The Who – Opher’s World pays tribute to genius.

What a band!!

Opher's World

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The Who started life as a Mod Beat group in the early sixties with the heavy riffed and highly original ‘I Can’t Explain’. For a number of years they were largely a singles act with a series of diverse and distinctive numbers that headed into the psychedelic market as well as developing an explosive stage act which featured the auto-destruction of equipment and sometimes each other.

As the sixties culminated in the development of the youth counter-culture the Who were one of the bands who made the transition into the Hippie culture and scored hugely with the Rock Opera ‘Tommy’. They weren’t the first Rock outfit to do a Rock Opera – The Pretty Things had that distinction with their SF Sorrow. By this time the Who had established themselves as the most exciting act on the circuit. Their antics were on everyone’s lips. They had it all.

Keith Moon…

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6 thoughts on “The Who – Opher’s World pays tribute to genius.

  1. How different things might have turned out had The Detours’ 1st rhythm guitarist Roy Ellis not drowned in the Thames on 30 July 1962, and 2nd rhythm guitarist Townshend not been promoted.
    Technically, The Who were The Who before being known as The High Numbers.
    The High Numbers had a single out titled ‘Zoot Suit’ in July `64, but it bombed.
    They reverted back to The Who in early November `64.

    I would have to disagree with ‘I Can’t Explain’ being described as highly original, as it was in every way a copy of The Kinks.
    Also, if there was ever a band who were not hippies, and actually hated hippies, it was The Who.

    • I can see the connection of ‘I Can’t Explain’ with the Kinks ‘You Really Got Me’ but I remember when it first came out and I heard that riff it felt like nothing I’ve ever heard before – really distinctive.
      The ‘Zoot Suit’ and ‘I’m the Face’ (a blatant Slim Harpo adaptation) was nothing more than an attempt to jump in on the burgeoning Mod Scene.
      Great that Townsend took on the Lead and Rhythm (not of course that Roy Ellis drowned) – he made it into something extraordinary and it was a big part of their sound and power.

    • I Can’t Explain was also nothing more than an attempt at the Mod Scene, too. They even used the same producer, Shel Talmy to achieve that. Townshend has said this a thousand times.

      Whatever ‘Zoot Suit/I’m The Face’ was, it was still a very good record and a lot better than many others at the time that had been hits. No other band had as yet anywhere near the drum production sound that they achieved there.

      Daltrey held the lead guitar role for quite sometime after Townshed was promoted to 1st rhythm guitar. It was ‘his’ band, and Townshend still jokes about that to this day.

      I used to contribute written pieces for both the ‘Generations’ and ‘Naked Eye’ fanzines.

      • Yes it should have been a hit.
        You didn’t argue with Daltrey. He was a bit of a hard nut. I didn’t know he played lead in those early days. Is there anything recorded?

      • Daltrey started his band The Detours in summer 1961, playing lead guitar and trombone. A guy named Colin Dawson was the singer. Sometime late `61 Entwistle joined on bass and trumpet (having previously been in The Scorpions with Townshend). In January 1962, they were known as Del Angelo and his Detours, with Dawson now calling himself Del Angelo. Townshend joined them in Feb `62, on 2nd rhythm guitar and banjo. In mid `62 they reverted back to The Detours. There were various other players of course all during these dates.
        In Jan `63, Dawson left and Daltrey took over on vocals and harmonica, Entwistle on bass, Townshend on guitar and Doug Sandom on drums (he joined in mid `62).

        The first known recordings were demos recorded in Autumn `63, 3 titles, ‘Come On’, ‘It Was You’ – Townshend’s earliest composition, and ‘Please Don’t Send Me Home’ – with Entwistle on vocals. None of these have ever been circulated.

        As The High Numbers, in April `64, they recorded an audition for Fontana Records and for the BBC Light Programme and none of these have ever been circulated.

        Moon joined on 30 April `64.
        On 5 May, they recorded several versions of ‘I’m The Face’, with Moon and for some reason another drummer, Brian Redman, for an audition for Philips Records – again uncirculated.

        Later that May, they recorded another demo session at either IBC Studios or Barry Gray Studio, of ‘I’m The Face’ and Townshend’s first ‘It Was You’. Although mono tape copies were made, again neither of these are in circulation.
        However, ‘It Was You’ was recorded by The Naturals and released as the A-side of a single on the Liberty label in Australia.

        Which brings us to their June `64 session at Philips’ Studio, off Marble Arch, with recordings of 4 songs, ‘Zoot Suit’, ‘I’m The Face’ (again), ‘Here `Tis’ and ‘Leaving Here’ (first version as they did it again the following year).
        ‘Zoot Suit / I’m The Face’ released 3 July `64 on Fontana Records with a massive pressing of 1,000 copies.

        So, in answer to your question – no!

      • That is fascinating. You excel yourself Andrew. I don’t think I knew much of that at all. Great stuff.
        I’d love to hear those early recordings though. That would be very revealing.

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