The Who were formed in 1964. Their first album My Generation was released in 1965. Between 1965 and 1982 the band released 10 studio albums. The only studio album the band has released since 1982, was the 2006 album Endless Wire. The band The Who has endured the loss of Keith Moon in 1979 and John Entwistle in 2002. Despite the deaths of the two legendary musicians, The Who have continued to perform sparingly throughout their career. Our list of Top 10 Who songs is a simple list that takes a look at the most successful songs that span the band’s career. It is in no way a definitive list, but rather just a peek at the band for those young people who may not know much about the group.
# 10 – Pinball Wizard
If you came of age in the mid to late seventies chances are the first time you heard The Who’s “Pinball Wizard,” it was Elton John’s version. Elton John had a tremendous hit with the song which stemmed from his role as the Pinball Wizard in the Hollywood motion picture of the Who’s Tommy album. While critics panned the Hollywood movie, they most certainly praised the iconic original album. The original Tommy record by the Who was released in 1969. It was the band’s fourth studio album. The song “Pinball Wizard,” was the first single released from the album.
# 9 – Bargain
The Who album Who’s Next easily belongs in the Top 10 Rock albums of all time list. There should be no argument or debate about it. Two of the albums tracks also deserve to be ranked way up high on the list of greatest rock songs of all time. The song “Bargain,” was the second track on the Who’s Next album. Roger Daltrey sang lead vocals on the verses while Pete Townshend sang lead vocals on the bridge.
# 8 – Who Are You
The Who closed out the seventies with one hell of an album. The Who’s Who Are You record was loaded with great rock cuts that spit in the face of the punk and new wave movements of the time period. While The Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads and many more were trying to change the rock and roll landscape, The Who followed no one but themselves. The album was released in August of 1978. The band released the single “Who Are You,” a month before the album was released. As the album’s closing track, the arrangement and persona of the song seemed to be clearly inspired by the band’s anthem “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”
# 7 – I Can’t Explain
The Who’s “I Can’t Explain,” was the band’s first single release of their career. It’s hard to believe that the Who released “I Cant Explain,” over fifty-two years ago in the United States during the month of December in 1964. Although they had previously released a song called “Zoot Suit,” under the band’s name High Numbers, “I Cant Explain,” was the first official single released under the name The Who. The single release barely made the U.S. Billboard music chart’s Top 100 peaking at the No.93 position.
# 6 – I Can See For Miles
The classic song “I Can See For Miles,” is another one of those early great Who songs that clearly defined the British Invasion sound of the mid-1960’s. The song was released on the Who’s third studio album, The Who Sell Out. That album was released in December of 1967. The song I” Can See For Miles,” was the only single released from the album. Amazingly, it still remains the Who’s highest charting single of their career.
# 5 – Love Reign O’er Me
We could have easily filled this Top 10 Who Songs list entirely with tracks from the band’s masterpiece Quadrophenia. However our goal as a classic rock history site is to cover as much ground as we can without dragging you down in a sea of long lists and monotonous information. So we have chosen as wisely as we could. Picking only one or two songs from this amazing album is a pretty tough task. For our first choice we went with the breathtaking “Love Reign O’er Me.” We will let the music speak for itself on this one
# 4- The Real Me
If young people who have grown up in the age of iPods and streaming could only get their hands on an original Quadrophenia album complete with the heavy booklet that came with the album, they would instantly start a revolution to ban all mp3s and return to a world of total vinyl. They just don’t release album packages like they used to. And yes I know what your thinking, they just don’t release music like this anymore either. You cant listen to the Who’s “The Real Me,” without realizing just how great this band really was, and how important their contributions were to rock and roll culture.
# 3- My Generation
As we get closer to the Number 1 position on our Top 10 Who songs list, it becomes more difficult to write anything original about these unbelievable rock classics. The Who’s “My Generation,” was released on their debut studio album My Generation in 1965. The song “My Generation,” was the first single released from the album and peaked at No. 74 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. However, the song was incredibly more successful in the U.K. falling just short of the No. 1 position landing in the No.2 spot on the U.K. music charts. It has become one of the most covered songs of the band’s catalog.
# 2- Won’t Get Fooled Again
There is classic rock and then there is CLASSIC ROCK. The Who’s Won’t Get Fooled Again is CLASSIC ROCK. We could argue that it’s the complete definition of Classic Rock. Its sad that we have to hear Roger’s classic scream at the beginning of every CSI episode, but Townshend has said he doesn’t care about our feelings and it’s his song so he can do with it whatever he pleases. That’s why we love Townshend and why we have songs like this amazing recording.
For the younger generation, we want you to know that the song closed out the amazing Who’s Next album. It was constantly played on FM radio in the 1970’s and continues to this day to be one of the most played classic rock songs in history. Its doesn’t get much better than this, or does it?
# 1- Baba O’Riley
Well maybe it does. The Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” is our choice for the Who’s greatest song on our Top 10 Who Songs list.It was the opening track on the classic Who’s Next album. Not only is the song our favorite Who song, it is what we believe to be the greatest rock and roll song of all time. Yeah! Bam! Boom! No, we are not getting carried away; the song defined the essence of pure rock and roll. The simple three chord pattern, the passionate filled vocal, the killer bass line, pulsating drums. and the loud in your face guitar work was almost too much to bare. When Roger sang “Sally Take My Hand,” the music’s momentum embraced the glory of youth in all its angst, despair and joy. That is Rock and Roll!
By Jim Summaria (Wikipedia:Contact us/Photo submission) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons