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The Who: Live at the Isle of Wight

Townshend and Co. rock bodies, blow minds

September 2, 2004

Back when fans showed their approval by flashing peace signs instead of devil horns, The Who reflected the violence and anarchy of the times. At the fractious 1970 Isle of Wight Festival, the band stunned the audience with assorted hits, covers and obscurities, and then unleashed Tommy in a blast of grandiose tumult. A 2004 Pete Townshend interview provides insight on the menacing cultural and physical contexts of the show, adding even more edge.

This story is from the September 2nd, 2004 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

“San Francisco Mabel Joy”

Mickey Newbury | 1969

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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