Remembering Thunderfingers – Redux

| July 25, 2021

I’ve been listening to a bit of classic Who lately.  One of the albums I’ve listened to was their 1973 release Quadrophenia.

Yeah, you guessed it:  what follows is another musical “walkabout”.  You have been warned.  (smile)

. . .

IMO Quadrophenia is generally the “forgotten” studio album from The Who’s peak decade (1969-1978).  The other albums from that time frame (Tommy, Who’s Next, By Numbers, and Who Are You) all had at least one memorable single that got plenty of airplay.  Quadrophenia unfortunately really didn’t.  And in any case, any follow-up to the marvelous 1-2 combination of Tommy and Who’s Next was going to be tough.

That’s a pity.  It allows people to forget that Quadrophenia was actually The Who’s highest-charting US album (#2 Billboard, having been denied #1 by Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road), and was a huge sales and critical success.  And it allows people to forget that it contained some of their best – though today, lesser-known – tunes.

It also contains more of the late John Entwistle’s best bass guitar work.  Frankly, I was guilty of having forgotten Quadrophenia when I wrote my original “Remembering Thunderfingers” article a couple of years ago.  If I hadn’t forgotten it, one or two of these tunes would have almost certainly been included.

 

Here are four absolutely excellent tunes from the album.  The first two in particular highlight Entwistle at his thunderous best (though his work is IMO wonderful on all of them).  The first is even more exceptional because Entwistle recorded the bass track for that tune in a single take – reportedly his first – as (presumably) a “throwaway” while simply messing around in the studio and didn’t really expect it to be used.  The rest of the band liked it so much that it was used, as-is, on the album.

Moreover, the last two highlight Daltry at perhaps his vocal best.  The last track has been called one of – if not THE – finest studio vocal from Daltry’s Who career.

Here ya go.  Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re a fan of the group, do yourself a favor and find time to give the whole album a listen.  It’s a complex work – it’s both an attempt at history (of the UK “mod and rocker” conflict period which coincides with the band’s beginning) as well as Townsend’s second rock opera.  It also is introspective towards the band itself; there are four musical themes, presented in four of the albums tunes and which are used in other places as well, which correspond to each of the four band members.

Dense, and deep?  Yes.  But IMO it’s definitely worth the time.

. . .

“We now return you to your regularly-scheduled programming.”  (smile)

 

—–

 

AddendumQuadrophenia was also the basis for a 1979 film of the same title, which generally (though perhaps not perfectly) relates the album’s storyline and underlying themes.  IMO it’s worth watching if you can find it and have the time.  I saw it in the early 1980s when I was a youngster.

IMO it’s closer to historical fiction than drama, and it definitely is not a comedy or “feel-good” film.  Rather, it attempts to portray a rather bleak time to be young man or woman in the UK.  It seems to do so successfully.

But the film’s portrayal may not be quite as bleak as was reality.  An article I read back in the 1980s about the film contained quotes from a UK couple who lived through that time. They said that in their opinion the youth situation during the time the film covered was actually far harsher than the film portrayed.

Category: Pointless blather, Who knows

Comments (5)

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  1. Hatchet says:

    Hondo…wow. I just finished commenting on the 1.8 million Avoided Work article, and saw your Thunderfingers- Redux article and this what I’m listening to right now –
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ultimate_Collection_(The_Who_album) Cheers!

  2. Hatchet says:

    And yeah, the movie was pretty groovy. Er, MOD!
    Need a copy, let me know..

  3. KoB says:

    The.very.best.rock.and.roll.band. EVAH! Prove me wrong.

    Bought this album when it FIRST (ht 2 Roh-Dog) came out in ’73 from a German Music shop in Dotzheim. Bought another copy when it finally hit the PX. Upgraded my stereo to the Marantz Quad 4415 to get the full effect. Saw them live at the Juhunderhall in Frankfurt and at several outdoor gigs. Saw the motion picture when it came out, one of the very few motion picture shows I went to during those years. Wore out several cassette tapes during my road warrior years, still have the original album and a CD from ’05. Last time I saw ’em live was in Apr of ’15 at Veterans Stadium in Jacksonville FL for the “Who Turns 50” Tour.

    Good stuff, Hondo. We really need to make a road trip one day. You know, like “Join Together With the Band”. I’ll pack my CD Case.

  4. Hatchet says:

    Prove you wrong? Uh uh, not me. On the other hand, Tovarish Commie-czar-ZEK…might.

  5. AW1Ed says:

    The very best of the “British Invasion” of the mid ’60s.