By: Kathryn Summers
The Who’s Tommy made its mark in history today in 1969 by becoming the first-ever rock opera. The double LP, written almost entirely by Pete Townshend, chronicled the story of Tommy, the “deaf, dumb and blind” child abused by family members who becomes a master of pinball through rhythms and vibrations.
Songs such as “1921,” “Pinball Wizard” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It” told the story through the musical sounds and voices of The Who.
Controversial for its time, Tommy dealt with issues of murder, sex, drugs and religion, causing mixed reviews among critics. The album was banned by the BBC and several radio stations; but that didn’t stop the album from becoming an ultimate success.
The production was such a hit that it was eventually turned into a movie in1975, which was directed by Ken Russel featuring Tina Turner as “The Acid Queen,” Jack Nicholson, Sir Elton John, and, of course, Roger Daltrey as Tommy.
Undergoing yet another makeover in1992, Tommy made its way to Broadway, winning five Tony Awards the following year, among them Best Choreography, Direction of a Musical and Original Score.
The album solidified its place in Rock and Roll history when it was inducted into The Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.
Check out some of Tommy’s greatest hits below, and head to The Who’s official website for more on the album and all of the band’s latest updates!