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Quadrophenia Original recording remastered

4.7 out of 5 stars 551 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Who's other rock opera, completely remixed and remastered under the supervision of Pete Townshend.

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An excellent and frequently astonishing album, Quadrophenia is both more ambitious and less accessible than Tommy, the first and most well known rock opera. At its simplest level, Quadrophenia is a coming-of-age story with an awesome soundtrack. The album features some of the Who's finest material, in songs like the enraged "Real Me," the cynical "Punk Meets the Godfather," the wistful "5:15" and "Sea and Sand," and the powerful "Love, Reign O'er Me." The songwriting (courtesy of Pete Townshend) is top-notch, as is the production (the Who actually managed to use synthesizers in an original manner, something few rock bands can aspire to). The mix of powerful songwriting and skillful composition makes this one of the Who's finest moments. --Genevieve Williams
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 2, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Geffen
  • ASIN: B000002P1P
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (551 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,267 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brian J Hay on January 30, 2005
Format: Audio CD
The Who were at the top of their game when they recorded Quadrophenia and each member showcased his abilities to the fullest. This is Pete Townshend's most concise work as a musical story teller. It also features some of the best songs he ever wrote. At least six of the pieces on this set exceed even his normal (high) standard. `Sea and Sand' contains enough melodic fibre for two songs. `The Punk and the Godfather' and `The Real Me' are as fiery a pair of hard rock songs as have ever been released. `I'm One', `The Dirty Jobs', `Is It In My Head', and `Drowned' could easily find a place in music theatre. More familiar pieces such as `5:15', `Bell Boy' and `Love Reign O'er Me' continue to shine to this day. Even some of the flawed material stands out. `Dr. Jimmy' begins brilliantly but (partially) fails because Townshend didn't seem to be able to figure out how it should end. His playing and singing is uniformly outstanding throughout the set. There's some great guitar work on `Love Reign O'er Me'.

Roger Daltrey found himself as a vocal dramatist while the group was recording `Tommy'. The full power of his vocal range came out during the tours that followed and in the subsequent recording of `Who's Next'. He made full use of both, and did so with flair, style and confidence on this record. There are points where he sings more softly, points where he roars and times when he does both. His best moments come during `The Real Me', `Love Reign O'er Me' and on `Bell Boy' when he sets the stage for Moon.

John Entwistle came up with the clinic on how to use the bass as a lead instrument. His (most obvious) great moment comes early, midway through `The Real Me' when he and Keith take up the entire melody of the song and carry it under Daltrey's vocal line.
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Format: Audio CD
Even though Quadrophenia is my favorite Who album, this remastered version pales in comparison to the original CD version released in the early 90's. It's actually muddy in spots, and as a result sounds that you're used to hearing have been quieted or lost altogether. For example, in "The Dirty Jobs," after Daltrey sings, "You men should remember how you used to fight," there used to be what sounded like seal noises (which fit in well with the ocean and water images and sounds of the album), perhaps to indicate how spineless these "men" have become. In the remastered version, these noises are gone. Later, in "Drowned," the piano is reduced to a less prominent role, particularly in the central section where the horns come in and overpower the piano, and that's a shame since the playing on the original is so inspired and thrilling. But, perhaps the greatest tragedy of this remastered version is how forced to the background Townshend's rhythm guitar is during "Love, Reign O'er Me", especially in the solo--and we're talking ferocious, adrenaline-causing strumming in the original. Find a used CD copy of the original or buy the gold CD. Anything but this mangled version. It's as if the person in charge of remastering the album didn't appreciate the finer points of the original production or wasn't even a Who fan. Maybe, in overseeing this, Townshend didn't have his hearing aid in, and Entwistle was too busy snorting coke. Either way, they goofed.
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Format: Audio CD
It's the greatest rock album of all time. I don't think there's any higher praise I can offer it than that. I've spent my money on thousands and thousands of CDs, covered the entire spectrum of popular music from metal to ambient to folk to country to prog to pop to punk to lo-fi to you-name-it, and Quadrophenia still stands out for me as the most ambitious and fully realized project anyone's ever pulled off in the genre at large. Moreover, it does something that I think all truly profound art ought to: it deeply involves the listener emotionally. Lots of intellectually impressive music and art keeps its audience at an enforced distance (it seems to be the modern aesthetic), but Quadrophenia engages you in both your head and your heart without ever sinking to cheap or manipulative levels. There's a term for what this album evokes, and uncoincidentally it's also what Townshend and his creation Jimmy are both searching for: the experience of the sublime.

And man, that's no mean feat. Townshend was writing about the early '60s "Mod" youth culture over a decade later AND from the point of view of an outsider, and yet his lyrics (and liner notes - brilliant character writing) are miraculously free of cliches or patronization. They're not poetic in the same way as Dylan's could be, but then Townshend's not writing about psychedelic jesters and two-wheeled gypsies, rather about a lower-middle class malcontent kid. And these lyrics depict the emotionally chaotic mind of a moody, dreamy, confused adolescent with sharp and subtle strokes.
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Format: Audio CD
Was 'The Who' the greatest rock 'n' roll band in the world? At the time of the release of their second double album rock opera Quadrophenia at the end of 1975, the answer would have probably been `yes'. The `Beatles' had long since gone and never played any real live concerts as we know them today. 'The Rolling Stones' had just lost their second lead guitarist in Mick Taylor, and were being led down a very disco-orientated channel by Mick Jagger. Only Keith Richards could really claim to be a true rocking Stone. 'Led Zeppelin' was still around of course, but they were almost on another plain. So we can safely say that in the early seventies `The Who' was one of the biggest rock 'n' roll bands around. Already with many landmark albums behind them, Tommy (1969), Live at Leeds (1970), and Who's Next (1972), not to mention a mass of hit singles and historic appearances at such events as Monterey Pop Festival 1967, Woodstock, and the Isle of Wight in both 1969 and 1970, were backed up by saturation touring to bigger and bigger audiences all over the world.

Of course, like all of the rock greats, 'The Who' was not only known for their recording and spectacular stage shows, but stories of their on the road excesses are now part of rock 'n' roll mythology. The release of Quadrophenia was the major rock release of late 1973. It was waited for with barely concealed restraint by their millions of fans. The album went straight into the charts at number two in the United Kingdom and the United States of America remaining in the top thirty for over six months, a phenomenon almost unheard of for a double album in those far off days.

Quadrophenia found 'The Who' at the peak of their collective powers.
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