By: Eric G.
The Beatles are pop, The Who is rock, and The Kinks are somewhere in between. These BBC Sessions prove that The Who was rocking harder than anyone else in 1965. Just take the guitar solo from "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere", where Pete Townshend makes an unholy racket an entire decade before the first seedlings of punk were even beginning to blossom. These early sessions show The Who in a transitional state, moving out of the lukewarm cover band mode and into Pete Townshend's bustling and sprightly originals.
The band recorded ten times for the BBC in five years, but, unfortunately, the band's first appearance, featuring "I Can't Explain", has been lost due to the BBC's shortsighted attitude toward archiving. The BBC did, however, capture and retain rollicking versions of "My Generation" and "Substitute." Sure, there are a few duds like the lifeless cover of the The Olympics' "Good Lovin'", which, incidentally, became a huge hit for The Young Rascals the following year. The band's rendition of Martha And The Vandellas' "Dancing In The Street" is worthwhile only for Keith Moon's uncompromisingly genius drumming.
These sessions are a brilliant display of Pete Townshend's evolving songcraft. From the infectious harmonies of "La La La Lies" to the dirty blues-rock of "Long Live Rock", Townshend's wellspring of timeless hooks and unforgettable choruses is seemingly boundless. He thrashes his fender again on an effervescent version of "Run Run Run." The bonus disc contains live versions of a few Tommy tracks ("Pinball Wizard", "See Me, Feel Me") and a glorious run through "Heaven And Hell" with Keith Moon thrashing his drum kit. Nobody played with as much energy and explosiveness as The Who. BBC Sessions were the perfect setting for the band to show off its live chops, and the band tore it up.