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Who's Next

4.8 out of 5 stars 824 customer reviews

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Who's Next (Ultimate Masterdisk)
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Audio CD, October 26, 1994
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 26, 1994)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: MCA
  • ASIN: B00000DWHH
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (824 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #266,932 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
As most people know, one of the main selling points of Who's Next: Deluxe Edition is that the original album comes from the original stereo master tapes "for the first time on CD". The story is that only copy tapes have been used all of these years. On the other hand, Steve Hoffman, former MCA engineer, has claimed for a long time that he found the master tapes in a file cabinet at the Mastering Lab in LA in the mid-80s and used them for his CD version, one variation of which is still available in Canada today.
Well, between listening to the two side by side and running the tape box pictures past Steve, it would indeed seem the Deluxe Edition is the *second* time (at the very least) the true masters have been used for CD. There's little doubt in my mind that Hoffman's version also used the tapes. Both forms of the album sound quite good, although there are some differences between the two.
The Hoffman CD has an EQ that favors the vocals, with the side effect of causing the cymbals to sound a bit "midrangy". The Deluxe Edition, on the other hand, goes for a slightly more "smooth" cymbal sound, at the expense of the vocals, causing them to be submerged slightly, if you will. The DE is a bit less "open", IMO.
There are also some minor differences beyond EQ. For his CD, Hoffman essentially played the tapes back "straight", without fading the hiss out between tracks. [side note: the Canadian version has the hiss "blacked" between some tracks. The original US and Japanese pressings don't.] The Deluxe Edition takes a different approach. As the songs come to a close, the entire track is faded out, causing the hiss to fade as well. The side effect of this is that in some cases the very last moments of some songs are lost.
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Format: Audio CD
"Who's Next" is definitely The Who's best! Released in 1971 by arguably one of the greatest bands of all time, it followed on the heels of the rock opera "Tommy," and Pete Townshend's abandoned "Lifehouse" project. ("Lifehouse" was originally intended as The Who's crowning achievement - a combination science fiction film, rock opera, double album, and concert cycle, all connected to make a statement.) "Who's Next" contains some of The Who's most outstanding and famous songs, including the rock anthem "Baba O'Riley," "Bargain, "My Wife," "Gettin' in Tune," and "Won't Get Fooled Again," all of them showing the band's tremendous dynamism, versatility and musical maturity. Superbly intelligent lyrics, growling guitars, powerful, gritty vocals, and sizzling percussion, piano, and synthesizer, all converge to make every song on this CD a rock masterpiece.

What makes this digitally remastered CD even better than the original album is the addition of five previously unreleased songs from "Lifehouse," and the previously unreleased, original version of "Behind Blue Eyes. " These songs, which include "Baby Don't You Do It," "Naked Eye," "Water" and others, are equal in quality to the more familiar songs which make up the original "Who's Next" album. Also included are very well written liner notes by Pete Townshend and John Atkins, which explain the evolution of "Who's Next" from "Lifehouse."

"Who's Next" is one of the landmark albums of all time. It's also one of my personal favorites, and an essential CD, not only for fans of The Who, but for all fans of rock and roll music.
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Format: Audio CD
Due to some positive comments made, I would like to elaborate on the "Spruce Goose" comment present in this review for those unfamiliar with that particular bit of history.

In the 1940s, Howard Hughes, the famous aviator and notorious recluse, built the largest "flying boat" ever built. The plane has the largest wingspan ever. Martin Scorceses produced a film called "The Aviator" with Leonardo Decaprio playing Hughes. The airplane was so massive and so unwieldly that only one flight was ever conducted, with Hughes behind the controls, on November 2, 1947. After that, the plane was permanently grounded, and no other subsequent models or additional planes built to the specifications of the Spruce Goose were ever built. The plane is still in existince today.

The whole "Lifehouse" project is analogous to the famous airplane. "Lifehouse" was unwieldy, impractical to implement, and no one really knew what Townsend was trying to accomplish with the project. Ultimately, it was too big for its own good and became doomed due to its size.

Mike London 9-10-2012
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The Who have always been overshadowed throughout their career by other, more `relevant' trends. The Who persisted, however, and in the end created a body of work, largely penned by Townshend, which has become stands in the rock canon, but they've always had to fight for the spotlight. In the mid 1960s they had to contend with The Beatles and Stones and the rest of the Peace movement. From the early 1970s they had to deal with the singer-songwriter influx, and in the late part of their recording career they had to contend with punk (much of that relationship is dealt with in the highly underrated WHO ARE YOU album).
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