Quadrophenia is the sixth studio album by the English rock band the Who, released as a double album on 26 October 1973 by Track Records. It is the group's second rock opera. Set in London and Brighton in 1965, the story follows a young mod named Jimmy and his search for self-worth and importance. Quadrophenia is the only Who album entirely composed by Pete Townshend.
The group started work on the album in 1972, trying to follow up Tommy and Who's Next, both of which had achieved substantial critical and commercial success. Recording was delayed while bassist John Entwistle and singer Roger Daltrey recorded solo albums and drummer Keith Moon worked on films. Because a new studio was not finished in time, the group had to use Ronnie Lane's Mobile Studio. The album makes significant use of Townshend's multi-track synthesizers and sound effects, as well as Entwistle's layered horn parts, in addition to the group's typical playing styles, especially from Moon. Relationships between the group and manager Kit Lambert broke down irretrievably during recording and Lambert had left the band's service by the time the album was released.
Quadrophenia was released to a positive reception in both the UK and the US, but the resulting tour was marred with problems with backing tapes replacing the additional instruments on the album, and the stage piece was retired in early 1974. It was revived in 1996 with a larger ensemble, and a further tour took place in 2012. The album made a positive impact on the mod revival movement of the late 1970s, and the resulting 1979 film adaptation was successful. The album has been reissued on compact disc several times, and seen a number of remixes that corrected some perceived flaws in the original.
|associated singles/EPs:||5.15 (1973 album)|
The Studio Albums
|part of:||Rolling Stone: 500 Greatest Albums of All Time: 2003 edition (number: 266) (order: 266)|
Rolling Stone: 500 Greatest Albums of All Time: 2012 edition (number: 267) (order: 267)
|Wikipedia:||en: Quadrophenia [info]|
|other databases:||https://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/the_who/quadrophenia/ [info]|
CritiqueBrainz ReviewsThere are 2 reviews on CritiqueBrainz. You can also write your own.
There are certain albums from the 1970s the brilliance of which must be taken on trust by listeners of today. If you weren't in the neighbourhood of Ladbroke Grove in 1976, The Clash's first LP sounds fairly far from revolutionary. If you weren't around to hear the Ramones emerge as the fastest band in the world - before Bad Brains came along, that is - then the New Yorkers' self-titled debut sounds slower than a solar-powered milk-float on a December morning. But certain albums of the time have managed to retain their untamed quality. Never Mind the Bollocks is one; Quadrophenia is another.
Available here in an almost pornographically sumptuous box-set edition, featuring the original 1973 album, two CDs worth of demos, a 5.1 surround DVD mix, a poster and a beautifully presented 100-page hardback book which also features a brand-new essay from Pete Townshend (there is also a cheaper two-disc version for anyone not looking to blow 70 sheets five weeks before Christmas - said set's tracklisting, to the left), this is the album that refuses to die. For while Tommy may have made it all the way to Broadway, it is Quadrophenia which has aced the test of time better than any other album released by The Who.
Thematic if not quite conceptual, the original double-LP - which in freshly re-mastered form sounds both sharp and clear - frames England in an time of uncertainty: the uncertainty of the class system, the uncertainty of youth as it greys into older age, the uncertainty of an economy in its first shudder of industrial decline. As befits an album bursting with conflict and even violence - "I've seen my share of kills," sings the narrator of the impossibly brilliant I've Had Enough - Quadrophenia's music is performed by a band who seem to be not just at odds with their country but also at times with each other. These are songs with very little space in which to breathe - when the denouement of a fully-aerated Love Reign O'er Me does arrive, the effect is almost cleansing - all played out to a backdrop of psychiatrists, priests, furious fathers, amphetamine-filled teenagers, fallen idols and enough sharp suits to cut open a whole army of greasers on the seafront at Brighton.
Soon to celebrate its 40th birthday, Quadrophenia is one of the few albums of its time that sounds as good today as it must have done then. For once, the term 'masterpiece' is not sold on the cheap.