It Was 40 Years Ago Today: ‘Tommy’ Released

On Friday, May 23, 1969, The Who released Tommy in the UK, and Pete Townshend’s groundbreaking new rock opera would follow Live At Leeds as the group’s second straight album to hit No. 4 on the Billboard charts in 1970.

Townshend wrote all of the original material save for three songs — John Entwistle’s “Cousin Kevin” and “Fiddle About” and Keith Moon’s “Tommy’s Holiday Camp.”

The single “Pinball Wizard” reached No. 4 in the UK (No. 19 in the US) and, along with “1921,” “Amazing Journey/Sparks,” “The Acid Queen,” “Go To The Mirror” and “See Me, Feel Me/Listening To You” became part of The Who’s explosive live act in the ensuing years.

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