October 21, 2020

1974-01-03 – Courier Post

1974 01 03 Courier_Post_Thu__Jan_3__1974_

Rock’s One Real Composer
Plays Guitar for ‘The Who’

By BRUCE MEYER
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Rock has produced many

songwriters. some of them
very good. But rock has pro-
duced only one composer
worthy of the title. llis name
is Pete Townshend and his
orchestra is called The Who.

The Who is one of the tea-
(fUDflll of significant British
bands to emerge from the
19605 unscathed. Its original
members—Townshend on gui-
tar. John Entwistle on bass,
Keith Moon on drums and
Roger Daltrey as lead vocal—
are still around. 'l‘heir style.
though it has evolved a great
deal since the first, l'ho single
(“Anyti1ne You Want Me")
was released in 19155. is intact.

The Who has not yet found
the bottom of its considerable
pool of creative talent. which
is probably why the hand is
still together.

Townshend's latest onus is
“Quadrwhenia” ( 'l‘ r a c k
MCA2-10004), which is being
hailed by some crities—the
kind who are always looking
around desperately to justify
rock as art—as the greatest
achievement in music since
Beethoven's 9th.

Though “Quadrophenia” is
a fine album, the use of such

superlatives for what is still 3
essentially rock ‘n’ roll is nei- '
ther justifiable nor necessary. :

“Quadrouheniu” is n two-i'eo- :
cord set. and comes complete 1
with a summary of the story ’ ~

line, lyrics, and a book of nice
black-and-white photos to ac-
company the music. It is basi-
cally a much more down-
to-earth story than the pinball
wizard-cum-savior sage of
“Tommy.” The Who‘s first
rock “opera.” It’s all about
an English kid named .limmx

growing up absurd during the ‘

mods- and- rockers period of

the middle 60’s.

Youth Cure ‘
The suggestion is that
Jimmy1 is mad—a “quadro- 1
phenic”, 01' double-7
schi7ophrenic. But in reality

his main affliction is one that
can only be cured by time:
youth. Jimmy is
average mixed-up kid. mess-
ing around with drugs, booze

a pretty '

and the opposite sex and
111mm his level best to stay out
of touch with reality.

That's plenty about the
story line. It really isn't very
inmortant. serving primarily
as a vehicle for the music. to

use a semantic reversal of the
McLuhan equation.

“Quadmphenia” is the most
perfectly conceived and ex-
ecuted “concept album” ever
made. Townshend has worked
very hard to achieve continu-
ity and “flow” from track to
track. and he has been almost,
completely successful. It is at
once the album's triumph and
most significant flaw.

t is a triumph because it
ac-eomplishes the goal that
dozens of rock bands have
been trying to do since the
Beatles popularized the ”con-
cept" idea with “Sgt. Pep-
per.”

Great Drummer

But this near-perfect conti-

nuity also grinds away at the

individuality of the tracks—

and it shows even in the way
the hand performs the music .

on stage.

Keith Moon is a truly great 1
halfway
“Quadrophenia” his
patterns begin to sound alike
—and much the same goes for 1

drummer. but

through

HARWAN

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‘TARTS' TYODA
“VANISHING
WILDERNESS”

CONT. SHOWING FROM 7:00
SAT. CONT. FROM ‘:30
SUN. CONT. FROM 2:30

SUPRA“

5.13.1“ ..ly'.lq‘vi' '
iao s‘fiauwmmdbom
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1‘.‘THE SCBEMING H
TIGER"

#2. “HONG KONG CAT”
. “D EP THRUST”

Tewnshend's

drophenia”-—however

patented (‘hOl'd
1itfs.

l1altrey‘s vocals are superb
- but so similar to his work
on “Tommy" it is hard to
believe. that allnun is now
going on five years old.

Only Entwistle seems to
have remembered that “Qua-
unified ‘
a work it may be—is not a
single two-hour tune. llis bass
lines are innovative and non-
repetitive throughout.

Don't get me wrong on all
this. I think “Quadrophenia” 1
is a superb album—and The ‘
Who is one of my all-time fa-
vorite groups. But if I had to
pick just one Who album as
the best (so far). it'd still
have to he the two-year-old

“Who's Next."

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