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The Who - Endless Wire (2006)

Released in 2006, the first new Who album for 24 years may not have contained any hits in the ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ mould, yet it sounded surprisingly fresh.

Taking its oscillating cue from Baba O’Reilly (as opening track Fragments does) it sounded in fact like the ever-so-slightly substandard sibling to Quadrophenia: a 21-track, 59-minute confection of acoustic ballads and fighting, confrontational rock culminating with Townshend’s very specifically aimed 10-song rock-opera.

Apparently reflecting on everything he and Roger Daltrey have been through this past quarter-century, from the loss of John Entwhistle and Keith Moon (the swaggeringly excellent ‘It’s Not Enough’) to the media scrum that followed Townshend’s 2003 police caution for accessing child porn (the Dylan-esque ballad Man In A Purple Dress), and the mini-opera itself, Wire And Glass, which is based on Townshend’s own novella, The Boy Who Heard Music.

It could have been a disaster, but it wasn't. Sure, it's a little flabby and it doesn't quite have the bite that we might have expected but what we have with Endless Wire is likely to be the band's last hurrah - one last creative splurge. It might not rank alongside their early 70s peak, but it's a damn good effort.


Fragments Ball / A Man in a Purple Dress / Mike Post Theme / In the Ether / Black Widow's Eyes / Two Thousand Years / God Speaks of Marty Robbins / It's Not Enough Fuller / You Stand by Me / Sound Round / Pick Up the Peace / Unholy Trinity / Trilby's Piano / Endless Wire / Fragments of Fragments Ball / We Got a Hit / They Made My Dream Come True / Mirror Door / Tea & Theatre

  • The album was originally supposed to be called WHO2
  • Tracks 10-19 make up the Wire & Glass rock opera portion of the album.


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