The critics liked The Who's debut album more than the band did. Rushed into production after their chart success with the singles "I Can't Explain," "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere," and "My Generation," the album includes the much-covered "The Kids are Alright."
This album is perhaps most important as a sign of things to come. It includes less R&B and more pop/rock, a ten-minute mini-opera, and a hit-single ("Happy Jack") that anticipated some of the themes of Tommy.
The first real rock opera, written almost entirely by Townshend, is an epic contribution to rock and roll. Several songs became singles hits, including "Pinball Wizard," "I'm Free," "See Me, Feel Me / Listening to You."
Considered by many to be the greatest rock and roll live album ever recorded. The original vinyl contained a 14-minute version of "My Generation." Re-released as a CD in 1995, the expanded recording offers an exhausting set of high-octane performances.
Townshend released this six-CD boxed set in 2000. It includes early demos of the music and a 1999 BBC radio enactment of the story.