Flashback Friday Album Spotlight: The Who’s A Quick One

I know, I wrote about a Who album the last time I did this, but I can’t help my love for them and all of their albums! Now this one is another early album for them, maybe about 3 years before Tommy.

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The only song I knew before discovering the album was Boris the Spider, the John Entwhistle-sung creepy little tune about a spider. At least, that’s the only song from this album I’ve heard play on classic rock radio stations over the past 20 years. I didn’t discover the true gems of this album until, of course, I was delving deep into the Who on my own. On this blu-ray I have where they discuss making Tommy, they first discuss how Pete Townshend was told to write a song nearing 10 minutes to fill the rest of this album. Pete, being the perfect musician he is, was simply baffled by this idea, considering popular songs back then were like, maybe a 2 minutes and 50 seconds long at the most. But he had that in mind; the song A Quick One While He’s Away is about 9 minutes long but it consists of different songs all put together to contribute to the same story. Before I bought the album for myself, I had watched two different versions of them performing this song. Then listening to the song on the actual album was another new experience for me, so I would absolutely recommend doing the same and listening to those two performances and then the album version…however, even though I know I’ve watched it several times before, the first one I watched from the Monterey Pop Festival is gone…so now you only get one. It’s still awesome and honestly it’s the better of the two performances. It’s from the Rolling Stones’ Rock and Roll Circus, which is actually pretty much how it sounds. That’s another DVD I recommend but that’s for another time…but right now I will tell you: unless you want to rip your ears off for fun, PLEASE skip the part when Yoko Ono performs by herself…ugh. But anyway, back to my darlings of the hour; this a fantastic performance all around, you can see just how fantastic of a band these guys were back then (with John Entwhistle and Keith Moon still alive). Watch Keith Moon absolutely slay the drums while he pulls himself backwards and honestly if he’s not the greatest drummer you have ever seen, I don’t understand you.

When my boyfriend and I saw the Who last year, they played this song and I went crazy. I adore this song and it makes me so happy, and somehow I did feel like I was the only person in my immediate surroundings that actually knew the song. Here is what the stage looked like when they performed this song:

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Gorgeous…I still get chills when I hear Pete sing “am I back in your arms, away from all harm…it’s like a dream to be with you again, can’t believe that I’m with you again,”. Partially because I imagine him singing this to me, and also I just love his sweet angel voice.

Besides the track where the album gets its’ name from, this album is wonderful to listen to all the way through, but here are my highlights:

  • Run Run Run-opening track on the album that is just fun.
  • I Need You- my favorite part about this one is that it is written and sung by Keith Moon. While a phenomenal drummer, he typically didn’t contribute many lyrics or sang a lot, so this is a lovely gem. Also, I’m pretty sure that each member was forced to contribute whole songs for the album.
  • Heatwave- yes, this is a cover, but I love their version of it. Pretty sure that this was part of simply filling in the album.
  • Doctor, Doctor- now this is another John Entwhistle contribution. While Pete Townshend of course is the primary hitmaker, everyone deserves a lot of credit. This was truly the way bands were back then; everybody contributed something. That’s when a band was truly a band. But anyway, the song… It’s a fun little tune about a paranoid man thinking he has “every sickness there is to be had”. “Doctor, doctor, doctor, make me well, I’ve not got long to go now, I can tell,”.
  • Whiskey Man- yet ANOTHER John Entwhistle song! It’s not as great as the other ones but I enjoy this ode to an imaginary friend.

As I have mentioned earlier, the whole album is worth listening to, but other noteworthy songs on there include their versions of the Batman theme and Barbara Ann. Other originals worth noting are Disguises and So Sad About Us.

Until next time, keep on rocking!!

The Who during the filming of the Rolling Stones Rock & Roll Circus - December 11,1968:

 

 

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