The Who haven't recorded a new song in two decades and haven't released a new-hits collection in eight years, but this new, 20-track collection kills those two birds with one stone-cold sensational anthology! Along with the two new tunes, Real Good Looking Boy and Old Red Wine , are the following classics: I Can't Explain; My Generation; The Kids Are Alright; Substitute; I'm a Boy; Happy Jack; I Can See for Miles; Magic Bus; Pinball Wizard; See Me, Feel Me; Summertime Blues (live); Behind Blue Eyes; Won't Get Fooled Again; 5:15; Love, Reign O'er Me; Squeeze Box; Who Are You , and You Better You Bet . Notes and rare photos, too!
Old rock bands never die--or even fade away, for that matter. The unlikely, 21st-century resurgence of the Who may have begun as a typical baby-boomer cash-in tour, but it also spurred the band's first new recordings in 20 years. When the tragic death of John Entwistle overshadowed both projects, Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey stubbornly retrenched, forming what Townshend wryly called the Who's new "Everly Brothers
format"; anyone aware of the historical tensions between Phil and Don couldn't miss the parallels with Roger and Pete's own long, turbulent relationship. Running the gamut from energetic early hits like "Happy Jack," "Magic Bus," and the now intensely ironic anthem "My Generation" to the briefest of highlights from their most fertile creative period (Tommy
), this lavishly packaged and annotated greatest-hits set would seem entirely superfluous if not for the two new recordings that close it. Recorded at the end of 2003 with roots in a Townshend multimedia project called The Boy Who Heard Music
, "Real Good Looking Boy" (featuring the bass work of Greg Lake, Zak Starkey on drums, and old cohort Rabbit Bundrick on keys) is a dramatic, stripped-down tribute to Elvis Presley whose energetic immediacy stands in stark contrast to the band's last, overly precious '80s recordings. Written on the Who's tragic 2002 tour and recorded in early '04, Townshend's "Old Red Wine" mines a similar musical vein and stands as the surviving Who duo's bittersweet tribute to fallen friend and bandmate Entwistle. --Jerry McCulley