Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Who Initiations

I was recently invited to join this group to add posts - yay! I posted this to a recent blog but now am presenting it as an entry.
I was thinking for this blog...question about how each of us "discovered" The Who for ourselves. I love these kinds of stories as I am sure each one of us has a unique take on their initiation into their music. For me..the story goes like this: I was about 12 years old..on the cusp of adolescents and feeling very confused and angry. I remember my friend's father had an apartment in town and we used to sneak out from boarding school and gate crash his apartment by climbing in through his kitchen window. The father was never around so it used to be the ideal crash base for us. One day we - my friend Sharon and I - were going through his records (vinyl - woo hoo) and I came across the Quadorphenia album with all the pictures and the sleeve story. I put the record on and remember getting goose bumps just listening to the beginning with the sounds of the piano playing over the sound of a stormy sea. The lyrics BLEW ME AWAY with their anger, relevance and beauty. After that Quod became my staple for EVERYTHING and a yard stick for all other musicians. I became a WHO freak! I used to go every month to the record shop and buy my next Who album with the little pocket money that was giving to me. Talk about dedication. Since then..Quod has always been my defining CD when I am feeling frustrated or needing to feel sublime.


ROB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BlackVelvetLace said...

Hi Sidney, for me The Who was just always on the car radio playing softly (or loudly) in the background of all the keg parties by the lakeshore. We had proms and parties with their sound permeating everything. *Tommy* was an anthem, followed by sounds of the Moody Blues, The Beatles, Crosby Stills Nash & Young. It was *the time* of times. And I grew up in them.


ROB said...

I remember at the age of 5, my older brother was getting into CB's. His CB "handle" was "Pinball Wizard." I asked him what that meant and he played the song for me. Obviously, like everyone else, I loved the song. He had the Tommy soundtrack album which I remember scared me as a child. Not the music, but the album cover. For some reason it gave me nightmares. You know, the picture of Roger with the plugs in his eyes, ears, and mouth. I guess the image of someone living in total darkness and silence was scary to me at that age. Come to think of it, it's scary now.

Next I remember buying "Meaty, Beaty, Big, and Bouncy" a year or two later. I remember listening to it and recognizing that I knew almost every song already from the radio. Songs I'd loved for years but was unaware that The Who sang them all. I think it was at that point that I became hooked. I bought "Who's Next" next, then "Live at Leeds", then "Quad".
Then I remember getting "Who Are You".
When I was 10 or 11, "Face Dances" came out and I loved it.

I guess I should stop here. Before I list my entire "Who life's story".

Gary said...

My Mum was really into The Who. She loved Roger. I remember hearing "Pinball Wizard" when I was about 7 or 8 and being mesmerized by the fast and crisp strumming style of Pete Townshend. I knew I wanted to be able to do that someday and started messing around with my Mum's old Spanish guitar. She'd take me down to the music store on a Saturday where a very patient shop owner would re-tune it for me, finally selling me a tuning fork. Mum had all the albums, "Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy" I remember for "Substitute" and Keith's bombastic drumming. Then "Who's Next" and that was it really, I was a Who Fan for life. Around 1979 I even bought a mod parka and got into the revival. But it was the music of Quadrophenia that got me through my very first heartbreak. Nothing else mattered, only those chords and those words that seemed to reach the part of me that was hurting the most. I'm sure it was like that for many thousands of others.

JWhis said...

For me it was also Tommy, but it was the near perfection of the vocal harmonies that stood out to me. I was a big zeppelin fan at the time and vocally the who blew them away! Went from tommy to who's next then who are you then sell out.. well you know the story.

Tink said...

Hi Sidney! Welcome and what a great idea. Like a lot of people, there is not *one* particular stand out moment of being carried away by The Who. Like JWhis - the harmonies had me completely rapt and it was ultimately Tommy that spoke to my soul. Over and over. lol I know Magic Bus was completely overplayed and it's sort of a jokey thing for some; but, it does remain one of my favorites. It's so full of hope and fun. My friends at the time did not like the song and I had to play it over and over "in secret" to avoid their derision.

