October 20, 2020

1975-04-20 – The Cincinnati Enquirer

1975 04 20 The_Cincinnati_Enquirer_Sun__Apr_20__1975_

For R&R, Original ‘Tommy’ Still Best

. :B JIM KNIPPENBERG

. Enquirer Reporter
8

- First the Who in 1988.
Then the London Sympho-
ny Orchestra. with guest
Soloists in ’72. And now the
i1lm soundtrack with vari-
0us artists. seven years after
the original shot.

‘ ”Tommy. ” It‘ s seven years
old now and getting strong-
Er unlike most rock and roll
compositions which always
Seem to fade away after a
year or two. In most fields
of music seven years is
nothing; In the ever fickle.
rapidly changing world of
rock arid roll, it's every-
thing.

ALI. THREE recorded
versions of “Tommy" are
currently listed on Bill-
boards (that‘s unheard of
in the rock market) albums
Charts and doing a respect-
able job of holding their
own among the 200 or so
more contemporary num-
bers contained.

. The Who's version—al-
ready a monster bestseller
with over $7 million sales in
“the US. alone—clocks in at
'number 88 with a bullet
alter five years absence
Irom the charts. Retailing
at $11.,98 MCA Records ex-

bects to d a minimum of 1
million mge. " -‘ t" L1”

'. The L don Syhpfifl
Orchestra. velsiorfi'i’ (165‘)
with soloists '
Ringo Starr 1:
wood. Mags .
Clayton. Ric ..
and “'1 of the o. ..
it 167 with a bullet . ’
probably go gold 3. . . .
diter several years 011’ size
charts Retail is $9.98.
, 3 And then the soundtrack
version (Polydor). It rests
this week at number 18 with
a bullet and. at $9.98, has al-
teady been certified gold.
Igt's still rising on the charts.

EVEN “Jesus Christ
Superstar. ” in the heyday 01
fits popularity. never quite
enjoyed success like this.
You would probably be safe
in saying that “Tommy."
Riven the list of its achieve-
ments is the most popular
i'ock and roll composition
over.

; But it has been changing
over the years. In its origi-
nal Who form. “Tommy"
was pure rock and roll—the
raucous, ioot stomping, butt

kicking sort which only an
English street punk band
can play.

It was a simple produc-
tion, far more accessible
than “‘Quadrophrenia." the
Who's later and more highly
praised work. All vocals
were by Roger Daitrey. all
instruments by composer
Pete Townshend. bassist
John Entwistle and drum-
mer Keith Moon. And. un-
like the two following ei-
iorts. it was basic tummy
thumping rock and roll. ' -

The London Symphony
took “Tommy" out or the

realm of pure rock. True.~

the Who was featured. but
the second recording. with
various artists singing dii-
ferent roles and the big

symphonic sound in the.

background. gave “Tommy"
a distinct theatrical air it
had been lacking. '

Unlike the Who's version.
the London rendition rested
on middle ground: There
were rock types involved
with the singing. but they
weren't rocking. They were
performing a tight piece of
music in a fashion aotept-
able to nearly everyone.
There were no changes in
the basics of the music, just
in instrumentation and ar-
rangements.

Then Hollywood enters
the picture. The Polydor
version, perhaps last of the
“Tommy" rehashings. per-
haps not, is different still.
And even further removed
from the original rock and
roll.

THE SOUNDTRACK ver-
sion—featuring Roger Dal-
trey, for the third time as
Tommy. and Elton John,

'Tina Turner, Eric Clapton,

Ann-Margret and the
Who—comes complete with
1001 strolling strings and
the opulent production
characteristic of the genre.

With the soundtrack ver-
sion. another new audience

enters under the “Tommy"

spell. This time, it’s the mo-
viegoers who don't normally
buy records but will pop it
they fall deeply in love.

Apparently they have.
And that's “Tommy.”.

Seven years old and still
killing them. As rock, as
theatrics, as a soundtrack.-

' .Some odyssey.

Billboard' s best sellers for
week ending April 19.

Distributed by
Knight News Wire

TOP SINGLES

l. PHILADELPHIAFREE-
DOM—Eiton John Band,
MCA.

2. (Hey Won't You Play)
ANOTHER SOMEBODY
DONE SOMEBODY

WRONG SONG—B.J.

Thomas. ABC.
3. LOVIN’ YOU—Minnie
Riperton, Epic.

A sun un cnuruamnnv-

Started It All

9. YOUNG AMERICANS—
David Bowie, RCA.

10.CRASH LANDING—
J imi Hendrix. Reprise.

(‘OUNTRY SINGLES:

1. ALWAYS WANTING '

YOU-Merle. Haggard,

Capitol.

.BLANKET ON THE
GROUND—Billie Jo
Spears. United Artist.

3. ROSES AND LOVE
SONGS—Ray
Myrrh.

. 4. ROLL ON BIG MAMA~

Joe Stampley. Epic.

I C (‘W‘" I MIIYIVII innvvm

b3

Price,

...the Who : Townshend. Moon and Entwistle

Billboard Top Disc Listings

9.1T WAS ALWAYS SO
EASY (To Find an
Unhappy Woman)—Moe
Bandy,GRC.

10. THE BARGAIN STORE
— Dolly Parton. RCA.

SOUL SINGLES: -

l. L-O-V—E (LOVE) - Al
Green.Hi.'

2. SHAKY GROUND—
Temptations. Gordy.

3. WHAT AM I GONNA DO
— Barry White, 20th
Century.

4. ONCE YOU GET
STARTED—Ruius. ABC.

But which to spend your
money on? Number one?
two? three?1t‘s a lot of
money to spring for so you’ll
want'to get it straight from
the start. Well. . .

. FOR ROCK and roll types,
nothing will ever equal the
Who's version. And, since
“Tommy” is a tale which

could only happen in a rock.

culture, probably no other
version will ever come quite

as close to delivering Town--

shend’s original intent. Well
worth every penny of the

- price.

But for those to whom
rock and roll is not exactly
the cultural bees knees, the
symphonic hijinks oi the
London orchestra do the
music justice. Most of the
time. And the Hollywood
clutter of the soundtrack
also does it justice. Some of
the time. Neither measure
up to the original in any

-way, but it’s pretty hard to

go wrong with such a good

~piece of music.

1114;117:1096
Erlanoet Only

1:414:15, 7:10, 9:45
Springdale Only

Amrn—oJ/m/UHH

-
l A

-A_.._‘_.—-HA-1A'A