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  ...presents...               Retrospective Rock
                       Ramones, The Runaways, and The Who

                                                   typed by The Pusher

                      >>> a cDc publication.......1989 <<<
                        -cDc- CULT OF THE DEAD COW -cDc-

From the liner notes of "RamonesMania" by Billy Altman

     August 1974, Washington, D.C.  An entire country watches as Richard
Milhous Nixon, 37th President of the United States, steps aboard a waiting
helicopter and vacates the White House.  News of the Nixon resignation fills
newspaper pages and television and radio broadcasts the world over.  From this
moment forward, politics will never again be the same.

     August 1974, New York City.  Scattered Bowery residents pay little notice
as four young men from Forest Hills, Queens, enter a small club called CBGB in
Manhattan's Lower East Side.  The owner, Hilly Kristal, isn't sure if this
strange-looking group - identically dressed in leather jackets, T-shirts,
ripped jeans, and sneakers, and calling themselves the Ramones - are the ones
who are supposed to be auditioning for a gig or just a bunch of hoodlums who've
come to fence stolen musical equipment.  They take to the stage and play a set,
but even after they're through, Kristal still isn't sure if they're a real band
or just a bunch of hoodlums.  All of their songs are very loud, very short, and
very fast.  In fact, the only thing separating them are the bass player's
shouts of "1-2-3-4" during the milliseconds in which they stop.  He decides to
book them anyway; business is bad.  Their first public performance draws no
attention from newspapers, radio, or television, and, in point of fact, is
witnessed by a grand total of five warm bodies - six if you count the
bartender's dog.  No matter.  From this moment forward, rock & roll will never
again be the same.

     As the great philosopher Marx (that's either Karl or Groucho) once said,
"Revolutions begin with ideas," and the revolution known as punk, ignited by
the band known as the Ramones, began when four members of the New York division
of the worldwide force known as disenfranchised youth realized that they shared
some very basic ideas concerning music and culture.  As Joey Ramone once
explained it, "We decided to start our own group because we were bored with
everything we heard.  In 1974, there was nothing to listen to anymore. 
Everything was tenth-generation Led Zeppelin, tenth-generation Elton John, or
overproduced, or just junk.  Everything was long jams, long guitar solos.  We
missed music like it used to be before it got 'progressive.'  We missed hearing
songs that were short, exciting, and GOOD!  We wanted to bring the energy back
to rock & roll."  And though, in their formative stages, they might not have
displayed an abundance of what some might call "chops," the Ramones quickly
discovered that, as a unit, they possessed a warehouseful of other qualities
which, perhaps even more than music, have helped define rock 'n' roll
throughout its history.  Qualites like energy.  And attitude.  And passion.

     At their first rehearsals, the band tried to play songs by the artists
they liked most- Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, The Beatles, the Beach Boys, the
Kinks, the Stooges, MC5, Alice Cooper, Slade- but recalled Johnny, "we just
couldn't figure them out, so we decided to try and write our own, and we had to
make them basic enough so we could play them."  That they did and, in the
process, rock & roll was re-invented.  Having found the old textbooks unusable,
the Ramones simply created their own.  They wrote about alienation ("Now I
Wanna Sniff Some Glue") and isolation ("I Don't Wanna Walk Around With You)"
about the power (Blitzkrieg Bop") and the fury ("Today Your Love, Tomorrow the
World") of untamed youth, and about life on the mean streets ("53rd & 3rd"),
and in the last house on the left ("I Don't Wanna Go Down to the Basement").
Their songs were often funny, often hysterically so, who could keep a straight
face envisioning all 6'3" of Joey Ramone stepping up to the plate to "Beat on
the Brat" with a baseball bat?  Yet their humor was adroitly counterbalanced by
a ferociously serious musical attack, made up of Johnny's buzzsawing, no
time-for-solos guitar (Pusher Note: More like no talent-for solos guitar), Dee
Dee's pinpoint (and hell-bent) bass, and Tommy's "all meat, no filler" four
on-the-floor drumming.

     The Ramones weren't the only alternative band on the New York scene during
those fateful days of '74 and '75.  There were those who'd come before, like
the glittery New York Dolls from St. Mark's Place, the boys-will-be-boys
Dictators from the Bronx, and the priestess from New Jersey, Patti Smith.  And
there were those who emerged alongside them.  The Neon Boys, Tom Verlaine and
Richard Hell who split up to form (respectively) Television and the Voidoids,
the art school refugees Talking Heads, and the pop-aspiring Blondie.  And they
all met at such unlikely shrines as the aforementioned CBGB and the old Warhol
hangout, Max's Kansas City.  No one ever got up and officially proclaimed this
motley crew of musical misfits as a movement.  But as they began to draw
increasingly larger audiences- audiences made up of people who, like them-
selves, were bored with the music on their radios, and in their record stores-
and as the critics began chronicling their exploits and singing their praises
in print, a movement was indeed nurtured.  Eventually it was given a name,
Punk.  And no band symbolized it better than the Ramones.

