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Music

35 Years Later: ‘Who Are You’

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Released today in 1978: The Who’s Who Are You

(We should mention we have a conflicting report telling us this was released in the U.S. on August 18th…but we’re gonna go with the 21st)

The eighth album released by the titanic British rock ‘n’ roll quartet The Who is a milestone in the band’s history — and a landmark album for rock ‘n’ roll the genre.  The eerie part of this piece is that it was the last album Keith Moon played on — he would die roughly three weeks after its release.

The nine tunes are considered the band’s most complicated ones (in terms of song structure) in the band’s catalog. Pete Townshend said he wanted to combine the stylings of progressive rock and punk rock on one album.

Tricky song structures, though, were not the factors that made Who Are You a complicated album. Moon’s alcohol and drug abuse had reached its breaking point during the three years in between The Story of the Who (the band’s previous album) and the current one. Moon reportedly only managed to come in during the last few weeks of recording and was unable to play in 6/8 time on the track “Music Must Change”, so drums were removed completely from the track and only a few cymbal crashes were added. Moon had also insisted that he sit on the chair with its back to the camera for the album cover. He reportedly wanted to hide his distended stomach, the result of his alcoholism.

1978's "Who Are You" released on Polydor, MCA

1978’s “Who Are You” released on Polydor, MCA

-Chris Coyle, KZOK

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