August 06, 2013

The Who - Sparks (1969)

Primarily written by band member Pete Townshend, The Who’s double-sided Tommy album was one of the first rock albums in history to be considered a “rock opera.” The album’s songs systematically tell the story of Tommy, a kid who is psychosomatically deaf, dumb, and blind due to something he witnessed at a young age. The album’s time-frame spans multiple years, from Tommy as a child to his adult life. The album was banned by the BBC and many US radio stations for its subject matter, specifically revolving around a handicapped child who is abused by family members and goes on to become a spiritual leader. Just a few months after its release in 1969, the entire album was played by The Who for the crowd at Woodstock. Almost as if it were on cue, the sun began to rise at Woodstock over the horizon just as Roger Daltrey began to sing, “See Me, Feel Me.” The album has sold more than twenty million copies, been turned into a Broadway musical, an orchestral production, and a feature film. It was the band’s first major album success, to be followed by Who’s Next, Quadrophenia, The Who by Numbers, and Who Are You.

Written by Pete Townshend, this instrumental track was one of the numerous highlights on the Tommy album. The song has a notable appearance in the film Almost Famous from 2000, when the main character first becomes exposed to rock music when listening to this particular track.

album art

The Who - Sparks (1969)

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