The Who's Masterpiece?

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

  1. cgw

    cgw Forum Resident

    Upstate NY
    One of the problems with a "opera" is that the lyrics need to convey the plot and tend to get in the way of the song. This happens in Tommy and is one of the reasons I don't pull it out too often. Quadrophenia works much better as an album IMO.

    Maybe the "plot" (of Quadrophenia) is a lot looser as a result. On the other hand I prefer the movie version of Quad over Tommy also.
    Jet Age Eric and Mark J like this.
  2. Lynd8

    Lynd8 Forum Resident

    New York
    I voted for WN and I'm really hoping for a super duper deluxe release next year - 50th anniversary.
  3. hyntsonsvmse

    hyntsonsvmse Johnny Guitar

    Who's next is a phenomenal album. Simply sublime. We saw them at Sheffield Arena years ago. We were right down the front. Entwistle's solo was mind boggling as he stood in front of a mountain of amps.
  4. tages

    tages Forum Resident

    A QUICK ONE is still my fave.
    andrewskyDE likes this.
  5. funknik

    funknik He who feels it.

    Gorham, ME, USA
    Who’s Next may be the best “album,” but Tommy is just a magnificent accomplishment. As an album, I don’t think it’s a strong and Who’s Next, but as a composition/live performance, I feel it was their crowning achievement.
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  6. Herman Schultz

    Herman Schultz Forum Resident

    New York City
    I'd flip that:

    Best song - "Baba O'Riley"

    Best album - Quadrophenia
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  7. Tough question. For me it's My Generation, The Who Sell Out and Who's Next.
  8. Scope J

    Scope J Senior Member Thread Starter

  9. Trainspotting

    Trainspotting Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    Who's Next. I think it's the greatest album of 1971 as well.
  10. Hombre

    Hombre Forum Resident

    In my opinion, it's the greatest album of the '70s.
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  11. muzikgeye

    muzikgeye Well-Known Member

    Azusa, California
    So, as one of the biggest Who fans, notwithstanding the Poll choices, my vote goes to the album that will only live in Pete Townsend's imagination: Lifehouse. We know the songs that might have been on it, but the opportunity has passed when the full participation of the band would have rendered Lifehouse the crowning glory in the history of the Who. I know this may be hyperbole, but the realization of a complete Who Lifehouse, though will never happen, is the spiritual unknown that lingers in the Who legacy that is frustrating to accept, yet we are designed to accept as a casualty of that which is rock and roll lore.
    CrawdaddySim1 and Herman Schultz like this.
  12. Benn Kempster

    Benn Kempster Who else?

    Tring, UK
    I dunno - what's a masterpiece? No vote from me.

    At the particular time of their conception, recording and release, all of them are / were. You can throw My Generation in there too as being the toughest, hardest-hitting rock debut of the 1960's.

    The The Who Sell Out 1996 remaster was a masterpiece as it finished and time-stamped a masterful pop concept that wasn't fully realised in 1967.
    Tommy was a masterpiece in that it was on such a scale, so early addoing what had only been hinted at previously. It was the catalyst for The Who becomimg history's greatest live act.
    Who's Next was a masterpiece in its concise presentation and the high technical quality of the recording as well as the material raising the band's bar on the stage, night after night.
    Quadrophenia was a masterpiece in terms of the depth of the story it told and the cultural impact it would have across many subsequent decades and will continue to have in the future.

    No single one of them defines - or should be expected to define - The Who IMVHO.
  13. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Forum Resident

    NYC Man
    Who Are You is the Who album I usually rank as my #1.

    Really every Who album gets a 5/5 from me though.
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  14. Herman Schultz

    Herman Schultz Forum Resident

    New York City
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  15. blaken123

    blaken123 Your Greater Tri-County CD Superstore

    United States
    Quadrophenia. Who's Next is very nearly perfect... this one is even better and also there's more of it.
  16. BryanA-HTX

    BryanA-HTX Crazy Doctor

    Houston, TX
    Who's Next. It's the perfect length (I love Tommy and Quad but I don't listen to double albums often) and the songs just feel a bit more timeless and is overall stronger than Sell Out (though Sell Out is great as too). "Baba O'Reilly", "Behind Blue Eyes" and of course "Won't Get Fooled Again" are three monumental songs that are ingrained in pop culture, not something I can really say about any song on Sell Out.
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  17. scotti

    scotti Forum Resident

    Atlanta GA

    But I also think an album can have more impact based on when it time you heard it (got Quad the day it was released) and memories that are attached to the music for a particular individual. When it comes to The Who, all choices need to be respected.
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  18. blaken123

    blaken123 Your Greater Tri-County CD Superstore

    United States
    That's funny... I've only been familiar with Quadrophenia for a few years but I think it's the best. I didn't grow up with it and I don't really know much about its "story" or context ... It's just a nonstop, killer set of songs.
    Jet Age Eric and scotti like this.
  19. Ringmaster_D

    Ringmaster_D Surfer of Sound Waves

    Chicago, IL
    Quadrophenia is their masterpiece but Who's Next is their best album.
    J_D__ and ti-triodes like this.
  20. clayton

    clayton Senior Member

    minneapolis mn
    Who's Next
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  21. Raylinds

    Raylinds Resident Lake Surfer

    I voted for Quad but could have just as well gone with Who's Next. Quadrophenia grabs you by the balls from the first note and doesn't let go. Who's Next is a masterpiece, no doubt, But I played it to death the first few years after its release and I think I am still a little burned out. Oldies stations still play it all the time.
    J_D__ likes this.
  22. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Forum Resident

    I voted for Who's Next because I see it as the quintessential Who album. So much power and majesty. When you see all the songs that Pete had going on at the time (for the Lifehouse project really) you realise that he had before him the greatest rock album of all time. It all got too much for him but hell, Who's Next will do.
    I suppose Tommy really is Pete's recorded masteriece but the feeble production lets it down a little. I don't love it any less though really.
    I should adore Quadrophenia but a bunch of tracks annoyed me so I never took to it as a complete work. I think I bought it twice and sold it. Perhaps I should give it another go.
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  23. CrawdaddySim1

    CrawdaddySim1 Forum Resident

    Indianapolis, IN
    Who's Next. Add in the discarded Lifehouse project songs and there's really no contest. Pete at the peak of his songwriting powers, and the band's performing chops were never better. Quadrophenia contains moments of greatness, but it's patchier and the "story" (if one could call it that) just doesn't grab me.
    J_D__ likes this.
  24. bostonscoots

    bostonscoots Forum Resident

    Boston, MA
    I'm not a passionate Who fan, but I'll pick Who's Next as their masterpiece. Wedged in between two wildly ambitious double albums (and salvaged out of the rubble of another) Who's Next benefits from being so concise. Moon, Daltrey, and Entwistle seem liberated by not having to follow a plot or tell a story - they dig deep into, then explode out of some of Townshend's best songs. This is the Who - as a band, as a single creative unit - at their absolute peak.
    tkl7 likes this.
  25. tkl7

    tkl7 Agent Provocateur

    New York, NY, USA
    Who's Next. I never took to Quad, even thought I wanted to.

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