The soundtrack to Jeff Stein’s highly-adored biopic is a double album made up of live highlights. Of course, the terms “live” and “highlight” are the bywords when we are talking about The Who with Keith Moon sitting behind the kit.
The version of “A Quick One” at the Rolling Stones’ Rock & Roll Circus leads the charge. The Who stole the show that day, to the point that the Stones (aware that they had been outplayed) later tried to sell the movie to The Who so that they could release it as their Rock & Roll Circus. Personally, I like the version which is included on the “Live At Leeds” album even better. But in any case, both cuts showcase what a demolishing live band The Who was during the “Tommy” period.
That is also underlined by the three songs from Woodstock which are included – all three are “Tommy” numbers (“Pinball Wizard”, “Sparks” and “See Me, Feel Me”) and they are all terrific. They can also be found on the original “Woodstock” soundtrack. The version of “Sparks”, incidentally, is also featured on “Almost Famous” – it is the song that makes the main character realize his destiny of becoming a music journalist.
Likewise, the album includes the cataclysmic performance from “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” that earned Moon the moniker of “British Patent Exploding Number”. It is not really a “live” number (they are playing over a track which was prerecorded), but it has the full dialogue introduction in which the guys drive Tommy Smothers crazy.
And three songs are featured from two concerts which were specifically scheduled for the film. The first took place at Kilburn and it was a major disaster. The one track from that concert which found its way here proves it, as the band struggles through “My Wife”, arguably John Entwistle’s best stage number alongside “Heaven & Hell” and one that they seldom got wrong. For years, fans have joked that the live version of “My Wife” recorded at that gig was only included on “The Kids Are Alright” as a way to show that the band could have days off, just like everybody else. Continue reading