Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, “Spooktober Edition” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!
The Who, ‘Boris the Spider’
John Entwistle’s demented genius fueled a number of the Who’s most offbeat early tracks, including this — a creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly ode to a spider named Boris ofc the album A Quick One 1966. The dark, descending bass line makes it sound like horror-movie soundtrack fare, and Entwistle’s voice on the chorus is particularly creepy. By the final verse, he’s gone from merely observing the spider to fearing the spider to beating the spider to death with a book. As the late, great bassist puts it, “He’s come to a sticky end.”
Entwistle was afraid of spiders as a kid. He wrote this about seeing a spider crawling from the ceiling and squishing it. Entwistle wrote this as a joke, but it became a concert favorite. After he wrote this, Entwistle started wearing a spider medallion at concerts. It is a fun song that offset many of the more serious Who songs.
This was the only song from the album that they continued to play live.
Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch”series, where wefind out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!
This is part of Tommy, the first “rock opera.” Tommy is about a young man who is deaf, dumb, and blind, but becomes a pinball champion and gains hordes of adoring fans. It was made into a play and continues to run as an off-Broadway production.
Tommy was made into a movie in 1975 starring Jack Nicholson, Ann Margaret, Tina Turner, and Roger Daltrey (who played Tommy). Elton John made an appearance as The Pinball Wizard and performed this song. His version hit UK #7.
Pete Townshend wrote this. It existed mostly in his head while they were recording it, and the other members of The Who had no idea how most of the story would end until they finished it. Townshend was not credited as the only songwriter on the project – John Entwistle wrote “Cousin Kevin” and “Fiddle About,” and Keith Moon got credit for “Tommy’s Holiday Camp.”
This was the last song written for Tommy. Townshend wrote it when he found out influential UK rock critic Nik Cohn was coming to review the project. Townshend knew Cohn was a pinball fanatic, so he put this together to ensure a good review. Cohn gave it a great review, and pinball became a main theme of the rock opera.
The character Tommy played pinball by feeling the vibrations of the machine. Townshend liked how that related to listeners picking up the vibrations of the music to feel the story.The single version was sped up to make it more radio-friendly.
This was the most famous and enduring song from the Tommy project. Along with “See Me, Feel Me,” it is one of 2 songs from the album that The Who played throughout their career.
The Who performed this at Woodstock in 1969. The song was still fairly new, so many in the crowd did not recognize it. The Who were given the early morning slot, so they ended up playing this as the sun came up.
The Who performed the entire album from start to finish on their subsequent tour. Two of the dates were in the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.
The famous guitar riff was sampled by The Shocking Blue on their 1969 hit “Venus,” which was covered by Bananarama in 1986.
The album got The Who out of a financial mess. After a legal battle with their manager, Shel Talmy, and some bad business deals in England, they were facing bankruptcy if it didn’t sell.
Townshend played a 1968 Gibson SG Special guitar on this song.
Who’s Next by The Who (1971) was an extremely important album for the British hard rockers, as it had to follow the gigantic success of Tommy, the rock opera.
Originally planned as a much more complicated multimedia event under the title Lifehouse, Pete Townshend ultimately chose to just record the primary songs from that project, resulting in one of the greatest rock albums of all time.
Who’s Next featured a band that had outgrown their beginnings and conquered the world in the process. Most of the songs on this album have remained staples of classic rock radio since their original release…Won’t Get Fooled Again, Behind Blue Eyes, Baba O’ Riley, Getting In Tune, Bargain, Going Mobile…
Townshend was writing literate, grown up material and breaking boundaries with his use of synthesizers and loops.
Roger Daltrey had mastered the primal scream and proved to be the embodiment of Townshend’s complex themes. John Entwhistle and Keith Moon were one of the most explosive rhythm sections ever, and nobody played a power chord with more gusto than Pete…or played it louder!
The final 61 seconds of Won’t Get Fooled again is one of the most thrilling endings in any song I have ever heard. If an alien life form requested knowledge of what rock music is, I would play them that final passage…no further explanation needed.
On this date in history, 9/29/1982, I saw The Who and David Johansen at Market Square Arena, in downtown Indianapolis. Johansen was the lead singer for the fantastic New York Dolls, but by the time of this concert, he had morphed into a solid solo career. He wasn’t particularly well received by an impatient crowd ready to be thrilled by The Who. Nonetheless, Johansen is a charismatic performer who knows how to work a stage. I personally enjoyed his set and am glad I had the opportunity to see him live. The Who were nothing short of magnificent. Roger Daltrey showcased one of the best sets of pipes in the business, and twirled his heavily taped up microphone ridiculously high in the air at strategic points in many songs. Pete Townshend executed ferocious windmills with his picking hand, fearlessly crashing it recklessly into his guitar and providing the most massive of power chords; indeed, putting the POWER into the term in the best possible way. John Entwhistle stood still as a statue, except for his fingers, which blazed elegant patterns of intensity on his various bass guitars. Kenny Jones filled in for the late, great, and sorely missed legend, Keith Moon. Jones kept it basic, something Moon never did a day in his life, but somehow it worked just fine, musically. Speaking of music, their set was a treasure trove of genius level rock anthems, penned by Pete, one of the greatest songwriters in the history of rock. The staging and light show were excellent, but simply served the music, which was quite enough for a phenomenal concert experience.
Written By Braddon S. Williams aka The Concert Critic