     The group never campaigned to be the spokespersons of punk, but as their
following swelled, and record companies began to sniff around, the band's image
and style became issues of controversy.  While the Ramones fancifully thought
of themselves as a nouveau bubblegum band with guts, most music industry
executives saw their twelve song 20-minute bursts of newspeak as a violent
threat to the status quo, and many nervous jokes were made at their expense ("I
would've walked out on them," one company president said, "but they were
finished before I could get up.")  By the end of 1975, though, the Ramones had
a recording contract with Seymour Stein's Sire Records, and it was their
signing that paved the way for the rest of New York's- and ultimately
the nations- punk and new wave bands.  Their debut album, recorded for the
incredibly low sum of $6000 and featuring 14 songs crammed into less than 30
minutes, exhilarated many, shocked more than a few and, in general, caused
quite a stir upon its release in early 1976.  While critics raved, radio
programmers scratched their heads.  What would their ad-conscious station
managers say if they played a song whose only lyrics were, "You're a loudmouth
baby/ You better shut it up/ I'm gonna beat you up/ Cause you're a loudmouth
baby"?  The right people, though, got the joke- and the point- of the Ramones'
music.  As summer arrived, the clarion call of "Hey ho, let's go!" was being
sounded not only all across the U.S. but overseas as well.  It somehow seemed
fitting that on the Fourth of July of 1976- the exact day of the American
Bicentennial- the Ramones stood on a stage in London, England, and proclaimed
rock & roll's new declaration of independence to an audience composed of the
future members of the Sex Pistols, the Clash, the Damned, Generation X, and,
indeed most of what would soon be the core population of the British punk

     Early in 1977, the group released their second album, Ramones Leave Home,
another fun-filled excursion into the realms of unconsciousness ("Carbona Not
Glue"), self-mutilation ("Suzy Is A Headbanger"), electroshock therapy ("Gimme
Gimme Shock Treatment"), and freelance military activity ("Commando").  And, of
course, "Pinhead."  Partially inspired by the scene in Todd Browing's classic
'30s horror film, Freaks, in which the title circus sideshow characters welcome
a "normal" into their ranks, the cry of "Gabba gabba/ We accept you/ We accept
you/ One of us" became the official slogan of the House of Ramones, the
supreme howl of liberation for rock's underclass of punks and new wavers.  Hot
on its heels that spring came "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker," an infectious,
anthemic tribute to the band's fans and their beloved hometown, and as the
single made its way onto the Top 100 charts, its success served warning that
the Ramones were well on their way to becoming a commercial, as well as
artistic, force to be reckoned with.

     Rocket to Russia, released near the end of 1977, more than made good on
that warning, for it established the stance, the philosophy, and the viability
of the Ramones as never before.  The bone-crunching muscularity of their live
sound was finally captured accurately in the studio by producers Tony Bongiovi
and Tommy (T.Erdely) Ramone, and engineer Ed Stasium.  Songs like "Cretin Hop"
and "Teenage Lobotomy" (Now I guess I'll have to tell 'em/ That I got no
cerebellum) showed that the Ramones' wit was waxing ever sharper, while "Here
Today, Gone Tomorrow" and "We're A Happy Family" (We ain't got no friends/ Our
troubles never end/ No Christmas cards to send/ Daddy likes men") displayed
a bite as sharp as the bark.  And with the glorious, Beach Boys-styled chart
single "Rockaway Beach", the Ramones proved conclusively that "Sheena" was
indeed no fluke, that they could merrily rock out with anyone, anytime.

