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The Who and ‘Quadrophenia’: Sonic Magic Whose Time Has Passed

Is it just me, or is anyone else still trying to get jazzed about the Quadrophenia Tour that Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey of The Who recently announced?

Maybe part of my disenchantment stems from the “virtual press conference” during which the 36-date tour was announced. Organizers shrouded the event in secrecy, noting only that Daltrey and Townshend would discuss the group’s 2012 plans. When the press conference started and the tour around the 1973 rock opera was announced, it was a bit of a letdown. Think of it sort of like your mom telling you she had a major surprise for you and then finding out she planned to serve your favorite dessert. Sure, that’s nice…but is it a huge surprise?

Also, the virtual press conference was a bit…let’s just use the word sterile. Journalists submitted questions beforehand, and someone read them to Townshend and Daltrey, who responded. Not exactly the stuff of lively interaction. In fact, journalists’ phones were muted so they couldn’t interject.

That’s really a shame. As the only two original members of The Who, Daltrey and Townshend are basically the National Archives of the band. And with at least two generations of would-be fans who aren’t quite clear about why there’s so much reverence paid to The Beatles, never mind The Who, it’s a fair bet that band is a major mystery to Generations Y and Z. It would be great to have Daltrey and Townshend engage the public, even by way of the media in a less scripted way. Alas, that doesn’t seem likely.

And some might question why The Who, a band that helped lead the British Invasion in the ’60s and had such mega hits as Tommy and “I Can See for Miles,” needs to almost pander to non-fans. Doesn’t the band’s history speak for itself?

Continue reading ‘The Who and ‘Quadrophenia’: Sonic Magic Whose Time Has Passed’

Sound and Vision: One Direction and The Wanted — the Return of the Boy Band?

The British are coming—again!

It’s been more than a hot minute since multi-platinum boy bands like *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys roamed the earth and ruled the charts. Now, after a decade-long dormancy, cute, heavily-styled guys who sing in harmony and don’t play instruments are suddenly back in fashion.

Once again, the UK is leading the charge onward and upward. While Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC were born in the USA, they enjoyed their earliest success in the UK. This time, though, the new wave of blushing boy bands represents an authentic UK-born-and-bred British invasion.

The members of The Wanted, whose “Glad You Came” single has climbed into the Top 3 of Billboard’s Hot 100 (the quintet’s self-titled US debut album arrives April 24), and One Direction, whose first album, Up All Night, just outpaced Adele to enter Billboard’s Top 200 album chart at No. 1 (176,000 vs. 148,000 copies sold), all hail from Britain and Ireland.

In just a few months, both groups already have enjoyed more US success than Ireland’s Westlife, or Take That, perhaps the UK’s biggest boy band ever, who aside from one Top 10 single (1995’s “Back for Good”), never made it big in the States. (With the exception of Spice Girls and Bananarama, UK female vocal groups—including All Saints in the ‘90s and, more recently, Sugababes and Girls Aloud—haven’t fared much better in the US over the years.)

Continue reading ‘Sound and Vision: One Direction and The Wanted — the Return of the Boy Band?’

 


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