“Tommy” (The Who): full album.

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“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!

1-Overture 00:00
2-It’s a Boy 05:21
3-1921 05:59
4-Amazing Journey 08:48
5-Sparks 12:12
6-The Hawker (Eyesight To The Blind) 15:58
7-Christmas 18:12
8-Cousin Kevin 22:45
9-The Acid Queen 26:52
10-Underture 30:26
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
18-Sensation 52:50
19-Miracle Cure 55:19
20-Sally Simpson 55:31
21-I’m Free 59:42
22-Welcome 1:02:21
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

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Monday Melody: Livin’ On a Prayer (Bon Jovi)

I’m a Jersey girl myself, so Jersey boys Bon Jovi bring back great memories of carefree summer days spent “down the shore.”   This popular 1986 hit about a young blue collar couple facing hard times is my favorite Bon Jovi song.  It never gets old.

Monday Melody: Won’t Get Fooled again (The Who)

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In my opinion, the best rock and roll song of all time. That’s all.

Monday Melody #2: Whiter Shade of Pale (Procol Harum)

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While watching the video for this week’s Monday Melody, “All the Young Dudes,” Youtube directed me to this song (which in some ways is very similar, at least in sound). I played it of course, and couldn’t get it out of my mind, so I’m posting it as a second entry this week. For me, this song has a story attached to it.

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It’s a song that brings me back to one of my few happy childhood memories. It was the summer of 1967 (the Summer of Love to those of you about a decade or more older than I was). I was about 7. My parents and I were spending a couple of weeks living in a rented house on Cape Cod Bay (East Brewster, Mass.), where every day I’d be able to walk out about a mile onto the sandbars and collect shells and hermit crabs in a plastic bucket.  I wouldn’t return until the tide began to come back in (and it came in so quickly sometimes I had to run back!)   Before outracing the tide I’d set the hermit crabs free.  My 12 year old half-sister, who I idealized as some kind of goddess (she was everything I was not), had joined us for those two weeks (she was my mother’s daughter but she only lived with us for one year in 1971).

At the end of a busy and carefree day on the beach, I remember the two of us sitting out on the screened porch that overlooked the bay, our skin still hot to the touch with sunburn (and in my case, covered with mosquito bites), drinking Coke from tall frosted-plastic tumblers and eating potato chips.  A tinny transistor radio was tuned into the local Top 40 station. The water of the bay gleamed like molten bronze under the setting sun, and a Citronella candle burned on the metal mesh table. Mosquitoes bounced against the rusted screen that separated us from the salty sea air and occasionally fried themselves in the bug zapper that hung from the worn wooden rafters that had turned gray with salt and age. Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale” emanated from the tinny radio. I was in heaven. To this day, whenever I hear this song, I’m taken back to that long ago summer. What a different world it was back then.

Monday Melody: All The Young Dudes (David Bowie/Mott the Hoople)

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The late David Bowie, who died early this year, was a musical visionary, way ahead of his time musically.  “All The Young Dudes” was recorded by Mott the Hoople and released in 1973 and became a radio hit that year. I can’t listen to it now without feeling a little sad that Bowie left this earth so soon.

This video includes both versions–Bowie’s original and the hit by Mott the Hoople. Mott the Hoople’s is the one I’m most familiar with.

Livin’ in the ’80s: “Livin’ on a Prayer” (Bon Jovi)

I can’t believe this song is closing in on three decades now. It was released in 1986.

There’s a reason why “Livin’ On A Prayer” is remembered fondly by so many after so much time has passed.

Jon Bon Jovi is still a hottie too. Here is the proof:

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I’m adding this song to the “Soundtrack of my Journey” (in the header) because, well, it just belongs there.