     1978 found the band crisscrossing the U.S. on their first full-scale
national tour as a headlining act, but at a price- a physically and emotionally
drained Tommy announced at tour's end that he was leaving the band to
concentrate on producing.  His place was taken by Voidoid Marc Bell (known
from that day forth as Marky Ramone).  Road to Ruin, the group's first record
with their new drummer, found the Ramones expanding their horizons while
consolidating their by now prodigious strengths.  Tracks such as "Go Mental"
and "I Just Wanna to Have Something To Do" struck with the savage efficiency
expected of the world's hardest-rocking punk band, while the rollicking "I
Wanna Be Sedated" and a strikingly poignant cover of the Searcher's British
Invasion classic, "Needles and Pins," (showcased here in its specially remixed
1979 single release form), once again underscored the fact that the Ramones
could be as commercial as ABBA so long as the game was played on their own
turf.  Between these tunes and such heretofore uncharacteristic songs as the
country-flavored "You Don't Come Close" (complete with- ahem- guitar solo) and
the haunting ballad, "Questioningly," it was clear that the Ramones, secure
with past accomplishments as leaders of a worldwide revolution, were now ready
for an internal evolution.
     Tabbed by film director Allan Arkush to guest star in a Roger Corman
-produced movie about life in America's secondary school system (Corman had no
previous knowledge of the band, but gave them the nod when Arkush showed him
the Cormanesque "Mutant Monster Beach Party" action comic issue of PUNK
magazine which featured Joey as the behemoth-battling, surfin' safari-ing
hero), the Ramones finished 1978 in Hollywood making their celluloid debut
in- and supplying the theme song for- Rock 'n' Roll High School, in which they
led the dedicated students of Vince Lombardi High in that time-honored
tradition of blowing up the school at the end of the term.  While in
California, the band was approached by legendary record producer Phil Spector,
who expressed his desire to work with them.  The following spring, the band
returned to Los Angeles to record under Spector's supervision at the famed Gold
Star Studios, site of all those Crystals, Ronettes, and Righteous Brothers
classics.  True to his word, Spector succeeded in giving the Ramones his
patented "wall of sound" treatment, as evidenced by "Do You Remember Rock 'n'
Roll Radio," a cascading, swirling salute to rock & roll's inspirational past,
"Danny Says" (featuring the world's loudest acoustic guitar), and "Chinese
Rock," a dark tale of hard times on Manhattan's Lower East Side.

     Over the course of the next few years, the Ramones continued to experi-
ment, broadening the range of both their material and overall sound.  With
former 10CCer and British Invasion hit songwriter Graham "Bus Stop" Gouldman at
the controls, 1981's Pleasant Dreams brought out the more pop-orientated facets
of the band's musical personality without any loss of identity.  After all,
only the Ramones could have you blissfully humming along the chorus of "The
KKK Took My Baby Away" or giddily grabbing the nearest blunt object with which
to smash your radio to smithereens ("We Want the Airwaves").  Likewise, 1983's
Subterranean Jungle, produced by Ritchie Cordell- uberlord of all those
wonderful Tommy James and the Shondells records, and composer of the eternal
teen mating call "I Think We're Alone Now"- saw the band adding a glistening
shine to their music, reflected brightly on such jet-propelled fireballs as
"Psycho Therapy" and "Outsider".  And those bubblegum roots which were always
implicit in the band's work finally emerged with the recording of "Little Bit
o'Soul" and the Cordell co-authored "Indian Giver" (originally released solely
as a B-side in the U.K. and presented here in album form for the very first
     The summer of 1983 marked yet another turning point in the Ramones'
career.  After more than 5 years of virtually incessant worldwide touring, the
band was forced off the road for a spell due to a variety of reasons (Joey and
Johnny were both hospitalized for illnesses, and Marky left the band to attend
to personal matters).  When they emerged, with new drummer Richie (Beau) Ramone
on board, it was with a renewed and recharged sense of purpose.  Incorporating
the fiercest aspects of both the punk rock they'd originated and the
hardcore/speed metal genres they'd laid the groundwork for, 1984's Too Tough To
Die (produced by old hands Tommy (Ramone) Erdelyi and Ed Stasium) answered any
possible doubts about the band's rightful place as keepers of rock & roll's
white-hot flame.  From the rockabillying "Mama's Boy" to the breakneck-paced
"Warthog" (the latter featuring a rare vocal by Dee Dee), and from the
shoulda-been-a-hot-catchiness of "Howling at the Moon" (produced by Eurythmics'
Dave Stewart) to the disarmingly heartfelt "I'm Not Afraid of Life", Too Tough
to Die was a towering reaffirmation of the Ramones' rock & roll principles.
Animal Boy (1986, produced by former Plasmatic, Jean Beauvoir), continued the
band's resurgence.  And among the album's many gems, like the headbanging title
track and the ominous "Somebody Put Something in My Drink", came graphic
evidence of the Ramones' growing maturity, in the form of the politically
active "Bonzo Goes to Bitburg", a song takes dead aim at a certain
actor-turned-President we all know.

