Today: The Who released “Who’s Next” in 1971 – 41 years ago

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From Wikipedia:

Released 14 August 1971 (UK); 25 August 1971 (US)
Recorded March–May 1971, Olympic Studios, London
Genre Rock, hard rock
Length 43:38
Language English
Label Track, Decca
Producer The Who, Glyn Johns (associate producer)

Who’s Next is the fifth studio album by English rock band The Who, released in August 1971. The album has origins in a rock opera conceived by Pete Townshend called Lifehouse. The ambitious, complex project did not come to fruition at the time and instead, many of the songs written for the project were compiled onto Who’s Next as a collection of unrelated songs. Who’s Next was a critical and commercial success when it was released, and has been certified 3× platinum by the RIAA.

From Allmusic (Stephen Thomas Erlewine):

Much of Who’s Next derives from Lifehouse, an ambitious sci-fi rock opera Pete Townshend abandoned after suffering a nervous breakdown, caused in part from working on the sequel to Tommy. There’s no discernable theme behind these songs, yet this album is stronger than Tommy, falling just behind Who Sell Out as the finest record the Who ever cut. Townshend developed an infatuation with synthesizers during the recording of the album, and they’re all over this album, adding texture where needed and amplifying the force, which is already at a fever pitch. Apart from Live at Leedsthe Who have never sounded as LOUD and unhinged as they do here, yet that’s balanced by ballads, both lovely (“The Song Is Over”) and scathing (“Behind Blue Eyes”). ….
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Track listing:
All songs written and composed by Pete Townshend, except where noted.

Side one
1. “Baba O’Riley” 5:08
2. “Bargain” 5:34
3. “Love Ain’t for Keeping” 2:10
4. “My Wife” (John Entwistle) 3:41
5. “The Song Is Over” 6:14
Side two
6. “Getting in Tune” 4:50
7. “Going Mobile” 3:42
8. “Behind Blue Eyes” 3:42
9. “Won’t Get Fooled Again”


  • Who’s Next has been named one of the best albums of all time by VH1 (#13) and Rolling Stone (#28 on its 500 Greatest Albums of All Time).
  • Upon its release it was named the best album of the year in The Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics poll.
  • It was also ranked #3 in Guitar World‘s Greatest Classic Rock Albums list.
  • Many of its nine tracks are perennial favourites on classic rock radio, especially “Baba O’Riley”, “Bargain”, “Behind Blue Eyes”, and the closing track “Won’t Get Fooled Again”.
  • The album appeared at number 15 on Pitchfork Media’s top 100 albums of the 1970s. 
  • The album is also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
  • In 2006, the album was chosen by TIME Magazine as one of the 100 best albums of all time.
  • In 2007 it was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for “historical, artistic and significant” value.
  • In 1999 it was the subject of a Classic Albums documentary produced by Eagle Rock Entertainment which has aired on VH1 and BBC among others, entitled Classic Albums: The Who – Who’s Next.
  • The album was selected as the 32nd-best of all time by Mojo in January 1996.
  • In 2011, Classic Rock Review named Who’s Next its album of the year for 1971.

Bargain Live @ San Francisco Civic Auditorium December 12, 1971. (This is an edited version of the performance) + classic Pete Dialogue – Long Beach, California December 10, 1971:

Baba O’riley live:

Album of the day:

Other August-15:

  • David Van Cortlandt Crosby (born August 14, 1941) is an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter. In addition to his solo career, he was a founding member of three bands: The ByrdsCrosby, Stills & Nash (who are sometimes joined by Neil Young), and CPR. Crosby has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice: once for his work in The Byrds and once for his work with CSN.
  • Connie Smith (born Constance June Meador; August 14, 1941) is an American country music artist. Active since 1964, Smith is widely considered to be one of the genre’s best female vocalists. She has earned eleven Grammy award nominations, twenty top tenBillboard country singles, and thirty one charting albums, three of which have hit number one. In 2012 Smith became the twelfth solo female vocalist and nineteenth woman to be elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
  • Woodstock ’94, often called the “commercial Woodstock” or “Mudstock“, was a music festival organized to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the original Woodstock Festival of 1969. It was promoted as “2 More Days of Peace and Music.” The famous poster used to promote the first concert was revised to feature two birds perched on a guitar fretboard (instead of one), with the headstock of an electric guitar.The concert was scheduled for August 13 and 14 of 1994, but a third day (August 12) was added.

    Bob Dylan Played on August 14 From Allmusic (Jason Ankeny):
    Bob Dylan snubbed the original Woodstock festival in 1969, so it was more than a little surprising when he signed on for its disastrous 1994 sequel. Most shocking of all was the intensity and conviction of his performance, which overcame some early hiccups to rank among the otherwise dismal event’s few memorable moments. Given the number of frat-boy meatheads and date-rapists in the Woodstock audience, Dylan receives a surprisingly rapt and reverent welcome, and he responds with a thoughtful, well-considered performance that avoids populist cheerleading, eschewing “Blowin’ in the Wind” and other generational anthems in favor of a lacerating rock & roll show highlighted by “All Along the Watchtower,” “Highway 61 Revisited,” and “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.” While Living Legend’sWoodstock ’94 is an acceptable edition of this much-bootlegged performance, with crisp sound and shoddy packaging, Crystal Cat’s North Stage remains the definitive release, combining a soundboard-quality recording of the complete performance with more than two-dozen screen captures from the broadcast feed.a taste: