The Who Best Albums In the Studio & Live In Concert

With my Christmas money back in 1975, I bought The Who Live At Leeds and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon to double my album collection. A good friend of mine was given The Who By Numbers for the same Christmas. Shortly afterwards I bought Who’s Next and Meaty, Beaty, Big & Bouncy. Another friend bought A Nice Pair, bringing together A Quick One and The Who Sell Out.

The Who were my favourite band back then and have continued to be one of my favourite bands ever since.

The Who: A Guide To Buying & Listening To This Great Band

What To Find On This Page

  • My Album Ratings
  • The Readers Poll
  • My Favourite YouTube Channels
  • The Who On The Steve Hoffman website
  • Final Conclusions

Studio Albums By The Who – My Ratings Out Of 10 (10 is an outstanding classic, 1 abyssmal)

My Generation / The Who Sings My Generation (US) – 7
A Quick One  – 6
The Who Sell Out – 8
Tommy -7
Who’s Next – 10
Quadrophenia – 10
The Who by Numbers – 10
Who Are You – 8
Face Dances – 5
It’s Hard – 7
Endless Wire – 6
Who – 7 (provisional but could be edged up)

Live Albums By The Who

Live at Leeds – 10
Who’s Last – 3 (a great set list, a tired, limp performance and badly produced)
Join Together – 9 (a quirky favourite of mine with horns)
Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 – 9
BBC Sessions – 7
Blues to the Bush – 10
Live at the Royal Albert Hall – 8
Live from Toronto – 8
View from a Backstage Pass not heard
Greatest Hits Live not heard
Live at Hull 1970 – 9 (great but a point deducted for deja vu)
Quadrophenia Live in London – 8
Live in Hyde Park – 7
Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 2004 (not heard)
Tommy Live at the Royal Albert Hall (not heard)
Live at the Fillmore East 1968 – 7
Woodstock 1969 – Live & Remastered (not heard)

Significant Compilations By The Who

Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy – 10
Odds & Sods – 9
Thirty Years of Maximum R&B – 10
The Ultimate Collection – 10

Soundtracks By The Who

Tommy – 8
The Kids Are Alright – 8
Quadrophenia – 8

Readers’ Polls For The Who

What are the best Who Studio Albums? (This has been promoted much less than the live album poll)

What Are The Two Best Studio Albums By The Who?

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What are the best Who live albums?

What Are The FOUR Best Live Albums or Live DVDs By The Who?

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How The Who Fare In The Genre Polls

Best Hard Rock Live Albums

Live At Leeds is ranked at #3 (March 8, 2020), some distance behin #1 Made In Japan by Deep Purple but not far behind #2, Styrangers In The Night by UFO. Both are great albums.

Best Classic Rock Live Albums

I see classic rock as quite commercial and I feel Live At Leeds is too raucous and, of course, it doesn’t include the well known anthems from Who’s Next and onward.

I entered Join Together and Quadrophenia Live which are attracting moderate interest. I think Join Together is excellent and it has a different sound because of the use of the horns, even though it’s been accused of the Who does Las Vegas.

What My Favourite YouTube Channels & Videos Have To Say About The Who

Pete Pardo at the Sea of Tranquility (link to channel)

Watch the video but Pete’s top three are:

  1. Who’s Next
  2. Tommy
  3. Quadrophenia

Adam At Rock Record Reviews (much less well known but quality reviews) (link to channel)

Adam’s favourites are

  1. Who’s Next
  2. Tommy
  3. Quadrophenia

Hanna at The Omaha Introvert (link to channel)

The Who are her favourite band.

Her top four albums are:

  1. The Who Sell Out
  2. Tommy
  3. Live At Leeds
  4. Who’s Next

A quirkier set of choices with The Who Sell Out as her #1 but our favourites are usually those that connect with us most emotionally. I gave it a rating of 8/10 which means I think it’s very good and I’d hate to be without it but it’s rarely one that starts off my bout of listening to The Who.

The Who On The Steve Hoffman Website

This is a great forum for real music enthusiasts although I find it a bit intimidating. These people know what they’re talking about.

What’s your favorite The Who album? (link)

This thread has a poll where I think you could only vote for your #1and the top three albums are:

  1. Who’s Next
  2. Quadrophenia
  3. The Who Sell Out

There are seven pages of comments too.

Your Top 3 Who Albums – POLL (link)

The same top 3 with Tommy just missing out. My Generation, A Quick One, The Who By Numbers and Who Are You all received 30 or more votes.

What Was the Last Great Who Album? (link)

Another poll with Quadrophenia coming top by a long way but Who Are You and The Who By Numbers were second and third.

This is a website for people who love lists since it’s a website where people put in their lists of favourite albums and songs and out pop rankings of bands, albums, songs across the years and decades.

