The Who – Live at Leeds

ARTIST: The Who

TITLE: Live at Leeds

YEAR RELEASED: 1970

CHART ACTION:  #4 US, #3 UK

SINGLES: Summertime Blues (#27 US, #38 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I mean, it’s a live Who album. You’re gonna know the songs.

LINEUP: Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle, Keith Moon

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: One of the best live albums of all time, and a showcase for the Who in their glory years.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The original Live at Leeds was just a teaser. Only six tracks, and it blazes in with “Young Man Blues’, their cover of Mose Allison. “Summertime Blues” rumbles in the middle, and their workout of “My Generation” dazzles everyne, and it’s over after six tracks.

Of course there was more to that concert, and twice, they’ve delivered more. First, they gave us all of the non-Tommy songs and slotted in two tracks from the live performance of the rock opera. Then, they released every track, putting Tommy on the second disc.

If any live album is worth your streams or CD purchase it’s this one. The Who do justice to their singles, covers album tracks, B-sides, and Tommy. Starting out with John Entwistle’s “Heaven and Hell” is genius, as the song gets everyone’s attention even though it’s a B-side. The best track for me is their live version of “A Quick One (While He’s Away)”, which was a prelude to Tommy. Townshend’s introduction is genius, and Entwistle’s falsetto in the final part of the track is incredible.

 The power and performance and the songs are spot on. There hasn’t been many live albums to surpass this, as all of the elements that make a live performance worthwhile are captured.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: If you really want to be anal about it, you can program a play list with the actual running order by slotting the Tommy songs between “A Quick One” and “Summertime Blues”.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: As listed above, and one of the versions has Live at Hull, recorded the next night. It’s a little more ragged than this performance, but still worth hearing.

 GRADE: A+: If anything should be played loud, this is it.

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