     With 1987's Halfway to Sanity- represented here by the affirmative-
actioned "I Wanna Live" and the appropriately frantic "Bop Til' You Drop"- and
with the appearance of this collection, the Ramones commemorate two rather
significant milestones.  They have, at this point, contributed ten studio
albums's worth of might fine music to the world, and they are celebrating (with
Marky Ramone back in tow, we might add) their 15th year as a working rock &
roll band.  A decade and a half after their humble beginnings at the corner of
Bleecker and the Bowery, much of what fills the air on radio stations and the
racks of record stores, is STILL tenth-generation Led Zeppelin, tenth-
generation Elton John, or overproduced, or just junk.  So long as the Ramones
continue to soldier on, however, there will also still be a living, breathing
entity known as rock & roll.  And something to believe in.


The Runaways
From the liner notes of "The Best Of The Runaways" by Len Epand

     January 1976. Hardly rock 'n' roll's proudest moment.  America's pop Top
10 drifts aimlessly in the Me Decade, awash with MOR flotsam and disco jetsam.
What little rock 'n' roll succeeds in poking through probably attracts scant
attention in rock 'n' roll heaven: The Bay City Rollers and Sweet are more on
the level of confection or novelty, not unlike, say, C.W. McCall, whose
"Convoy" is serious business.  In short, the charts offer little that's potent,
important, tough 'n' honest.  Interviewing Joan Jett, the emerging head of the
Runaways, for a magazine's update on the group as they finish recording their
second album in L.A., I note the state of pop radio and ask how she likes the
gestating New York CBGB scene and acts like Patti Smith, Blondie, Television,
the Ramones, et al.  For there is a sort of connection - they're all sparks in
a rock 'n' roll renaissance, new voices making some noise.

     "It's about time some fun kind of music came back," Joan asserts.  "We
want to get some other kind of music in there 'cause every time I turn on KHJ
[then L.A.'S reigning Top 40] I can't listen to it for more than 10 minutes.
'Cause it's the same kind of music over and over, disco, pop, and... if they'd
just throw something in there once in a while!  I think a lot of people want to
hear it."

     April 1982.  A lot of people do want to hear it, and they keep Joan Jett's
first single from her second solo album on Boardwalk Records, "I Love Rock 'n'
Roll," number one for seven weeks.  Unfortunately, KHJ, on which Joan very
much wanted to be heard, has long retired into a country format.  But Joan is
heard on Top 40 stations as well as FM album rock radio, and her song stands as
an anthem.  It's all more triumphant-sounding when you know what went before
it.  From the critical lambasting the Runaways suffered (ROLLING STONE still
refers to them as "Kim Fowley's quintet of teen teasers"), the group's failure
to succeed in the U.S. (in Japan they were superstars), and the fact that the
other Runaways twice refused Joan's plea to record the song, to the lengthy
string of rejections Joan Jett's first solo album elicited from major labels.
"I Love Rock 'n' Roll" exemplifies the winning style Joan has forged with
produced/manager Kenny Laguna.  It's a heavy metal approach to pop that might
lapse into bubblegum were it not for Joan's sensibility, which is very much

     The origins of Joan's style are here to be relived in The Best Of The
Runaways.  With a directness previously unheard from women in rock, the
Runaways belted out statements of teen rebellion.  Lady James Deans, if you
will.  Teenagers themselves, they championed for their g-g-generation the
glories of rock 'n' roll, late night partying, and sex, but the archetypal
emphasis was on living to the max, true to your passions.  And of course in a
middle class world this meant being "bad."  And fairly often - as in most of
the tracks selected for this set - they expressed this most devastatingly in
writing and performance.  The Runaways played loud, hard, heavy, and... well.
The rhythm section of Sandy West (drums), Jackie Fox (bass) and later Vicki
Blue (bass), and Jett (rhythm guitar) cooked, and provided a great foundation
for Lita Ford's adept and aggressive lead guitar playing, which ambitiously
reached for Jeff Beck/Jimmy Page heights.

     The Runaways moxie shocked many (including some critics?).  But it also
changed some male-female stereotypes, and spoke for a whole lotta girls, some
of whom consequently turned to playing rock 'n' roll too.  Arguably, the
Runaways made possible Chrissie Hynde, Pat Benatar, the Go-Gos, Girlschool, and
countless others.

     If that end justifies the means, one cannot fault the Runaways for the way
they were formed, produced and "directed" - largely by Hollywood Argyle-
turned-rockmeister Kim Fowley.  Fowley, it seems to me, was more catalyst than
Svengali.  Most of the Runaways were very talented, and when they came to
Fowley they were rockers looking to happen, not seals looking to be trained.

