Personalities | The Who | Rock Gods (1975) | Key Events
Moon Releases Two Sides Of The Moon
Despite no evident vocal abilities, having seen the others release solo albums Keith Moon saw no reason why he shouldn’t follow suit. Recording began in August 1974 and a single – ‘Don’t Worry Baby’ – was released in the US the following month. The record company hated it and ordered a complete rethink for the album. The album was originally entitled Like A Rat Up A Pipe but Moon began re-recording Two Sides Of The Moon in November, with up to 60 guest musicians. It was finally released in the US in March 1975 and in the UK the following month, but failed to make any impact on the charts.
Premiere Of Tommy
In short, the release of Tommy the movie was huge. The promotional campaign was unprecedented, and the three US premieres on 19 and 20 March cost $100,000. Showing in just 13 theatres across America, the film grossed $2 million in one month. The European premiere took place at London’s Leicester Square Theatre on 25 March and broke box-office records, taking over £26,000 in its first week. In a move ironically reflecting the film’s climax, you could buy Tommy T-shirts, mirrored badges and other merchandise. ‘We’re Not Going To Take It’ indeed….
The Who By Numbers Sessions
The band reconvened in April to begin recording the next album, The Who By Numbers. The sessions had been due to begin a fortnight earlier, but Moon stayed on in LA longer than planned. Both his and Townshend’s drinking had become noticeably worse, and Moon tried to go on the wagon in time for the recordings – but failed. After the success of Tommy, Daltrey was away filming Lisztomania with Ken Russell, and Entwistle appeared to be the only one ready to rejoin the fold with any enthusiasm. In Daltrey’s absence, the other three spent time jamming at Shepperton Studios.
The Who By Numbers
The album was released in October, just in time for the UK tour. Prior to that, Moon and Entwistle previewed the tracks on John Peel’s show, admitting that they had not heard the final mixes and that last-minute changes by Pete meant they could be in for as much of a surprise as the radio audience. The album reflected Townshend’s physical and mental state – with brutally honest lyrics and almost minimalist arrangements. In contrast, the chosen single ‘Squeeze Box’ was a jolly ditty reminiscent of his ebullient writing a decade earlier.
Return To Live Performance
A three-month tour of Europe and North America started the day the album was released. Initially the band appeared under-rehearsed, but the shows were a marked improvement on the lacklustre ones 18 months earlier, and they picked up pace quickly. The performances reintroduced a large Tommy element and marked the debut (at certain venues) of their groundbreaking laser light show. Being The Who, of course, the tour did not pass without incident, and Moon was arrested in Scotland...
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