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The Who Does a Full-Length Rock Opera

Roger Daltrey says recording could begin right after the Who wrap up their summer U.S. tour

Pete Townshend, Keith Moon, Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle.
The Visualeyes Archive/Redferns
August 10, 1968

The Who are planning to perform and record a rock and roll opera by Peter Townshend, possibly running as long as two hours, vocalist Roger Daltrey announced in London in early June. He expected the Who would begin recording the opera, already nearly written, sometime after their summer U.S. tour, for release after their next album in the conventional song format.

Who Take New Album on Faith

"Actually, Pete has been writing these operas for some time," said Daltrey, "and a lot of our hits come from them. 'I'm a Boy' was from an opera he wrote about living in the year 2000 when there is a machine that helps you select the sex of your baby. That song was about a woman who couldn't believe that the machine had made a mistake and she'd gotten a boy instead of a girl." "Happy Jack" was from another Townshend opera.

The Who's summer American tour (as a dance band, not an opera troupe) will include the following appearances: J.F.K. Stadium, Philadelphia July 24; Nashville Municipal Auditorium, July 28; Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, August 3; Electric Factory, Philadelphia, August 5-6; Central Park, NY, August 7; Illinois State Fair, Springfield, August 9; and Chicago, August 10.

This story is from the August 10th, 1968 issue of Rolling Stone.

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

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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