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The Who - Live At Leeds (1970)

Famously recorded in the Leeds University refectory on Valentine's Day 1970 and released in mock bootleg form in May that year, the original vinyl LP version of Live At Leeds only contained six tracks, yet so powerful were (they including a simply stupendous, 14-minute version of ‘My Generation') that the album was already considered one of the greatest live recordings of all time long before it's full-length concert release on CD some 30 years later.

After months of playing full-length versions of their Tommy opus in America, the band had decided to cut loose with their UK tour in the winter of 1970 and get back to their roots. As Roger Daltrey later explained, "Live At Leeds was us breaking out of our cages.” This they did to stunning effect on bones-into-dust covers of ‘Summertime Blues' and ‘Shakin' All Over'. But it was their jaw-socking versions of original Who material like ‘Substitute' and ‘Magic Bus' that really impressed. You can also arguably hear the template for the whole history of heavy rock, as evinced by later peers like Led Zeppelin, in the juddering rhythms of explosive album opener ‘Young Man Blues'.

Young Man Blues / Substitute / Summertime Blues / Shakin' All Over / My Generation / Magic Bus

  • The University Of Leeds refectory, where the album was recorded, features a blue plaque to designate the building as a UK landmark due to the enduring legacy of Live At Leeds.
  • The album could just as easily been called Live At Hull - the band had scheduled two shows to be recorded to make a live album, and due to recording problems with the Hull gig the Leeds show was released by default. The band have often said that the Hull gig was the better of the two, and on the 2010 box set reissue the fully restored Live At Hull recording was finally released.


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