You can spend a lot of time on (link to The Who’s page) but here are the top 5 albums by The Who (as at March 8, 2020)

  1. Who’s Next (ranked #36 overal)
  2. Quadrophenia
  3. Tommy
  4. The Who Sell Out
  5. My Generation

An easy to go place to get album reviews, even if there is maddening inconsistency between the reviews and review ratings.

The Who at

The official reviews 5 star albums (at March 8, 2020) are:

  • My Generation
  • The Who Sell Out
  • Live At Leeds
  • Who’s Next
  • Quadrophenia

As for the readers, they have fewer 5 star albums based on the average ratings.

  • Live At Leeds
  • Who’s Next

Final Conclusions – The Best Albums By The Who

The beauty of streaming services is that you can hear these albums for yourself very easily – or if you don’t stream, pop to Amazon or iTunes and hear the samples.

But where should you start?

The broad consensus is that Who’s Next is their greatest creation. Two of these songs – Won’t Get Fooled Again and Baba O’Riley are CSI theme tunes so you probably know them, even if you don;t know The Who. They are also likely to regularly appear on classic rock radio shows along with Behind Blues Eyes (also from Who’s Next), Pinball Wizard (from Tommy) and Who Are You (from the album of the same name.)

The next place to go is Quadrophenia although I think it would be tempting to work through the albums chronologically so that you can see how the band has developed. The albums were consistently strong up to and including Who Are You.

As for live albums, Live At Leeds is an absolute classic but we don’t (yet) have that classic live album of the band at their peak featuring plenty of songs from Who’s Next of Quadrophenia. Blues To The Bush is excellent but it’s really hard to track down and it’s from 1999 and features Ringo’s son Zak Starkey on drums.

The Who – What Pete Pardo says

I’ve posted some videos from Pete Pardo from the Sea of Tranquility website on The Who.

The Who are responsible for one of the all-time greatest live albums in The Who Live At Leeds (along with two other live performances from the same year in The Who Live At Hull and The Who Live At The Isle Of Wight).

Yet they are also a band that frustrates me.

We’ve had a stack of live albums from their various revivals but we’re short of that blockbuster they must have in the can from the mid 1970s. The best of the post 1970 live albums by The Who is The Blues To The Bush, in my opinion.

Top 10 Songs: The Who Continue reading The Who – What Pete Pardo says

Monterey International Pop Festival (Box Set of 4 CDs)

Monterey International Pop Festival is a box set of four CDs containing 70 tracks from the festival on June 16 to 18, 1967 covering many different artists including Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, The Byrds, The Mamas and The Papas and others.

There is also a two CD version with 26 tracks but, if you get that, I suspect you will keep wishing that you’ve spent a little more for this one and bought the newly released tracks on mp3.

Monterey International Pop Festival (Box Set of 4 CDs)

Average Amazon Customer Rating – %%AVERAGERATING%% Stars From %%REVIEWCOUNT%% Reviews Continue reading Monterey International Pop Festival (Box Set of 4 CDs)

The Who The Kids Are Alright 1965 to 1978

The Kids Are Alright is a film and live soundtrack album by The Who. The recordings range from July 1965 through to May 1978.

When it was released back in 1979, fans were extremely grateful to have more live recordings from the band. Incredibly we only had the original six track Live At Leeds. Since then many more live recordings have been released including other compilations.

The Who The Kids Are Alright

Average Amazon Customer Rating – %%AVERAGERATING%% Stars Continue reading The Who The Kids Are Alright 1965 to 1978

The Who Quadrophenia Live In London 2013

I love The Who and they may even be my favourite band. For the last 40 years I’ve wanted a live album based around Who’s Next and Quadrophenia but sadly, it’s not Quadrophenia Live.

It’s not bad but nor is it essential in my opinion.

The Who Quadrophenia Live In London

The official trailer video.

The Who Quadrophenia Live In London Review – 23/30

Set List Rating – 9/10

Quadrophenia is a terrific studio album and, at the time of writing this live album review, it’s on sale at for just £3.99. That’s a steal for one of the best classic rock albums from the 1970s.

It feels the story of the struggles of a young mod in the 1960s who suffers from schizophrenia and has four personalities. Whilst it’s not the most uplifting of stories, the music itself is rousing both individually, song and song and collectively.

Disc 1

I Am The Sea – 1:58 (from the Quadrophenia studio album)
The Real Me – 3:41
Quadrophenia – 5:49
Cut My Hair – 4:08
The Punk And The Godfather – 5:01
I’m One – 3:00
The Dirty Jobs – 4:55
Helpless Dancer – 2:17
Is It In My Head – 3:37
I’ve Had Enough – 6:41
5:15 – 11:13

Disc 2

Sea And Sand – 5:40
Drowned – 7:20
Bell Boy – 5:10
Doctor Jimmy – 8:08
The Rock – 6:51
Love Reign O’er Me – 7:21 (The last Quadrophenia song)
Who Are You – 6:26 (from Who Are You and CSI)
You Better You Bet – 5:35 (Face Dances)
Pinball Wizard – 2:53 (Tommy)
Baba O’Riley – 5:27 (Who’s Next and CSI New York)
Won’t Get Fooled Again – 9:06 (Who’s Next and CSI Miami)
Tea & Theatre – 3:59 (Endless Wire)

What we have here is Quadrophenia with a few of the later greatest hits tacked on the end together with the lacklustre Tea & Theatre which is a poor way to end the show. Perhaps The Who’s live audience demand to hear most of these but I think it would have been much more interesting to hear some of the Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy early hits played before Quadrophenia to help set the mod scene.

