Quadrophenia - The Album

Quadrophenia Essay and Introduction by Ed Hanel
Liner Notes By Brian CadyAlbum Liner NotesRecording InformationDiscographyLyrics

Introduction to the Album & Story LineYour thoughts on the album?

Recording Information


John Curle : Voices
Roger Daltrey : Vocals
John Entwistle : Bass, Horn, Vocals
Keith Moon : Percussion, Vocals

Ron Nevison : Sound Effects
Chris Stanton : Piano
Pete Townshend : Multi Instruments, Sound Effects

Production Credits

Jon Astley : Reissue Producer, Reissue Remixing
Richard Evans : Art Direction, Design
Ron Fawcus : Assistant Engineer, Mixing
Graham Hughes : Design, Photography
Glyn Johns : Associate Producer, Engineer
George Jones : Mastering
Pete Kameron : Executive Producer
Kit Lambert : Executive Producer, Pre-Production

Bob Ludwig : Reissue Remastering
Andy MacPherson : Reissue Remixing
Ron Nevison : Engineer
Bobby Pridden : Mixing
Ethan Russell : Art Direction
Chris Stamp : Executive Producer
Pete Townshend : Composer
The Who : Main Performer, Producer

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Liner notes by Brian Cady

John Entwistle Bass, Horns, Vocals Roger Daltrey Lead Vocals Keith Moon Percussion, vocals Pete Townshend Remainder [except where noted below]

Front cover photography and design by Graham Hughes from an idea by Roger Daltrey Inside and back cover photography, book photography and art direction by Ethan A. Russell. Conceived by Pete Townshend and Ethan A. Russell.

Mod kid played by Chad [Terry Kennett]. Hair by Dallas Amos.

All tracks written by Pete Townshend and published by Fabulous Music, Ltd.

Produced by The Who [except where noted below] Pre-production (with Pete Townshend): Kit Lambert Engineer: Ron Nevison Mixing continuity and engineering assistance: Ron Fawcus Studio earphone mix: Bobby Pridden (Special effects recorded by Rod Houison, Ron Nevison and Pete Townshend)

Recorded at "The Kitchen" in Thessally Road, Battersea [except where noted], while building was still in progress. Ronnie "Lane's Mobile Sound" served as control room while ours was being finished. Mixed at Eel Pie Sound [a/k/a Pete's Garage in Twickenham].

Quadrophenia was originally released in the U.K. as Track 2657 013 on October 26, 1973. However, it appears that due to a vinyl shortage caused by the OPEC oil embargo, only a limited number of copies got to stores before production had to be halted. Most British Who fans failed to find a copy until after The Who's U.K. tour. In the U.K., Quadrophenia reached the #2 position being held out of the top spot by David Bowie's Pinups.

In the U.S. Quadrophenia was MCA2 10004 released on November 3, 1973. It reached #2 in the Billboard charts being beaten out of first place by Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.

Quadrophenia began shortly after the May 1972 session to attempt to create a follow-up to Who's Next. Pete originally intended a mini-opera about the members of The Who called "Rock Is Dead - Long Live Rock." Ultimately his attention went more to a central character like Tommy, here called Jimmy, who would be a Who fan of the Mod era but would also embody The Who. Townshend had played with this idea before; at one point in Tommy's genesis, Pete planned to have parts of Tommy's personality represented by The Who. Another part of the form of Quadrophenia came from the failure to film Lifehouse. Instead of creating a filmscript that would probably never be made, Pete planned Quadrophenia as an album that would be the soundtrack to a never-made film with both music and sound effects and a photo album to supply the images.

Pete said that during the mix he had 16-track tapes piled up to the ceiling. Roger also estimated that Quadrophenia was reduced from 15 hours of recorded music. Pete said he wrote "about fifty songs for this and creamed off the best" and that Quadrophenia could have been a quadruple album. What those other songs were is unknown but a few of them turned up on the Quadrophenia Soundtrack.

Pete Townshend: "The whole conception of Quadrophenia was geared to quadraphonic, but in a creative sort of way. I mean I wanted themes to sort of emerge from corners. So you start to get the sense of the fourness being literally speaker for speaker. And also in the rock parts the musical thing would sort of jell together up to the thunder clap, then everything would turn slowly from quad into mono and you'd have this solid sort of rock mono ... then a thunder clap and back out again. We spent months mixing it and then found out that MCA was using the CBS quad system and ... you might as well forget it. So our engineer remixed it in the same manner that it was mixed in stereo, the same sort of creative approach." How successful he was with that mix is still a matter of contention among Who fans. Is it a good mix, a bad mix or a technically flawed mix? In any case the rest of The Who hated the mix, particularly Roger, and their reaction was the first of several disappointments for Pete stemming from Quadrophenia. John remixed the album for the 1979 film but Roger thought it was worse than the original. Pete and Roger were both involved in the 1996 remix. Their pleasure at the results was one of the primary reasons for the 1996-97 Quadrophenia tour.

