

    Two Sheds Tea-sipping bad boy!

    Tommy, though Quadrophenia and Who's Next are my favorites.
    J_D__ likes this.
  15. DK Pete

    DK Pete Forum Resident

    Levittown. NY
    Diamond Star Halo likes this.
  16. Who's Next is the only trail-blazing masterpiece that defined it's era so succinctly and perfectly; a top ten rock album to rank alongside other unqualified masterpieces.
  17. donmac

    donmac Forum Resident

    Atlanta, Georgia
    This is a series of one great album following another great album, so picking one is tough...

    ...and I picked "Quadrophenia"

    The main reason why is a personal one. I've been a fan of The Who for my whole life but I never really got into "Quadrophenia" for some reason. Sure, I liked its songs that got a lot of radio play but I didn't get into the rest of the album.

    Then in early 2012, I read some online review (I can't remember the link) in which the reviewer called "Quadrophenia" The Who's greatest album. So after reading that, I decided that I never gave the album a fair shake and I subsequently put it on repeated loop in my car during my daily commute. I listened to it on the way to work and on the way back home each day for weeks (my commute time was between 30 to 45 minutes each way depending on traffic). And this full immersion lead to me absolutely loving the album. I finally got why it's a brilliant album.

    But my story doesn't end there. Not all that long after I did this and fell in love with the album, (a few week maybe), I heard the news that The Who were staging a new tour. And what was the theme of that tour? Playing "Quadrophenia" in its entirety. And they were coming to my then hometown of Atlanta as the 2nd date of the tour. So this album which I had only falling in love with a few months early I then saw the band perform live in its entirety at the only concert by The Who that I've ever been to. (A concert tour captured well live on the "Quadrophenia Live in London" DVD/Blu-ray despite that performance missing Zak Starkey on drums, who did perform at the show I attended.)

    So, yeah, after hearing my story, it should make sense why I picked "Quadrophenia" as their best masterpiece out of this series of masterpieces.
  18. notesfrom

    notesfrom Forum Resident

    NC USA
    Who’s Next. Which we have taken for granted for quite a few decades now.
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  19. robargebl

    robargebl Forum Resident

    Probably Quadrophenia, I first got a copy on 8 track from an uncle way back in the day. At the time I only had the Who Sings My Generation, which as an 8th grader was pretty punk to me, but hearing Quadrophenia was like a symphonic grown up Who. I play their other classic albums more, but Quadrophenia is something else entirely to me. Have to be in a certain mood to play it.
    Jon H. likes this.
  20. PacificOceanBlue

    PacificOceanBlue Senior Member

    The Southwest
    It is hard to define Who’s Next as a masterpiece because it was a compromise (an amazing one at that). Lifehouse as a completed narrative and vision may have been a masterpiece, perhaps the band’s best album, but it never came to fruition, and the sensational Who’s Next ultimately presented fragments. A great, incredible album, but arguably not a masterpiece, nor the album it was supposed to be.
  21. Tim Crowley

    Tim Crowley Forum Resident

    Lyndonville, VT
    This, and me too.
  22. Chrome_Head

    Chrome_Head Forum Resident

    Los Angeles, CA.
    Really? All I've ever seen here is effusive praise for it.
  23. Bullis

    Bullis Forum Resident

    Their latest
  24. yesstiles

    yesstiles Senior Member

  25. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    New Mexico
    Indeed! Highly underrated, that one.

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