     The beginning predates Fowley, actually.  It goes back to 1974 when
14-year old Joan Jett trailed Suzi Quatro around Hollywood's Continental "Riot"
House. Quatro, though Detroit bred, was one of the several glitter-pop stars
(Gary Glitter was another) who became the rage in England in the early 70's but
could barely get arrested in the U.S., except to fans like Joan.  As she
explained her Quatro fixation to me, "I didn't like [early 70's all-women
groups] Fanny or Isis.  They didn't really do it - play rock 'n' roll."  In
1975, Joan and friend Kari Krome approached Fowley to help them form a band.
Fowley, the story goes, told them if they could find one more he'd do it.  Soon
after Joan and Kari met Sandy West in the Rainbow Bar parking lot... and Kim
went to work.  First he determined that Krome was okay as a lyricist but not as
a singer, and proceeded to bring in Mickey Steel (quickly replaced by Jackie),
Lita, and a vocalist Cherie Currie, whom he found at a San Fernando Valley teen
club called the Sugar Shack.

     After rehearsing them, Fowley signed them to Mercury, and produced THE
RUNAWAYS.  Like most first albums it was raw like the ch-ch-cherry bomb of the
opening track, "Cherry Bomb" (which by the way was the sort of number that
tagged them as Jailbait Rock.  Consider such lines as "Hey street boy...I'll
give you some/to live for/Have ya, grab ya, 'til yo're sore").  Definitely not
the stuff of Queen/Yes/Genesis-styled opuses, the music prevailing on album
rock radio in the mid-70's.  QUEENS OF NOISE, the second LP, wasn't exactly
subdued, but its songs and production were far more refined, with Earle Mankey
(Sparks, the Beach Boys) brought in to co-produce.  By this LP, Joan's sphere
had grown more dominant.  Previously, she'd written or co-written much of the
Runaways' best material, now she sang most of it, too.  Yet, the Runaways
persisted as a group effort, and this is evidenced on their Live In Japan LP,
an LP never released in America but represented here by "You Drive Me Wild",
and "Queens of Noise."

     Back in the U.S. in 1977, the girls cut their third Fowley-produced studio
LP, WAITIN' FOR THE NIGHT.  It was pretty much Joan's record, considering that
both Cherie and Jackie earlier had left the band, and only Jackie had been
replaced (by Blue).  Once again, the Runaways propounded their essential
pop/metal/punk style, but American radio refused them again, now lumping them
with the Sex Pistols, Clash, Jam, and whatever as an excuse not to admit that
times had changed.

     Still, Joan, Lita, Sandy, and Vicki clung together, and in 1978 they
parted ways with Kim Fowley and, since their deal was tied to Fowley, Mercury.
In now was Suzi Quatro and Blondie's manager at the time, Toby Mamis.  It was
Mamis' inspired idea to offer the group to producer Kenny Laguna, but Laguna,
Joan's current mentor, turned them down!  Mamis then turned to ex-Thin Lizzy
producer John Alcock, and they cut AND NOW...THE RUNAWAYS!, as it was titled in
Europe (The LP wouldn't find release in North America until 1981, when Rhino
Records put it out as LITTLE LOST GIRLS).  It was during these sessions that
the difference set in that would tear them apart, with Lita and Sandy on one
side (heavy metal), and Joan on another (punk).  Vicki Blue, meanwhile, was
sidelined with a medical condition (not drugs), leaving Lita to record many of
the bass parts on the album.  For their remaining gigs, they replaced Blue with
Laurie McCallister.  But McCallister would leave shortly to form the Runaways-
like Orchids (who released one LP on MCA).  Yet the final bizarre twist in the
story came in the months before the Runaways' total dissolution in early 1979.
Joan ended up fulfilling an obligation to film the Runaways movie (!).  Called
"We're All Crazy Now", it would star Joan with actresses playing her fellow
bandmates.  The movie, thanks to Joan's current success but much to her
chagrin, may find release in late 1982.  In the meantime, it sits vaulted away.
The Runaways' records, thankfully do not.

     And where are the Runaways now?
Joan: Well accounted for here and in journals everywhere.
Lita: About to release her debut with the Lita Ford Band, a metal outfit also
featuring Neil Merryweather on bass.
Cherie: Acting in films. Did "Foxes" and recorded one poorly received LP with
sister Marie called MESSIN' WITH THE BOYS.  See Vicki.
Sandy: Rehearsing the hard rock Sandy West Group to begin playing the Hollywood
club scene.
Jackie: Last reported to be working for a motivational therapy organization,
after having toiled in record promotion.
Vicki: Recording with Cherie in the Currie Blue Band, after having recorded one
unreleased LP.

"I think the Runaways were just too honest."
            - Joan Jett, New Musical Express, April 1982.


