The Who's 'Quadrophenia' At 40: Classic Track-By-Track Review


The Who's second rock opera, "Quadrophenia," released 40 years ago in October 1973, was Pete Townshend's homage to an earlier moment in British youth culture. Composed entirely by Townshend, the 17-song opus told the story of Jimmy, a member of the Mods -- a U.K. subculture -- by chronicling his dissatisfaction with life, work, love, home, and family. But it also functioned as an ode to teenage angst and counterculture rebellion, as well as a criticism of the British class, economic and educational systems. And, finally "Quadrophenia" told the story of the Who's first fans in the band's earliest days, playing pubs and clubs in and around London in the '60s.
Filled with performances packed with life and depth and personality, "Quadrophenia" is 90 minutes of the Who at its very best. "The reason why the album is so important to me is that I think it's the Who's last great album, really," Townshend told Billboard in 2011. But what makes it great isn't the production or the sound effects but the bones of the songs: the music and the lyrics as well as the individual guitar, bass, vocal, and drum performances from Townshend, John Entwistle, Roger Daltrey and Keith Moon, respectively. 

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