Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey join me In the Studio in this classic rock interview for the first in a two-part look at the fiftieth anniversary of the October 1973 magnum opus Quadrophenia, which certainly is much more appreciated today than upon its initial release. It was a challenge to many US fans in 1973 precisely because it was so incredibly authentic to the London post-War experience, in the same way West Side Story was the New York City version of the same period. And then there were a myriad of logistics problems for the Quadrophenia release.First off, vinyl records are made of polyvinyl chloride, PVC, a petroleum product. And in October 1973 precisely when The Who delivered Quadrophenia to the record pressing plants, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, had decided to stop selling oil to the West in a high-stakes game of chicken in a successful ploy to raise the price of crude oil. So the result was that many Who fans were not able to actually obtain a copy of the double album until after the Quadrophenia tour was over!
After the universal acclaim of Tommy four years earlier, and with Live at Leeds and Who’s Next both successful single discs in between, I asked Pete Townshend if he had been encouraged to explore once again a conceptual piece. He surprised me with his frank response. “No, not at all, ” he answered quickly.”In fact, the band, management, record company, even some critics were telling me not to write another conceptual piece.” Townshend pauses for just a beat, and the faintest hint of a smile crosses his lips. “I never listened to them, of course.” Thank God he was selectively deaf, or we wouldn’t be discussing here today “The Real Me”,”Quadrophenia”,”The Punk Meets the Godfather”,”I’m One” sung by Pete Townshend himself with some great acoustic guitar (always under-rated I’ve felt );”Is It in My Head?”, and “I’ve Had Enough”, all in part one on Quadrophenia‘s golden anniversary. –Redbeard