The Who: The Who Hits 50


the whoThe Who
The Who Hits 50
(Polydor Ltd.)

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If you’re anything like me, when you think of The Who, you tend to think of Tommy and Who’s Next. However, this collection serves as an incredible reminder that the band has been around about as long as The Rolling Stones and has evolved just as much.

The single CD edition of this album has some older cuts and the expected huge hits, but here it’s truly worth shelling out a few dollars more for the deluxe edition to get all 42 tracks. Listening to them in order, you can hear how the band progressed from an average group to a stadium rock act. “Zoot Suit,” released under the band name The High Numbers, is a 1964 single clearly aimed at the mod set, but after just a few years, the band put out “My Generation” and then the wildly inventive rock opera, Tommy.

Longtime fans probably have most if not all of this material, but for the casual fan (or someone such as myself, who knows most of The Who’s songs through a childhood of classic rock radio), this is the perfect collection of tracks. The Who really came into their own with bombast, so massive songs like “Bargain,” “Baba O’Riley,” and “Won’t Be Fooled Again” hit the spot.

The album ends with one new song, “Be Lucky.” It sounds as big as a Who songs needs to be, even if some of the lyrical references to AC/DC and Daft Punk fit awkwardly with what is otherwise a generic song of encouragement. Still, it’s proof that there’s more to come from one of the biggest bands in the world, and we don’t just have to think of them when we see CSI on TV.

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