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Readers’ Poll: The 10 Greatest Who Albums

Your picks include ‘Live at Leeds,’ ‘Tommy’ and ‘Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy’

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The Who are planning on launching their "last big tour" sometime in 2015, but right now, their main project is a super-deluxe edition of their 1969 landmark rock opera Tommy. It contains a remastered version of the album along with Pete Townshend's original demos and live versions of the songs from 1969. Tommy is arguably their most famous album, but every single record by the original lineup of the Who is cherished by fans. We asked our readers to select their favorite Who albums. Click through to see the results. 


Courtesy MCA Records

2. ‘Quadrophenia’

Pete Townshend was still in his twenties when he began plotting out the Who's follow-up to Who's Next, but he already felt like a relic of another era. The Who had been around for a decade, which for a rock band felt like an eternity. His mind turned back towards the band's early days playing wild sets to hordes of mods hopped up on pills. He decided to write another rock opera, this time about a young Who fan named Jimmy battling with girls, his parents, his friends and even his own mind.

Touching on real-life incidents – like the Brighton Beach brawl between mods and rockers – the double album Quadrophenia was a worthy follow-up to Tommy, though this time, kids all around the world related to Jimmy and his intense feelings of isolation. It proved too difficult to play onstage in 1973, but they revived it in 1996 and 2012 to much acclaim. 

Courtesy Polydor Records

1. ‘Who’s Next’

Most people listen to Who's Next and hear a near-perfect rock album. Songs like "Behind Blue Eyes," "Won't Get Fooled Again" and "Baba O'Riley" are some of the most enduring songs in the Who's entire catalog and have been played millions of times on classic rock radio. The songs have also been at the center of nearly every Who concert over the past 40 years. It was a huge best-seller, bringing the band into the 1970s and guaranteeing they'd never face an empty arena as long as they could continue touring.

But to Pete Townshend, the album is a reminder of his failure. The songs were originally intended for a crazily ambitious rock opera called Lifehouse. The plot is so complicated that only Townshend truly understands it, and he was unable to realize it on record. Who's Next is a bunch of songs intended for Lifehouse mixed in with a few other tracks, like John Entwistle's hysterical "My Wife." Pete Townshend released Lifehouse under his own name in 2000 as The Lifehouse Chronicles. It wasn't nearly as good as Who's Next. Not even close. 

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