3. 'Tommy '
In the fall of 1968, Pete Townshend sat down with Rolling Stone co-founder Jann Wenner to share his idea for an ambitious rock opera. "The package I hope is going to be called 'Deaf, Dumb and Blind Boy,'" he said. "He's seeing things basically as vibrations which we translate as music. That's really what we want to do: create this feeling that when you listen to the music, you can actually become aware of the boy, and aware of what he is all about, because we are creating him as we play." Pete hadn't even started to record yet, but he already knew exactly what he wanted to accomplish.
The tragic story of Tommy – who is abused by his cousin Kevin, his Uncle Ernie and even raped by a woman hired by his parents – mirrors some of the trauma in Townshend's own childhood. The finished product was an absolute triumph, earning the band a global hit with "Pinball Wizard" and proving that rock & roll could stretch beyond short singles. It seemed like the most ambitious rock album possible, but Townshend was just getting started.