.

The Who Finish Rock Opera

The project, titled 'Deaf, Dumb and Blind Boy,' has been delayed, but will now be extended to two LPs

Pete Townshend, amongst recording equipment in his home studio.
Chris Morphet/Redferns
February 15, 1969

LONDON — The Who's forthcoming rock and roll opera, Deaf, Dumb and Blind Boy, has been delayed due to unexpected difficulties with the project. However, what was planned to be one album will now turn out as a two-LP set.

"We've got it about three-tenths finished, maybe a half finished," Pete Townshend said. "We couldn't squeeze all of it into one album, so we decided to do two. Despite that, it is strong and complete, and we've sorted out all the weak points in the plot."

The Who Does a Full-Length Rock Opera

According to Townshend, the double album will be accompanied by an 11-page booklet by artist Mike McKinney inside the set. Townshend describes it as "surrealistic fine art, done in a very delicate style which lends itself to the story. It doesn't tell the story, but indirectly comments on it."

Although the sessions for the LP are expected "to be completed sometime in the middle of February, the release date for the set is tentatively put at sometime in May. A track titled "Pinball Wizard" will probably be pulled from the album and released as a single.

"It's at the point now," Pete continued, "where it is completely insane. The idea has gotten less and less heavy, but we are doing the best stuff we've ever done. A lot of our dreams have been realized."

This story is from the February 15th, 1969 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

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A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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