Amazing Journey: The Story of the Who

The Murray Lerner-directed documentary is heavy on Daltrey, light on music

November 1, 2007

Amazing Journey: The Story of the Who
Movie: ♦♦♦ 1/2

Extras: ♦♦♦

Pete Townshend is the composing brains and compulsively analytical mouth of the Who. Yet in this flawed but gripping history of one of rock's most stubbornly enduring bands, singer Roger Daltrey emerges as its thoughtful heart, reflecting on lunacy and loss with the vivid, emotional force he brings to Townshend's songs. At one point, Daltrey describes how he got so frustrated by his bandmates' devouring of amphetamines that after one disastrous mid-Sixties gig he threw away their pills and was fired (briefly) for his trouble. The hurt in his voice, on his face, is still there.

Director Murray Lerner traces the Who's arc of triumph, death and rebirth with his own relentless energy, lacing new interviews through a brisk parade of vintage stills (many of a young, shockingly haunted Townshend) and rare clips of the Who in action: at the Railway Hotel as the High Numbers in 1964; on French TV in 1966; in British DJ John Peel's office, as Townshend explains the pirate-radio theme of The Who Sell Out. The sins and genius of the late Keith Moon and John Entwistle are treated at length. But Amazing Journey shortchanges the most amazing part of the tale: the music. Live songs are seen in teasing fragments, layered with voice-overs. (The Railway footage, lost for decades, thankfully appears in its surviving entirety on Six Quick Ones, a second disc of bio sketches and reminiscences.) You need the performance anthologies The Kids Are Alright and Thirty Years of Maximum R&B to truly see why this is a story worth telling. But Amazing Journey is still a wild ride, especially with Daltrey riding shotgun.

This story is from the November 1st, 2007 issue of Rolling Stone.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Road to Nowhere”

Talking Heads | 1985

A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

More Song Stories entries »