The Who
From the liner notes of "Who's Better, Who's Best" by Richard Barnes

     The Who's 20-year career saw them progress from school mates jamming at
the Acton Congregational Church Hall to become The Greatest Rock Band In The
World.  During those two erratic and spectacular decades they produced a series
of records which include many of the greatest-ever classics in rock and pop

     Pete Townsend, Roger Daltrey, and John Entwistle attended Acton Grammar
School in West London.  Entwhistle could already read music but Townsend
admitted he'd been 'buggering about for guitar for years getting nowhere'. 
They joined Roger Daltrey's group - the Detours, which two years later they
renamed the Who.  Their next incarnation, from long-haired R&B group to
short-haired mods, brought another short-lived name change, to the High
Numbers, and a new drummer - Keith Moon.  After a 'mod single' flopped, they
reverted to the Who.

     By late 1964 through word-of-mouth and sheer hard work the Who had
attracted great interest plus a large, loyal following and were ready to make
another record.  A demo of their song, this time written by Townsend, was
played over the phone to record producer Shel Talmy.  He saw them play and
found them '...funky, loud, raw, but they had balls...I loved them the moment I
heard them.'

     I CAN'T EXPLAIN was released in early 1965.  The Who had been regularly
playing Tuesday (the duff night) at Soho's Marquee Jazz Club transforming it
into a packed-out 'Maximum R&B' success.  This led to a live TV appearance on
Ready Steady Go.  A pre-arranged "spontaneous outburst" at the end of their
song by Who fans in the studio audience caused a rumpus, drawing viewers'
attention to the group.  It worked and next week the record charted at no. 28,
eventually making no. 8.

     I CAN'T EXPLAIN is a great pop classic.  It's brilliantly held together by
a tight funky guitar riff.  Moon's drumming is like well-timed snatches of a
hammer-gun.  Daltrey's voice slurs against the high dreamy backing voices of
the Ivy League.  As first records go, it was miles better than either the
Beatles or the Stones.

     Much of the Who's breakthrough was due to their very devoted Mod cult
following plus the heavy airplay they got from pirate stations, Radio Caroline
and Radio London.  By 1965, Melody Maker described their attitude and music as,
"defiant!... their sound is vicious."

     The Who were THE loudest group and ended their sets by systematically
destroying their equipment.  Townsend would violently shove his guitar through
the speakers, or hammer his Rickenbacker on the floor to get electronic
feedback.  He'd use the mike stand on it as if playing violin to get more
strange effects.

     Moon would 'take it out' on his drum kit in sympathy, then set about
anything left.  Daltrey would scrape the mike over the cymbals creating a
wrenching sound, while Entwhistle, ignoring the mayhem, would keep still,
calmly playing on, protecting his bass, and acting as anchor to the others.
Surrounded by smoke and a debris of fused smoldering amps, buzzing speakers,
smashed guitars, and battered drums, they'd walk off.

     They were a highly 'visual' group - Moon continually twirling and hurling
drumsticks as he played.  Townsend spinning his arm like a windmill smashing at
the strings, and Daltrey swinging his mike around like a lasso.  The NME's
Roy Carr said, "It was like seeing a piece of pure energy, pure raw energy."

     An attempt was made to capture their live sound on their next record. 
When ANYHOW, ANYWAY, ANYWHERE was released in May 1965, Decca at first returned
the tapes assuming the feedback was a technical fault.  It reached no. 10 and
was described as a 'Pop Art' single now that the group had moved on to wearing
clothes plastered with Pop images such as targets, chevrons, and flags inspired
by 60's Pop artists.

     The next single was a monster and shot the Who straight into the
limelight, propelling the articulate, intelligent and verbose Townsend even
further as semi-official spokesman for pop music and the young.  MY GENERATION,
the legendary Who anthem released in November 1965, had the most fantastic
heavy pounding bass riff.  It's about a stuttering piled-up mod telling the
older generation to F-F-F-Fade Away (or words to that effect), and has the
provocative line "Hope I die before I get old."  It went straight into the
British charts at no. 16 and despite being initially banned by the BBC reached
no. 2.  It's still a f-f-fading great record today.  They released their first
album, also called MY GENERATION a month later.

     SUBSTITUTE (March 1966) was yet another powerful classic and a brilliant
follow-up single.  The great 'Plastic spoon' lyrics, are mugged along once more
by Entwhistle's superb deep, rich, overloud power-bass.

     SUBSTITUTE was produced by Townsend himself as the Whowere now attempting
to break from their record deal with Shel Talmy.  The very same day, Decca
released another Who track confusing the market.  Despite injunctions and
seizures, Substitute reached no. 5 staying in the charts for 13 weeks.