Also like many ... as I "aged" (50 now) I put most of the music into the "oldie" bins and reminisced on occasion, without being a fervent or devoted fan. Always, though, the music from Tommy played somewhere in my head, as did Magic Bus, Baba O'Riley, etc., and I couldn't quite figure out why Tommy stirred my soul so hugely. I now have 3 autistic children and I think that even way back then ... something about that music (regardless of the "theme") was speaking in depth to the "future" me. Weird, I know. I loved the ideas behind and for Lifehouse Music and figured it would happen some day - if not in my lifetime.

Anyway, I had kept "track" of PT over the years ... here and there ... and one day, while searching for something else, I happened upon the beginnings of TBWHM. Without ever having actually visited a fan site or who blog or anything. I clicked on a link and BAM! there I was at PT's blog (nearly 3 years ago now?) Now *that's* kismet. lol I have learned so much from all of you wonderful, long-term, forever fans -you're all amazing to me.

Okay ... Miss Ramble On is done. :o)

xo Tink

p.s. i love paying attention to those word verification characters. Mine was
" karmy " lol

Lucy said...

Nice posts everyone. Yours always blow me away, tink! Nice one too, Rob... and Gary.

Hmm... my story's a bit different because when I was a kid (in the middle grades, roughly from age 10-12) I remember NOT particularly liking The Who. (nor did I like David Bowie (whom I ONLY associated with the song Fame, which was really big in '75 and seemed too "mass appeal" -- of course now I LOVE it and Bowie) (nor did I like Money or Brick in the Wall -- same reasons) You know why? Coz all the other kids seemed to like them. And this included many, many lower-class, early "maturing" rough, common types (or so I considered them) (not trying to sound like a snob!! but I just didn't identify with them at ALL) and I preferred to like things no one else liked. To me the mid 70s Who music (and other British rock) sounded too Americanized. And I remember not being particularly enthralled with Tommy (I thought Roger Daltrey was supremely TACKY and couldn't understand the attraction girls had for him) (except, oddly, I was a huge Elton John freak in about 5th grade. LOL My sister and I even wrote him a letter -- offering suggestions for new costumes we'd drawn.. (he never wrote back) (we shoulda written to Pete!)

Anyway, it wasn't until a few years LATER (between roughly '79-82, when I was a teenager) that I first stumbled upon some EARLY Who music and fell in love with them in a snap. I was always a huge Anglophile and liked being into stuff my average American classmates had never heard of (such as Monty Python). I got into MP at age 12 when all the other kids were talking about SNL. (I liked to be "different") My memory's fuzzy on this, but I think my path back to The Who probably came about partly via Monty Python/Graham Chapman/Keith Moon!

So... back to the early 80s. I think it must've been The Who's (and PT's) resurgence around this time (all over MTV, etc...) (and the new more British sounds that were invading us again...) that spurred me to delve deeper. I was in love with all the MTV videos. All of Pete's and ... Don't Let Go the Coat.. and Another Tricky Day.. and others. I was also HUGELY into The Stones at this time. :-) (alternated b/w The Stones and The Who) It was around this time that I did my first sketch of Pete (when I was 16). I remember thinking he was adorable but I also doubted that he was very nice. LOL

I remember buying the Sell Out/Quick One combo album at about this time and thinking it was just so CUTE! I remember playing it at my brother-in-law's house and him hearing it and saying, "what's THIS crap?" OMG I couldn't believe anyone would say this about The early Who (or *any* Who for that matter, as I now feel).

So, bottom line is, early on I had misconceptions about The Who, only because of the kids I associated with them. Then I backtracked and fell in love on an individual basis. I'm SURE I love them far more now than most of the former kids back in my grade school do!

Lucy said...

P.S. I knew the Tommy (Elton John) version of Pinball Wizard far before I ever heard the original Who version. When I first heard the Who version (I don't know, late 70s maybe?) I thought it was too pared down and bland... LOL

'Course I adore it now, and can even play it on guitar! :-) Badly...

Oh yeah.. this is funny. When I first used to hear Who Are You as a kid on the radio -- you know -- those crappy AM radios -- I thought they were sayin' "New Awlin's..." (because I lived in New Orleans, and that was my world) ...

What's even FUNNIER, is that without my EVER mentioning this to my son ... a few years ago, when HE first heard the song, I found him humming along, going, "New Awlin's..." REALLY! LOL!! I didn't correct him. (and he is NOT a New Orleans native)... just goes to show how STRANGELY genetic some little tiny things are.