Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Who's Tommy - Original Cast Recording (1993)


Music & Lyrics: Pete Townshend

It's an unusual plot and it was certainly a brave thing for Townshend to attempt a rock opera in the late '60s. One could easily say that this led the way musically for Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar. I enjoy this recording for two reasons: first, production is perfectly handled by George Martin (even Townshend says that this recording "has a George Martin sound"), and second, Michael Cerveris does his best imitation of Roger Daltry. The Broadway run lasted 899 shows. Although I would hate to see a Disney version starring one of the Jonas Brothers, I'm amazed there hasn't been another movie version based on this musical. Interestingly, after the release of this 2-disc set, RCA released a one disc "highlights" CD. One more dip into our pockets, I guess. It would have been interesting to see how Tommy would have been adapted if it had come about after Jonathan Larson and Rent challenged what a pit orchestra could be in 1994 - maybe it would have played more as rock opera than stage musical.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #114

Tracks: The music here is strong, but I'm really drawn to the orchestrations of Steve Margoshes. The stand out tracks from Act I are the Overture, See Me Feel Me, Pinball Wizard, and Acid Queen which features an incredible performance by Cheryl Freeman. Overall, Act II isn't as strong a the first act; Go To The Mirror/Listening To You, I'm Free, and We're Not Gonna Take It are the highlights here. All the rest is just there to move the story along.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: I've never seen a production of this show. When I was living in San Antonio in 1994, a touring company came through town and the TV ads for that show prompted me to check this out. I have never heard the original 1969 Who album or seen the 1975 film version; this CD is my only experience with Tommy.

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