The story behind The Who's legendary rock album
Ashley Clements
12:26 29th January 2013

The Who are set to perform their legendary album Quadrophenia in full on tour in 2013, but do you know everything there is to know about the album? Check out 20 key facts below.

We feel everyone should know a little bit more about such an iconic album as The Who gear up to play it in full once again this summer.

Not too many albums actually inspire the making of a film, so it's only right that we delve a bit deeper into one of the seminal British rock albums.

20 facts about Quadrophenia:

1. The young lad on the album cover (pictured below) was 23-year-old Terry Kennett. The paint sprayer was discovered by guitarist, Pete Townshend in a pub near the studio. Kennett missed the album photo shoot because he had to attend court for allegedly stealing a bus.

2. Released in 1973, Quadrophenia was The Who's sixth studio album.

3.The record told the story of being an adoloscent in the mods and rockers era in 1964 and 1965.

4. Quadrophenia reached No.2 in the UK albums charts.


The iconic Quadrophenia album cover 

5. The record was denied the top spot by David Bowie's Pin Ups, which contained cover versions of The Who songs 'I Can't Explain' and 'Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere'.

6. It was adapted into a film by Franc Roddam in 1979 starring Phil Danils and Sting.

Watch the Quadrophenia Director's Cut teaser video below: 

7. The Who's Pete Townshend has told NME that Quadrophenia was the band's "last great album" and that it "felt like the end" of the group after its release.

8. The name is a variation on the popular usage of the medical diagnostic term schizophrenia as dissociative identity disorder, to reflect the four distinct personalities of Jimmy, the opera's protagonist – each said to represent the personality of one member of The Who. It is also a play on the term quadrophonic sounds, which was new at the time.

9. Quadrophenia reached No.2 on the US Billboard album chart which was to be the highest position of any Who album in the US.

10. When released, Rolling Stone described it as 'superbly performed and produced, exquisitely packaged, and extremely boring'.


Pete Townshend believes Quadrophenia is The Who's best ever work

11. In 2000 Q magazine placed Quadrophenia at #56 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.

12.The band felt the tour in support of the album was a disaster. Due to the extensive use of synthesisers and sound effects on the record, the group used taped backing tracks for live performances. But initial performances were plagued by malfunctioning tapes. Once the tapes started, the band had to play to them. The band felt constrained in playing to these recordings, preferring a more free-form attitude.

13. On the first night of the US tour to support the LP, drummer Keith Moon collapsed onstage. Scot Halpin, an audience member, was brought on to finish the show.

14. In 1979 the film Quadrophenia was released, with three additional songs written by Townshend and was an accurate visual interpretation of Townshend's vision of the album's main character, Jimmy and his surroundings.

15. The 1979 soundtrack album, which included four extra songs was played in the background of the feature and was dedicated to Peter Meaden, a prominent Mod and first manager of The Who. Meaden had died a year prior to the album's release.


Roger Daltry has planned the Quadropenia Tour himself

16. The four personalities traits of Jimmy are said to be noticeable in the following tracks and have been linked to the band members.

- A tough guy, a helpless dancer. ('Helpless Dancer' – Roger Daltrey)
- A romantic, is it me for a moment? ('Is It Me?' – John Entwistle)
- A bloody lunatic, I'll even carry your bags. ('Bell Boy' – Keith Moon)
- A beggar, a hypocrite, love reign o'er me. ('Love Reign O'er Me' – Pete Townshend)

17. No demo of the song '5:15' was made before it was recorded.

18. During the making of the album, Townshend recorded with a portable reel-to-reel recorder. Some of the location sounds that made it to the record were waves washing on the beach and a diesel train whistle recorded close to the guitarist's house at Goring-on-Thames.


The Who will be embarking on a 10-date UK tour in the summer

19. A vinyl shortage caused by the OPEC oil embargo, meant only a limited number of album copies got to stores before production had to be halted. Most British Who fans failed to find a copy until after The Who's UK tour.

20. In November last year, The Who started a 37 date U.S. tour of Quadrophenia. Dubbed, 'Quadrophenia + More', the album would be played in its entirety, with a selected hits encore included. As with the 1997 Quadrophenia Tour, Zak Starkey and Simon Townshend would accompany the two surviving founding members, playing drums and lead guitar, respectively. Pino Paladino, who replaced John Entwistle after his death, is playing bass on the tour.

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Photo: WENN.com