I Am The Sea (2'08) Pete Townshend: "Our story is set on a rock in the middle of a stormy sea..." And where did the cat come from? In live performance, this was presented totally on tape in quadraphonic sound coming from all sides of the arena.

The Real Me (3'22) Pete Townshend: "Gets everything going with a quick look in at the psychiatrists, at home and even a quick visit to the local vicar. Mental security is unfortunately not obtained." The demo version has the additional lines, "Rock & Roll's going do me in; do me an evil wrong. Funny how your best friends turn out; it was good for oh so long. I stop myself getting letters and then the people try to turn me back. Publisher wants my memoirs and the limousines are black. Can you see the real me, rock & roll?" Released as a single in the U.S. January 12, 1974 with b-side "I'm One." It peaked at #92 in Billboard and #82 in Cash Box. The ending was edited to cut back to an instrumental section prior to the final "Can you see the real mememememe" and faded out which gave it a running time of 3'26. It was also released as a single in France, Belgium and Japan.

Quadrophenia (6'15) Pete Townshend: "The four-personality concept grew out of a naive understanding of schizophrenia - a misunderstanding of schizophrenia. Jimmy is a kid who suffers from schizophrenia, and when he takes pills, his schizophrenia divides up and he suffers from quadrophenia." This was only played live during the British leg of the 1973 tour and was not revived until 1996.

Cut My Hair (3'46) News read by John Curle Pete Townshend: "A domestic interlude. The boy recalls a row with his folks that culminated in his leaving home. We also hear a news broadcast mentioning riots in Brighton between Mods and Rockers, events at which he was present the previous week." This song quotes from The High Numbers' single "Zoot Suit." "Cut My Hair" was only played live during the British leg of the 1973 tour and was not revived until 1996.

The Punk And The Godfather (5'10) Pete Townshend: "The hero goes to a rock concert. He queues up, pays his money and he decides he is going to see the stars backstage as they come out the stage door. And one of them comes up and says 'fuck off!' And he suddenly realizes that there's nothing really happening in rock & roll. It's just another cross on his list." This song quotes from The Who's "My Generation." On the U.S. album this was called "The Punk Meets The Godfather."

I'm One (2'39) Pete Townshend: "When I was a nipper I felt that the guitar was all I had. I wasn't tough enough to be in a gang, I wasn't good looking enough to be in with the birds, not clever enough to make it at school, not good enough on my feet to be good football player, I was a fucking loser. I think everyone feels that way at some point. And somehow being a Mod - even though I was too old to be a Mod really - I wrote this song with that in mind. Jimmy, the hero of the story, is kinda thinking he hasn't got much going for him but at least he's one."

The Dirty Jobs (4'30) Piano by Chris Stainton. Stainton, replacing the usual Who-keyboardists Nicky Hopkins or Al Kooper, was an ex-member of Joe Cocker's Grease Band. Pete Townshend: "Suitably disenchanted with his former religion Rock & Roll, he gets a job as a dustman. Unfortunately, his extremely left-wing views are not appreciated by his work mates and he passes on to greater things. No sound effects were available to get the stink across so we used a brass band. Incongruous enough?" Roger Daltrey: "He gets a job as a dustman like most kids have to do when they leave school at fifteen. There's nothing much else. He gets pissed off with that. Of course, when you do something that stinks there's always a lot of other stinky things around. And he gets mixed up with the stinkiest thing of all, politics!" Dropped from the live act after one performance on October 28, 1973 and not revived until 1996.

Helpless Dancer (Roger's Theme)(2'32) Pete Townshend: "We get a real look at where the aggression comes from. Jimmy has a conscience that bites fairly deeply. His frustration with the world only makes him more angry, even bitter." The version of this song on the 1973 tour featured live horn work by John. It was dropped for the last three shows of the 1973 North American tour and not revived until 1996.

Is It In My Head? (3'46) Pete Townshend: "The track that shows Jimmy, although an ordinary kid, has not only a conscience, but also self doubt. He worries about his own part, and feels maybe his outlook is clouded by pessimism." Produced by The Who and associate producer Glyn Johns. Recorded at Olympic Studios, London May 1972. Dropped from the live act after one performance on October 28, 1973 and not revived until 1996.

I've Had Enough (6'14) Pete Townshend: "A lot happens around this bit, much of it in the album cover story. Briefly, Jimmy 'snaps' when he sees a girl he particularly likes with a friend of his. In a desperately self-pitiful state, he smashes up his prize scooter and decides to go to Brighton where he had such a good time with his friends chasing Rockers and eating fish and chips." Dropped from the live act after one performance on October 28, 1973 and not revived until 1996.