From a live album perspective, I’m not sure that we need another Pinball Wizard, Baba O’Riley or Won’t Get Fooled Again. A more imaginative song selection would have justified a 10/10 rating.

Performance Rating 7/10

Performing we have the two remaining members of The Who, Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey together with:

Simon Townshend – Guitar, Vocals
Frank Simes – Keyboards, Vocals
Pino Palladino – Bass
Scott Devours – Drums
John Corey – Keyboards, Vocals
Loren Gold – Keyboards, Vocals
Dylan Hart – Horn
Reggie Grisham – Horn

The two members of The Who, who are sadly no longer with us, appear with John Entwistle’s bass appearing in 5:15 (and it roars) and Keith Moon’s voice on Bell Boy.

Overall I think they do a good job of performing what is supposed to be a difficult set of songs considering the two main characters are in their late 60s. The original Who didn’t like performing many of these songs live and therefore, they were quickly dropped from the regular set.

I can understand some criticisms of Roger’s voice compared to the great singer he was in the 1960s and 70s but it’s unrealistic to expect it to remain unchanged for 40 years. The same applies to when Pete sings.

Sea And Sound

The Real Me

Authenticity & Atmosphere Rating – 7/10

Two out of four original members keeps this away from being a tribute album but I can’t overlook the issue that this is half The Who playing Quadrophenia 40 years too late.

I’ve always regarded all four members of The Who as essential as Entwistle and Moon created that thunderous roar. Replacements may play the same notes and keep the same rhythm but something is lost in the tone. That’s two points dropped.

There’s very little interaction with the crowd. Pete Townshend used to introduce songs from Quadrophenia with an explanation of the story and that might have been nice to revive. I’m in danger of over-penalising the album in this section but I think a rating of 7/10 is fair to generous.

Overall rating – 23/30

I feel mean with that rating which would just tip into four stars if I was writing this review on Amazon but it sums up how I feel. It’s a good but not great live album.

I love live albums based around promoting an album but I’m not so keen on those that play an album in its entirety and in the correct order unless there is a major reinterpretation of the music. If it’s just an imitation, it begs the question “Why bother to listen to this when you can hear the studio album?”

The 1970 recordings of Tommy on Live At Leeds, Hull and the Isle of Wight gave Tommy bigger balls and chest hair. The studio album always sounded wimpy to me. Join Together added brass and at the time when the album was originally released, it was the first live version of Tommy. They all had a purpose that extended beyond being a souvenir for the people at the gigs.

I’m not sure how often I’m going to play this live album. If I want to listen to Quadrophenia, I think I’ll turn to the studio album with all four original members rather than this live version.

There are a few great missing live albums and The Who live between 1973 to 1975 is one of them. The run of albums from Who’s Next to The Who By Numbers is my favourite period.

I haven’t seen the video of Quadrophenia Live In London so I can’t comment about the more expensive versions of the release. I worry that I might have the same problem as I had with Led Zep’s Celebration Day, old men playing hard rock.

What Other People Say


You can hear samples of the songs or buy the album from or

Buying Quadrophenia Live In London By The Who

You can get this live album from:

What Are The Other Live Albums By The Who?

The Who have released a lot of live albums over the years including:

What Are The FOUR Best Live Albums or Live DVDs By The Who?

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What Are The Best Live Albums Of All Time?

I have included Quadrophenia Live in the best classic rock live albums poll.

What Are The FIVE Best Classic Rock Live Albums? (Click on the links to go to the reviews)

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If You Like This, I Think You Will Also Like…

There are few concept albums as sweeping and ambitious as Quadrophenia so instead, let’s look for some classic (hard but popular) rock live albums

The Who Won’t Get Fooled Again Live

Won’t Get Fooled Again is one of The Who‘s most famous songs.

It first appeared on the Who’s Next album released in 1971 which was produced from the aborted Lifehouse project.

It is a regular on classic rock radio and it’s the theme tune for the TV series CSI Miami. Continue reading The Who Won’t Get Fooled Again Live

The Who Live At Hull 1970

Live At Hull by The Who is a sister album to Live At Leeds.

I haven’t heard it and at the moment I don’t want to hear it.

The Who Live At Hull

In fact I am objecting to the commercial exploitation of loyal and dedicated fans of The Who who paid a lot of money to buy a new copy of the Live At Leeds box set to get the live recording of the Hull concert, only for it to be released as a separate CD. Continue reading The Who Live At Hull 1970