Tracks from the Past: the Who, Quadrophenia

DI STAFF | APRIL 12, 2012 6:30 AM

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My dad says the Who is the world's greatest rock and roll band. Quadrophenia, this week's tracks from the past, was the group's sixth studio album and second rock opera. And in my opinion, it's the best album the English quartet ever made.

Released in 1973, the behemoth double album is almost 82 minutes long with 17 tracks.

During the first show of the U.S. tour promoting Quadrophenia, drummer Keith Moon collapsed onstage and the then-19-year-old Muscatine native Scot Halpin, a member of the audience, was brought onstage to finish the show in Moon's place.

As is the case with most Who albums, all songs on Quadrophenia were written and composed by guitarist Pete Townshend. The album received very favorable reviews upon release, 4.5/5 starts from Rolling Stone, Favourable from BBC, and an A-minus from music critic Robert Christgau. Peaking at No. 2, the album reached the highest position on the U.S. Billboard music chart than any other Who album. It was kept from the No. 1 spot by Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.

Quadrophenia's three singles were "5.15," "Love, Reign o'er Me," and "The Real Me." But in my opinion, the best song is "Sea and Sand." The track refers to Townshend's growing alienation from his bandmates, while the character in the song contemplates escaping his unfortunate home life. It's not the Who's most popular song, but it's one of its best.

— by Jordan Montgomery

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