The Who: Sensation-The Story of Tommy

Duke Ellington tried, but didn’t complete it; Terence Blanchard did one this year. The rock band The Who did it back in 1969. What was it? Mix opera with another genre, in this case with rock music. This just under 2 hour dvd documents both the inspiration and perspiration behind the album that has gone on to sell over 20 million copies.

Recent interviews with guitarist/composer/vocalist Peter Townsend and vocalist/guitarist Roger Daltrey give intriguing insight is to the conception of the concept album, the difficulties faced in those days of even putting the idea into something concrete, and then selling it to a pop audience. Archival footage interviews of bassist John Entwistle, along with chats with engineer Bob Pridden and others give a perspective to what the opus achieved. Townsend goes into detail about how the album is semi-autobiographical in terms of his own dysfunctional upgringing, commenting that “We’re all deaf dumb and blind.” His spiritual journey, as well as looking for a reason for living, climaxed by his embracing the teachings of Meher Baba are laid out with exposed nerves. Along with the fascinating documentary, some previously released material from Beat Club has the band in vintage 1969 form performing the opera, with an interview with Townsend during that time period simply icing on the cake. Impressive!

Eagle Rock DVD

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