“Tommy” was one of the first “concept albums” I ever owned, back in the 1970s. (The album was released in 1969). “Tommy” may be The Who’s most ambitious project ever, and all the songs tell a story, so they should be listened to in order.
A short synopsis of the story (since this was performed as a rock opera before being released as a concept album, it includes the names of the original cast members):
After seeing his stepfather murder his father during an argument over his mother (Ann Margret), young Tommy goes into shock, suddenly becoming psychosomatically deaf, dumb and blind. As a teenager, Tommy (Roger Daltrey) stumbles upon a pinball machine and discovers he is a natural prodigy at the game. Fame and fortune follow for Tommy, as he first becomes a pinball champion and later the messiah of a religious cult who view his pinball skills as a miraculous sign of divine intervention.
I was just listening to it today (on Youtube), because my original copy (a two album set) was sold in 1994 along with all my other albums I’d collected from the 1960s – 1990s. The owner of a used record store came to my house and bought my entire collection of about 600+ albums without even looking at the titles. There was some real shit in there, some of the records or their covers in poor condition, but there were also a lot of classics ones in excellent condition, like my copy of “Tommy.” The guy just took the whole lot for $300. I was desperate for the cash at the time, but I still have regrets about getting rid of all of them.
Listening to “Tommy” again today, I was as blown away and haunted by this ‘rock opera’ as I was when I first heard it as a young teen.
For your listening enjoyment, here’s a trip back in time, courtesy of The Who!
2-It’s a Boy 05:21
4-Amazing Journey 08:48
6-The Hawker (Eyesight To The Blind) 15:58
8-Cousin Kevin 22:45
9-The Acid Queen 26:52
11-Do You Think It’s Alright? 40:30
12-Fiddle About 40:55
13-Pinball Wizard 42:26
14-There’s a Doctor 45:28
15-Go to the Mirror! 45:52
16-Tommy Can You Hear Me? 49:40
17-Smash the Mirror 51:15
19-Miracle Cure 55:19
20-Sally Simpson 55:31
21-I’m Free 59:42
23-Tommy’s Holiday Camp 1:06:54
24-We’re Not Gonna Take It 1:07:51
25-See Me, Feel Me 1:11:20