The Who - Quadrophenia

I don’t know why this album never received any mainstream accolades, but I love it.

Anyone agree?

Hell yes, great album; I wore my copy out. Not only are the songs great, but the performances are damn fine as well. That band had four very talented members and I’d argue that this album was their absolute peak.

Moon and Entwistle comprise my all-time favorite rock rhythm section, and their playing on songs like “Can You See the Real Me” set a new standard for ‘hot’.

When I saw the Who in the summer of 2000, I was happy to see that they played tons of material from Quadrophenia, and that Ringo’s son was playing Moon’s parts note-for-note. Fantastic - one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. :slight_smile:

Zack Starkey does make an adequate stand-in for Keith Moon.

I’ll take Quadrophenia over Tommy (which I quite actively dislike) any day of the week. *Quadrophenia * was also the only one of their shows, of three I attended, that absolutely demanded front row centre tickets.

It was an excellent show. I even enjoyed the weirdness of having Gary Glitter as the Godfather was even a nice freakish touch.

5:15 is my absolute favorite, and possibly my favourite of the Who and Pete Townshend’s entire repertoire. But probably not; there are others, like Love, Reign O’er Me (Pete’s Song), or on some days, Bellboy. :slight_smile:

Just to cause trouble, I will chime in with a so-so review. I love a lot of the songs - 5:15, The Real Me, Doctor Jimmy, etc. - some of their best work, without question. Their ability to “work the space within the music” is amazing - they can each be going completely nuts, and yet there is a clear space in the music that allows it to breath and surge.

But the basic story arc to Quad, and the ultimately Broadway-esque feel? No thank you. I have a back-catalogue CD listening gang - kinda like a book club, but cooler! - and this was one of our first picks, since we all love the Who and love some of the songs off this album, but many of us (including me) hadn’t invested a lot of time to truly “experience” the full thing.

Disappointing. I was lost - after repeated listenings - at Cut My Hair. The whole “zoot suit - with side seams - 5 in-ches looonggg” - jeez, sounds like something out of A Chorus Line, fercrissake! And the arc of songs with the interstitial bits - it just seems so over-worked.

Ultimately, I feel Townshend’s best work is Who’s Next - basically, yet another rock opera (Lifehouse) that didn’t work - or he couldn’t pull together - so he stripped out the good bits and packaged them into an album. I wish the same thing had happened with Quad…

Obviously YMMV…

As a pointless aside, I was reading the liner notes of the LP a few years ago and was surprised to see that the horn and string parts are all played by Entwistle and Townsend. If you listen closely the strings are very simple and played without vibrato – it’s still pretty remarkable that a non-violinist would have the patience and ear to pretend to be an orchestra.

Quad & By Numbers & Sell Out are my favorite Who albums – Who’s Next has just been played into the ground for me. I’ve never been bothered by the incoherent story line – I first came to album as a youngun via the movie soundtrack version, which has only maybe two-thirds of the songs in an entirely different order. (Which, if Pete had anything to do with that record, I guess is kind of his way of admitting it doesn’t really hang together.)

And the only time I’ve seen the movie was in a boomy college auditorium with lousy sound and I couldn’t understand a word of dialogue. My understanding is that it can be hard for a North American to follow under th best of circumstances – maybe I should try it again on DVD with close-captioning. It worked for “The Harder They Come.”

I am not a drummer. But I can’t imagine anyone filling in for Keith Moon. He’s… all over the place… but in a controlled manner. I never really paid any attention to the drumming in songs until I realized how amazing Keith was. Kenny Jones simply plays drums in The Who songs, but Keith fills way more space. I can’t describe it. Anyone want to help me out with this ?

I too prefer Quadrophenia to Tommy. I never listen to the latter anymore. I think it never received too much airplay is because the songs were long (both of the ‘singles’ from this, “5:15” and “Love, Reigh O’er Me” were released in shorter versions) in an era of 3-4 minute numbers. By the time commercial radio started playing longer songs as a matter of course, at least in the U.S., Who’s Next was available. And that one has more radio-friendly songs.

I’m no drummer, either. But note that the word “adequate” was chosen carefully.

On the subject of the rock opera aspect, I like them in many shapes and sizes – my current favourite is A Grand Don’t Come for Free by The Streets, out of Manchester. According to a Pete Townshend interview on the White City video, White City is something of an attempt to describe the life of Quadrophenia’s Jimmy as he becomes (sort of) an adult. When you know that, watching both together (the original Quadrophenia with Sting in the role of Ace, and the White City video) is a richer experience.

Much as I like Quadrophenia, Tommy is the better album. But neither is up to **Who’s Next, The Who Sell Out, ** and the overlooked Who Are You.

I have to agree that the best songs on either Tommy or Quad are what I return to and the double albums as a whole never get played. Townsend was terrific on anthems and only so-so on quiet filler.

Much as I like some of the songs on Quadrophenia, it has a bit of a bloated, over-orchestrated feel and a less compelling story line compared to Tommy, which is brilliant from start to finish with every piece fitting into place. Tommy’s purely instrumental pieces (i.e. ‘Underture’) are extremely well done.

Tommy also benefited from the contrast with The Who’s preceding sloppy effort (‘Sell Out’). The contrast is amazing.

I like Tommy a lot too, but it is obviously well known, whereas Quadrophenia seems to be a relatively obscure album that get very little air play.

Love Reign O’er Me is about the only track I’ve ever heard on the radio. And usually this only occurs during one of those “Psychedelic” programming specials.

I love Tommy, but my favorite tracks are the instrumentals (Overture, Underture, Sparks).

The highs on Quadrophenia are higher than they are on Tommy, but the lows are also lower, IMHO.

But the preceding effort was Magic Bus (at least in the US). And nothing about “Sell Out” is sloppy, especially since it was an early development of some of the musical themes used in “Tommy.”

I just can’t stand the story behind Tommy, so I’ve never been able to warm to it. It’s too much like an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical for my taste.

Sell Out “sloppy”? We’ll have to agree to disagree on that. It’s one of my favorites. Grab a copy of the re-issue and give it another listen.

Ah, but Quadrophenia–pardon the cliche, but that album saved my life. I remember racing home to listen to it, almost getting a speeding ticket in the process. That music spoke to me like nothing I’d ever heard before. The story of trying to fit in, rebellion, and isolation was my soundtrack for a long time. Every time they play “Love Reign O’er Me” in concert, I shed tears of joy.

Trouble is, they haven’t one song from Quadrophenia on the tour so far. “The Real Me” and “The Punk Meets the Godfather” always kicked ass. “Drowned” has always been a standout number with Pete raging on acoustic, even “I’m One” is a crowd pleaser. I can understand not doing “5:15” because John’s not around anymore, and Roger’s voice just couldn’t handle LROM night after night, but I’d rather hear anything from Quad than have to listen to “You Better You Bet” again.

Your premise is wrong:

“In 2000 Q magazine placed Quadrophenia at number 56 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 2001, the TV network VH1 named it the 86th greatest album of all time. In 2003, the album was ranked number 266 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.”

For once Ammonius Saccus was right. The critics masturbated all over Quadrophenia, disregarding that it was self-indulgent pap that couldn’t hold a candle to its predecessors. Same thing happened with The Wall and The lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Long sometimes just means a longer wait until it’s over and you can put on something good.

I loved this albumn, in fact since I haven’t heard it for about 20 years, I’m gonna download it tonight. Thanks.

I liked the film.

I have this vision of certain people on these boards marching around chanting, ‘We are the mods! We are the mods! We are, we are, we are the mods!’