Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Who - The ELITE Collection

As an intermediate level fan of The Who (I think they're a great band, but I don't own their entire discography), I've found that The Ultimate Collection is actually a pretty satisfying collection of songs that represent The Who - from their early breakout singles (I Can't Explain), to their epic middle period (Won't Get Fooled Again), down to their waning hits (Eminence Front). In the world of greatest hits compilations, there are many methodologies, but two basic formats - the single disc "essential" collection, and the more comprehensive double disc compendium. The Ultimate Collection is the latter of the two, yet listening to it, I am taken by the desire to squeeze it down to a single refined disc by eliminating the lesser half of the songs on the tracklist. You know, just for fun. So here's what I would pick (your selections may vary):

I Can't Explain
My Generation
Boris The Spider
I Can See For Miles
Magic Bus
Pinball Wizard
See Me Feel Me
The Seeker
Summertime Blues (Live)
Baba O'Riley
Won't Get Fooled Again
Love Reign O'er Me
Who Are You
You Better You Bet
Eminence Front

I was especially harsh on the tracks from Who's Next and Quadrophenia, just because they're two of The Who's best albums, and contain several tracks good enough to include - but I wanted to keep the disc nicely distributed, without too strong a focus on any one period.

I was also tempted to put in A Quick One, While He's Away, which is a good, fun song, but it's a bit long. Other tracks I would have considered adding (if that were the task) include Water and Naked Eye, which you can get on expanded editions of Who's Next, as well as Heaven And Hell (a b-side I'm fond of) and Shakin' All Over (a great rock n roll cover in the vein of Summertime Blues) both from Live At Leeds. And lastly, I would consider throwing in Sparks, as it's probably my favorite track from Tommy, being a sort of thematic overture to the piece (and I do have a thing for instrumental tracks).

But, the tracklist is already maxed out as it is (time-wise). It proved to be a more difficult task than I thought it was going to be!

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