Sonicbond Publishing [Publication date 17.08.20]
One of the good things about any book like this, it encourages you to either dig out old vinyl or notice that you’ve missed something.
In the case of The Who they released their latest album as recently as 2019 and it was well received. We don’t get sent everything at GRTR! and evidently are not in Universal’s good books.
Geoffrey Feakes is well positioned to wax lyrical on a band he grew up with, fantasising that he could have been pushed in a pram alongside Roger Daltrey as they lived in the same area of London and are the same ages.
He follows the band’s progress from the sixties when they changed their name from Johnny Devlin and The Detours and provides a brief biography of each original band member before the usual album/song breakdown.
The Who summed up the more rebellious nature of the “swinging sixties” and were adopted by The Mods with a lineage that has stretched to contemporary artists like Paul Weller via The Jam and Eddie & The Hot Rods.
The only Who album I ever bought was The Who Sell Out (1967). As someone interested in radio I liked the segues featuring the pirate Radio London jingles and commercials. But the music summed up that year in terms of airplay, not least ‘I Can See For Miles’ which Feakes confirms is one of his own favourites.
And one of my own favourite tracks, ‘Eminence Front’ (from the 1982 album It’s Hard), has remained regularly in their setlist more recently. It’s a little bit uncharacteristic maybe but one helluva groove.
It’s this diversity that has kept the band fresh for over 50 years. And, returning to the latest release, as Feakes confirms “There was general consensus that this was the best Who album since the 1970s”.
But let’s remember also that the band didn’t make an album for nearly 25 years, from 1982 to 2006.
What you do reflect on, reading a book like this, it’s unlikely we’ll see their likes again in the sense that they had 16 Top 50 singles before 1971 and many are still familiar. This was a great way of establishing the band.
Any new rock band would find that record difficult if not impossible with today’s fragmented media and streaming. And, sadly, with the current pandemic. The Who grew up at a time when there was national radio exposure (including the pirate radio stations) and TV (Top of the Pops).
An appearance at Woodstock (1969), the Isle of Wight Festival (1970) and the success of their early “rock opera” Tommy (more specifically a “concept album”) consolidated their reputation and provided breakthrough.
Feakes adds the soundtracks, live albums and a useful video survey to his narrative.
The band had already amassed a couple of hundred hours of live recording when they decided to play Leeds Uni and Hull City Hall specifically for a live album in 1970.
The original release (generally regarded as a classic) was affected by an electrical crackling noise which was later removed on subsequent reissues. Feakes doesn’t mention the digital cleansing and you are more likely to get the full story by trawling around the web.
The 40th anniversary edition of ‘Live At Leeds’ featured the full unedited versions of both gigs, restoring Entwistle’s bass which due to another technical fault was partially missing from the Hull recording.
Navel-gazing aside, a good introduction to an enduring band. ***1/2
Review by David Randall
Josh Taerk’s latest Sunday Session was streamed on Sunday 20 March 2022 at 21:00 GMT (16:00 EST). Josh’s next session is Sunday 22 May.
Check out previous videos here: https://www.facebook.com/getreadytorockradio
David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 GMT, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 8 May 2022.
UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020 and 2021 Finalist) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 GMT as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 3 May 2022.
How to Listen Live?
Click the programming image at the top of the page (top right of page if using desktop)
Get Ready to ROCK! Radio is also in iTunes under Internet Radio/Classic Rock
Listen in via the Tunein app and search for “Get Ready to ROCK!” and save as favourite.
More information and links at our radio website where you can listen again to shows via the presenter pages: getreadytorockradio.com
Power Plays w/c 16 May 2022 (Mon-Fri)
FLOYA The Hymn (Arising Empire)
VEXES The Dream Disease (indie)
NEAR DUSK The Way It Goes (Iron Head Records)
IN SEARCH OF SUN Make Me Crazy (indie)
WALLNER VAIN Deceive Her (indie)
FIGHT THE FADE Where You Go I Go (FiXT)
MARATON Non-Euclidean Heart (Indie Recordings)
Featured Albums w/c 16 May (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 TERRA NOVA Ring That Bell (Lion Music)
12:00-13:00 FOZZY Boombox (Mascot)
14:00-16:00 MICHAEL McDERMOTT St.Paul’s Boulevard (Pauper Sky Records)
Tweets by Get Ready to ROCK!