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Buyers Guide: The Who


From their original Mod roots (their first single in 1964 as the High Numbers was the double-A side, ‘Zoot Suit’/‘I’m A Face’) via phases as proto punk rockers (the stuttering socio-misfits of ‘My Generation’) to originators of the rock opera (a line that now stretches from Tommy in 1969 to Endless Wire in 2006), and figureheads of the ’70s rock elite (reaching their apotheosis with Who’s Next in ’71 and Quadrophenia in ’73), The Who have been one of the greatest rock bands in the world for over 40 years now. As such no self-respecting record collection should be without a substantial helping of their best, most history-making album releases. Who fans will have their own opinions on what constitute the band’s most innovative recorded moments.

The following list is your Planet Rock guide to the essential Who releases.

  • ESSENTIAL PURCHASES

    These are the albums which your collection really can't do without.

  • The Who - Tommy (1969) The Who - Tommy (1969)

    The Who's first rock opera broke all kinds of boundaries and cemented their place in history

  • The Who - Who's Next (1971) The Who - Who's Next (1971)

    The Who's masterpiece - every single song is a classic. It's easily their most complete record and should be pride of place in EVERY record collection in the world

  • The Who - Quadrophenia (1973) The Who - Quadrophenia (1973)

    The Who's most ambitious album never fails to amaze. It's an amazingly grandiose and exiting performance by a band who, by the time of its release, were about to enter their second decade together.

  • The Who - Live At Leeds (1970) The Who - Live At Leeds (1970)

    The greatest live album of all time? Almost certainly


  • EXPAND YOUR COLLECTION

    Dive a bit deeper into the back catalogue - some gems that you might have missed

  • The Who - My Generation (1965) The Who - My Generation (1965)

    The Who's debut isn't quite as explosive as some of the band's later work, but it's every bit as important.

  • The Who - The Who Sell Out (1967) The Who - The Who Sell Out (1967)

    The best of their early output and perhaps the most "fun" album of their career

  • The Who - Who By Numbers (1975) The Who - Who By Numbers (1975)

    After a run of ambitious concept pieces, the Who went back to basics to produce their last great album


  • FOR COLLECTORS ONLY

    Approach with caution - occasionally more intriguing than beguiling.

  • The Who - Odds & Sods (1974) The Who - Odds & Sods (1974)

    The original Who rarities collection is a great opportunity to pick up some of the band's forgotten non-album classics

  • The Who - Endless Wire (2006) The Who - Endless Wire (2006)

    The band's last studio album - defying all expectations by actually being pretty decent

  • The Who - 30 Years Of Maximum R&B (1994) The Who - 30 Years Of Maximum R&B (1994)

    A comprehensive box set containing rarities and classics - one for completists and Who fans that have somehow misplaced all of their other records

  • The Who - Who Are You (1978) The Who - Who Are You (1978)

    The Who's final album with Keith Moon is a mixed bag and should be approached with caution


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