     Later that year the band again had two competing records out at the same
time.  THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT was released two weeks later before I'M A BOY, on a
rival label.  Moon was particularly praised on THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT for "one of
the most sublime drumrolls in rock."  It charted at 41.  I'M A BOY, with its
Beach Boys vocals, rose to the top of the Melody maker Top Fifty  (In the NME
it only managed No. 2 - beaten by JIM REEVES' Distant Drums).  In December
their second album, A QUICK ONE was released.

     HAPPY JACK, released December 1966 in the UK and March 1967 in the US was
the Who's first American breakthrough reaching 24 in Billboard and selling over
300,000 copies.  It got to no. 3 in the UK.  PICTURES OF LILY (April 1967) hit
trouble too as it was thought to be about masturbation and banned by many US
radio stations.  It got to no. 5 in the U.S.  As Townsend remarked later -
PICTURES OF LILY, I'M A BOY, and HAPPY JACK, had "the strange attraction of
being 'sweet songs' sung by a violent group."

     In 1967 they played the Monterey Pop Festival, followed by seven weeks of
havoc on the U.S. Herman's Hermits tour.  Moon celebrated his 21st birthday at
Decca's party in Flint, Michigan by ruining several cars with fire-extinguisher
foam and diving into an empty swimming pool, smashing his front teeth.  The
$15,000 or so damages were paid by a tour whip-round (including Herman).  The
Who were banned - their first - from Holiday Inns worldwide.

     I CAN SEE FOR MILES.  An obvious masterpiece.  Though released in October
1967, it had been written much earlier and held in reserve.  When it failed to
reach no. 1 in Britain, Townsend was 'crushed' (it reached no. 10 and 9 in
the U.S.).  The slightly sinister sound, Moon's timing, Townsend's one-note
solo: Critic Dave Marsh enthuses, "...it's quite simply the most exciting piece
of music the Who ever recorded."

     A month later they released the album THE WHO SELL OUT - considered pure
pop at its very best - a tribute to the recently outlawed pirate radio stations
including the actual jingles from the late Radio London.

     In September 1968 they released MAGIC BUS with its simple Bo Diddley-like
guitar.  It got to no. 26 in the UK and 25 in the U.S.  Amazingly, it was
accused in the U.S. of being drug oriented.

     The great PINBALL WIZARD was released in 1969. This brilliant no-nonsense
triumph of guitar rock immediately caused another row.  The BBC attacked it as
sick.  However, the New Yorker magazine called it, "...more than excellent -
one of the great rock songs of the decade."  It climbed to no. 4 in the UK and
19 in the U.S.

     Shortly after the Who presented their much-awaited rock opera double album
TOMMY, from which PINBALL WIZARD, I'M FREE, and SEE ME, FELL ME are taken.
TOMMY was a major milestone in rock history.  The most important and innovative
rock album since SGT. PEPPER.

     It was an immediate huge success and obviously inspired Townsend's
interest in the mysticism which he'd developed two or three years earlier. 
He'd been discussing in interviews his devotion to Mether Baba for some time.
Life Magazine said, "...for sheer power, invention and brilliance of
performance TOMMY outstrips anything that has ever come out of a rock recording

     It established Townsend as the greatest rock songwriter after Lennon and
McCartney, and elevated Daltrey as the most important rock vocalist and stage
performer.  At live shows TOMMY sounded even better.  Seeing the Who perform
TOMMY on stage must have been the high point of rock for very many people. 
When they were good - they were overwhelming.  During 1979 and 1980 the group
toured America, Europe, and Britain with TOMMY, leaving a trail of mind-blown
disbelieving Who converts in their wake.  They also played it in the major
European opera houses, at the London Coliseum, and finally, the New York Met.
They were now the biggest box office draw on both sides of the Atlantic.

     The extent of the success of TOMMY surprised even the Who.  The post-TOMMY
Who had finally reached the position of the DEFINITIVE rock band.  The Melody
Maker summed it up declaring, "Surely the Who are now the group against which
all others are to be judged."  Their concerts sold out twenty times over.  The
San Francisco Chronicle claimed the show, "Absolutely staggering in its
emotional and musical power."  Townsend said later, "We went from the
ridiculous to the sublime - being told we were musical geniuses when really we
were just a bunch of scumbags."

