Who’s Next (is the fifth studio album by English rock band the Who. It developed from the aborted Lifehouse project, a multi-media rock opera written by the group’s Pete Townshend as a follow-up to the band’s 1969 album Tommy. The project was cancelled owing to its complexity and to conflicts with Kit Lambert, the band’s manager, but the group salvaged some of the songs, without the connecting story elements, to release as their next album. Eight of the nine songs on Who’s Next were from Lifehouse, the lone exception being the John Entwistle-penned “My Wife”. Ultimately, the remaining Lifehouse tracks would all be released on other albums throughout the next decade.
The Who recorded Who’s Next with assistance from recording engineer Glyn Johns. After producing the song “Won’t Get Fooled Again” in the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio, they relocated to Olympic Studios to record and mix most of the album’s remaining songs. They made prominent use of synthesizer on the album, particularly on “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and “Baba O’Riley”, which were both released as singles. The cover photo was shot by Ethan Russell; it made reference to the monolith in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, as it featured group members standing by a concrete piling protruding from a slag heap, apparently having urinated against it.
Who’s Next was an immediate success when it was released in August 1971. It has since been viewed by many critics as the Who’s best record and one of the greatest albums of all time. It was reissued on CD several times, with additional songs originally intended for Lifehouse.
1. “Baba O’Riley” 5:08
2. “Bargain” 5:34
3. “Love Ain’t for Keeping” 2:10
4. “My Wife” 3:41
5. “The Song Is Over” 6:14
1. “Getting in Tune” 4:50
2. “Going Mobile” 3:42
3. “Behind Blue Eyes” 3:42
4. “Won’t Get Fooled Again” 8:32
Roger Daltrey – vocals
John Entwistle – bass, brass, vocals, piano on “My Wife”
Keith Moon – drums, percussion
Pete Townshend – guitar, VCS 3, organ, ARP synthesizer, vocals, piano on “Baba O’Riley”
Dave Arbus – violin on “Baba O’Riley”
Nicky Hopkins – piano on “The Song Is Over” and “Getting in Tune”
Al Kooper – Hammond organ on alternate version of “Behind Blue Eyes”
Leslie West – lead guitar on Record Plant sessions including “Baby, Don’t You Do It” and “Love Ain’t for Keeping” (electric version)