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
  • BestEverAlbums.com
  • AllMusic.com
  • 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 OneĀ  – 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?

View Results

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What are the best Who live albums?

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

View Results

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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.

BestEverAlbums.com

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 besteveralbums.com (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

AllMusic.com

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

The Who at AllMusic.com

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.

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