     In 1970 to counter TOMMY-hysteria they released an album of a live
concert, LIVE AT LEEDS, still regarded as the best intelligent heavy metal
album ever.  In June of 1971 came the phenomenal WON'T GET FOOLED AGAIN, almost
a 70's version of MY GENERATION.  The first intelligent use of synthesizer in
rock.  It reached no. 15 in the States, and no. 9 in Britain.

     The next album, WHO'S NEXT, their first "polished" studio album, went gold
in six weeks in the U.S. reaching no. 4.  The Who had opened London's new
Rainbow Theater and were soon back for a posher do when a star-studded cast
performed TOMMY in a version scored for the London Symphony Orchestra and
Chamber Choir (The Royal Albert Hall refused it as 'unsavory').

     JOIN TOGETHER was released in June 1972 reaching no. 9 in the UK and 17 in
the States, and the long-awaited concept album QUADROPHENIA, about a young 60's
mod was issued in November 1973.  ODDS AND SODS, an album of previously
unreleased material was issued in 1974.

    In 1975, Ken Russell's film version of TOMMY was lavishly premiered in
London, New York, and L.A., and was a huge box office success.  THE WHO BY
NUMBERS album came out in October of 1975.  The Who introduced lasers into the
act in America.  It was the first time they'd been used in rock.  The band were
now using 72 speakers and 14 tons of equipment.

     1976 saw SQUEEZE BOX a lively foot-stomping number, brilliantly sung by
Daltrey and with a banjo guitar solo from Townsend, it reached 16 in the U.S.
charts and 10 in the UK.  At their Charlton football ground concert, 70,000
loyal fans braved five hours of rain to hear what the Guinness Book of Records
measured as the loudest ever rock concert (76,000 watts producing 120

     The Who were inactive throughout 1977.  Moon had beenliving full time in
America and early in 1978 Townsend declared the Who wouldn't tour any more. 
WHO ARE YOU issued in the summer of 1978, was hailed (by some) as their best
single for ten years.  It's driven along by a strong riff which is a
combination of guitar, bass, and synthesizer with a powerful chanting chorus.
In the UK it reached 18, in the U.S. 14.

     The WHO ARE YOU album which followed became their biggest and fastest
seller ever.  Daltrey was much praised for the vocals.

     Moon had moved back to live in England but in the early hours of September
7th, 1978, after attending Paul McCartney's party for the screening of The
Buddy Holly Story, Keith died from overdosing on a drug prescribed for
alcoholic withdrawal symptoms.

     Keith Moon was unique and universally acclaimed as the greatest drummer in
rock (as nearly all the tracks here prove).  He could almost be called the lead
drummer on many of the tracks.  He not only kept the beat but played like an
extra instrument.  His ability to anticipate a gap in the music, jump in quick
as a flash, fill it with a dozen sharp machine-gun 'shots', and get out cleanly
in time for tea, was incredible.  (Just listen to I CAN SEE FOR MILES, PINBALL
WIZARD, THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT - any of them).  He was also (in)famous as 'Moon
the Loon', the witty, outrageous, lovable, eccentric of rock.  Master
practical-joker and hotel-wrecker par-excellence.  He was genuinely funny and
one of the most-liked individuals in the music business.

     For a time it looked like the end of the Who.  However, the other three
eventually decided that Keith wouldn't have wanted that and resolved to carry
on and even go back on the road.  Old friend and ex-Faces drummer Kenney Jones
joined the band and proved himself at their first concert at London's Rainbow

     They played the huge Wembley stadium to 77,000.  A major tour of the
States followed starting in Detroit.  The Who were back on the road and did
several more major concerts in Europe and the States.  The film version of
QUADROPHENIA was premiered in 1979, very timely for the mod revival.  As
Newsweek noted, "...a damn good movie," and a huge box-office success in
Britain . About the same time THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT, a documentary film on the
band came out.

     The first single with Jones as drummer YOU BETTER YOU BET was released in
February 1981 and the album from which it came FACE DANCES, a month later. 
Both went to no. 1 in Billboard's rock charts and the single to no. 9 in the
British charts.  The album was beaten into the no. 2 spot in Britain by ADAM
ANT who sold just nine copies more.

     The last album the Who released was IT'S HARD.  They played their farewell
concert in Toronto at the end of 1982.  No guitars were smashed at the end.
They reformed to play four numbers for the Live Aid concert in 1985. In
February 1988 the British Phonographic Industry presented the Who with a
special Lifetime Achievement award for their contribution to rock music and in
March this album WHO'S BETTER WHO'S BEST was released.  JIM REEVES, and ADAM
ANT permitting, it deserves to go to no. 1.

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  .ooM   |1989 cDc communications by The Pusher.                  09/30/89-#119
\_______/|All Rights Pissed Away.