The Who - My Generation - Review
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critics' view

Looking up at you from the cover of their December ’65 debut release they were: Roger Daltrey (21, flame haired, lead vocals, harmonica); John Entwistle (21, union jack wearer, bass guitar, backing vocals); Keith Moon (19, white-suit wearer, drums, percussion) and Pete Townshend (20, school scarf wearer, guitar, backing vocals). Despite being dismissed as a bit of a “rush job” by the band, I love it. Much like the Kinks debut, it was raw, energetic and pointed the way with a tough new beat. Tellingly, the weakest tracks on the LP were the first two recorded back in May; the James Brown covers “I Don’t Mind” and “Please Please Please”. Although okay, they are cheap derivatives. The vast majority of the album was recorded in the preceding 2 month period and was much more representative of where their strengths lay. They were developing a brand of punky-mod-rock, driven by the lively rhythm section of Keith and John. The beats, riffs and attitude vocals were where it was at for the cooler boys and girls in late ‘65.

The combination of attitude and melody is always a winner with me and “The Good’s Gone”, the current b-side, is the first to deliver on both fronts – a cool confidence is evident. “La-La-La-Lies”, the current a-side, follows on and I can’t help but think The Jam were here. The pop-punk action continues straight away with “Much Too Much” – these stylish emphasis riffs were the bedrock for many a great band for many years to come. Session man Nicky Hopkins hammers down some Jerry Lee piano (as he does elsewhere on the album) and it adds to, what was at the time, the strange new sound of the age. It’s way ahead of its time and fully worthy of the all-time classic tag. Speaking of which, “My Generation” proceeds to blow the roof off. “Why don't you all ffff… fade away!” Fade away, yeah right. Fucking wild man! “The Kids Are Alright” opens up side 2 where side 1 left off – with killer riffage and glorious harmonies that the Byrds would be proud of. “It’s Not True” is another excellent highlight on side 2 – it’s almost like a final hurrah for the Chuck Berry rock n roll beat, with another super-cool punky-vocal from Roger. These guys knew where they were coming from – and they also knew where they were going to. This was a new ssss… senation.

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