wee had a 'un] , no
met. a string hhepomh
were wonderful — we never nude
ran out at son“ I couldn't come
up with the material.”
He had already been toying with
extended structures, including
two eeli-deecrlbed “Mrs”:
“A Quick One” on the Who‘s “lie
py Jack” album in 1966..end “flue "
on “The Who Sell Out” in 1967. For
“Tommy.” he decided to push even
“Psychedelic dru were -
ins everything. 1 o! the o d
cratumenlike values of pop song-
_ People like Syd Barrett of Pink
u Floyd were coming along. string-
ing :5) 14 echo chambers. e
ta acid and leyingllthou t.
‘Whet I'll do is '11 string numbers
of three- and tour-minute singles.
together, and hopefully it will cre-
ate a long enough. sinuous enough.
these new and encee to ﬂow with."
“Tommy,” at double album in
1909 that cost a previously un-
thinkable 838.000 to make. marked
Townshend’s new ambitions. it is
the story of a boy who becomes
dent. dumb and blind alter he sees
his father kill his mother's lover.
lie is abused by an uncle and a
cousin and sent for various cum;
somehow, he becomes a master
pinball gleyer. Atter he regams' his
senses. e is treated as a kind of
messiah, but is then rejected by
the public. '
The story has everything from
child abuse to media frenzy, not ta
mention oblique commentary on
Townshend‘s own life and careern
which continued after the Who’s
breakup with solo albums that
mercilessly examined Town
shend‘s adult life.
The com r of “Tommy” clear
pose tuel emhi
ly had mystical and
tions to: the open. 'l‘heSton
3l-l" a .=. 1r 3’3!“
3: i'il-l g %
“it was kind at a simultaneous
didn't y much etten to it at
tint.” ut since wage: the =31:
teen company u Who;
Records, it probably hear u
commercieily. heuuee by time
our record came out Tommy‘ had
been such a success.”
“Tommy” remains a marvel at
long-iorm rock. elegantly -
tioned and full at good son
enough recurring themes, not to
and imaginative ideas at what
“Tommy’ was about.
“But when Pete and l were tell-
ing the story to each other. back
end forth. it wee clear that he'd
done an awiul lot at thinking he-
heve. which i: lite out
before him,” Townehend .
“That's the moment that you
mmy at t great rock n‘ roll.