THE WHO - Tommy At 50 Definitive Illustrated Companion Now Available; Includes Foreword By PETE TOWNSHEND
June 11, 2019, 3 months ago
Published to celebrate the Golden Anniversary of 1969, music's most iconic year, the definitive illustrated companion to the most iconic rock opera of all time, from the publisher that brought you Rock Stars At Home comes Tommy At 50: The Mood, The Music, The Look, And The Legacy Of The Who’s Legendary Rock Opera, by Chris Charlesworth and Mike McInnerney
Over two million copies sold, performed at the Fillmore East and the Metropolitan Opera House, and turned into a Golden Globe-winning film, Tommy helped define 1969 and remains the most revered rock opera of all time. Tommy At 50: The Mood, The Music, The Look, And The Legacy Of The Who’s Legendary Rock Opera (Apollo Publishers; $26.99; Hardcover) by Chris Charlesworth, journalist, author, and long-time music industry insider, and Mike McInnerney, the artist who designed the original album cover, looks back on how Tommy came to be and sheds light on its ongoing, phenomenal power.
Author Chris Charlesworth is closer to The Who than perhaps any other writer worldwide. He has been a music journalist since 1970 and has been particularly close to The Who. In Tommy At 50, he brings together fresh recollections from key players in the Tommy story and insights drawn from decades of articles, interviews, and reviews, and reveals the forces that made this breakout rock opera right for its times, ahead of its time, and timeless.
Joining Charlesworth as artist for this richly illustrated volume is Mike McInnerney who designed the album’s original award-winning triptych cover and insert book. McInnerney echoes his design of the album cover with his design of the book cover, and also provides period photographs, posters, and artwork used throughout the book. Even the trim size of the book (9 x 9) pays homage to the dimensions of the original album sleeve.
Pete Townshend’s foreword brings the book home for dedicated fans of The Who and music lovers.
“I’m delighted this collection adds new input,” he writes. “With Tommy, as with various Who projects that followed, I took massive risks. I was not alone of course. By some miracle, Tommy came off.”
Tommy At 50 is a celebration of that feat and The Who’s ongoing contributions to music, art, pop culture, and awakening.
Chapters of this stunning volume explore:
The heady and turbulent mood - marked by hippie counterculture, protests against the Vietnam War, a quest for spiritual enlightenment, and experiments with mind-altering drugs such as LSD - when Tommy was born.
The origins and creations of its music - from Pete Townshend’s initial vision of a package called Deaf, Dumb, and Blind Boy, detailed in an interview with Jann Wenner that ran over 11 pages of two issues of Rolling Stone magazine, to the camp, hype, and kettledrum magic surrounding “Pinball Wizard.”
The development of the artwork - how the “look” of Tommy complemented its sound and the impact of the central character’s sensory deprivation, which Townshend saw as a metaphor for spiritual isolation, on the mind-expanding images on the foldout album sleeve.
Tommy’s legacy - both in its original “rock opera” double LP form and in new incarnations onstage, on screen, and beyond, including the “Pinball Wizard” of Elton John and a Tommy ballet, choreographed by Les Grands Ballet Canadiens.