5:15 (5'00) Piano by Chris Stainton. Recorded June 27, 1973. Pete Townshend: "His train journey down to Brighton, sandwiched between two city gents is notable for the rather absurd number of purple hearts he consumes in order to wile away the time. He goes through a not entirely pleasant series of ups and downs as he thinks about the gaudier side of life as a teenager that we see in newspapers like the News Of The World. '5:15' was written in Oxford Street and Carnaby Street while I was killing time between appointments. I must try it again sometime, it seems to work!" Unlike most everything else on the album, Pete did not make a demo of this. The music was written in the studio on the day of recording. On September 28, 1973 it was released as a single in the U.K. prior to the album's release. It went to #20. It was also released as a single throughout the world with the exception of the U.S. The Quadrophenia Soundtrack remix was issued as a single everywhere in September 1979. It did not chart in Britain but reached #45 in the U.S. Billboard charts and #53 in Cash Box. The b-side was the remixed version of "I'm One." Live versions can be found on Join Together, the 30 Years Of Maximum R&B video and The Blues To The Bush.

Sea And Sand (5'01) Pete Townshend: "Arriving at Brighton, Jimmy brightens up a bit...get the pun? He talks about rows at home and is a little sarcastic as he recalls the evening on the beach with his former girlfriend. This is 1965 and the Mod scene is already falling apart - and what does he do but go to Brighton just to remember. The crazy days when 300,000 Mod kids from London descended on that little beach town were only three weeks ago, but he's already living in the past." The ending quotes from The High Numbers' single "I'm The Face."

Drowned (5'28) Piano by Chris Stainton Pete Townshend: "This song, included in Quadrophenia, should actually stand alone. I think in a sense it does. When the tragic hero of Q sings it, it is desperate and nihilistic. In fact, it's a love song, God's love being the ocean and our 'selves' being the drops of water that make it up. Meher Baba said, 'I am the Ocean of Love.' I want to drown in that ocean, the 'drop' will then be an ocean itself. Anyway a tale - when recording this song it rained so hard in Battersea where our studio is that the walls were flowing with sheets of water. Chris Stainton played piano in a booth and when the take was finished he opened the door and about 500 gallons gushed out! Another glorious coincidence. The take on the album is the one." The most often performed song from Quadrophenia during The Who's live shows probably because it gave the band room to improvise. In the 1996-97 edition it was performed solo by Pete on acoustic guitar. Live versions can be found on the Who Rocks America video and the 30 Years Of Maximum R&B video.

Bell Boy (Keith's Theme)(4'56) Recorded June 1, 1973. Pete Townshend: "He meets an old Ace Face who's now a bellhop at the very hotel the Mods tore up. And he looks on Jimmy with a mixture of pity and contempt, really, and tells him, in effect, 'Look, my job is shit and my life is a tragedy. But you - look at you, you're dead!'" A live version with Keith can be found on the 30 Years Of Maximum R&B video.

Dr. Jimmy (including "Is It Me?" - John's Theme) (8'42) Pete Townshend: "'Dr. Jimmy' was meant to be a song which somehow gets across the explosive, abandoned wildness side of his character. Like a bull run amok in a china shop. He's damaging himself so badly that he can get to the point where he's so desperate that he'll take a closer look at himself. The part where he says, 'What is it, I'll take it. Who is she, I'll rape it.' That's really the way I see Keith Moon in his most bravado sort of states of mind." A live version can be found on Who's Last.

The Rock (6'37) Pete Townshend: "It's getting in a boat, going out to sea and sitting on a rock waiting for the waves to knock him off that makes him review himself. He ends up with the sum total of frustrated toughness, romanticism, religion, daredevil - desperation, but a starting point for anybody." This was only played live during the British leg of the 1973 tour and was not revived until 1996.

Love Reign O'er Me (Pete's Theme) (5'48) Produced by The Who and associate producer Glyn Johns. Recorded May 1972 at Olympic Studios, London with additional tracks recorded at The Kitchen June 8, 1973. Pete Townshend: "'Love Reign O'er Me' is similar to 'Drowned' in meaning. This refers to Meher Baba's one time comment that rain was a blessing from God; that thunder was God's Voice. It's another plea to drown, only this time in the rain. Jimmy goes through a suicide crisis. He surrenders to the inevitable, and you know, you know, when it's over and he goes back to town he'll be going through the same shit, being in the same terrible family situation and so on, but he's moved up a level. He's weak still, but there's a strength in that weakness. He's in danger of maturing." It was released as a single in the U.S. October 27, 1973 where it peaked at #76 in the Billboard charts and #54 in Cash Box. It was edited down to 3'11 with a different ending. The b-side was "Water." It was also released as a single in Belgium and the Netherlands where the b-side was "Is It In My Head." Live versions can be found on Who's Last, the Who Rocks America video, Join Together, The Who/Live featuring the rock opera Tommy video and the 30 Years Of Maximum R&B video.

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