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The Who Doctor "Tommy"

Reissue features Townshend's original demos

October 17, 2003 12:00 AM ET

The Who will release a deluxe two-CD version of their classic 1969 rock opera Tommy, consisting of the original album and an additional disc of outtakes and rarities on October 28th. Who Guitarist Pete Townshend digitally remixed the album from the original master tapes, and the album was re-mastered in 5.1 Surround Sound by producer Jon Astley (Eric Clapton, Roger Daltrey), who has teamed with Townshend in re-mastering much of the Who's back catalog.

"In this case, 5.1 gives a different perspective," says Astley, "because Pete wanted these mixes to feature Keith and John, who were a little buried on the original. The extra space with 5.1 allowed him this without compromising the mix. You can still hear everything clearly but the bass and drums are more of a feature."

Rarities include previously unavailable outtakes such as "I Was," and "Ms. Simpson," as well as alternate versions of tracks like "We're Not Gonna Take It."

"'We're Not Gonna Take it' is very interesting as it is an early version before the "listening to you' refrain was added," says Astley. "Pete sings the 'See me, feel me' as he was going to be Tommy originally, but the track ends abruptly with a quick repeat of the intro."

Also included are unreleased demos of "It's a Boy," and "Do You Think It's Alright" with acoustic guitar, that give a window into Townshend's initial vision for the album.

"Like all of Pete's demos, the songs are very close to completion before the Who were allowed to contribute," Astley says. "Pete always wanted this record to be acoustically led, but he was overridden by Kit [Lambert], the producer. The demos will give you an insight to this."

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