A cool discovery! GLONO message board regular DJ Murphy has dug up Pete Townshend‘s Quadrophenia Recording Notes from 1973 that were included with promo copies of the album sent to reviewers. Pete, a notorious over-explainer desperate to be understood, certainly can’t just let the music speak for itself:
Learning, very much the hard way, about making albums that “flow” I have decided, after listening and listening, that your first listen might be aided by a bit of preamble. It would probably be aided by a stiff drink and a comfy chair as the album is long and we want you to hear it all.
The concept of the album is pretty simple. It’s really a series of reflections and memories that a young mod kid is having while sitting on a rock he has ended up on after a miserable and disturbing week. The boy whose name, hold your breath, is Jimmy, has four distinct sides to his personality. Each one bothers him in a different way. One side of him is violent and determined, aggressive and unshakeable. Another side is quiet and romantic, tender and doubting. Another side is insane and devil-may-care, unreasoning and bravado. The last side of him is insecure and spiritually desperate, searching and questioning.
Each facet of the boy’s personality was adopted by a member of the band, originally with a little type casting, we thought we might all play “parts.” This didn’t happen in the final version, although the type casting still fits. Roger is the first, John the second, Keith the third and myself the last. […]
Each facet of his character also represents what I feel to be a particularly marked trait of the “Rock” generation.
The whole thing is definitely worth reading for any fan of The Who.
Video: The Who – “5.15” (TOTP 1973)