Updated March 6, 2024

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January 1972

New music releases: "Heart of Gold" - Neil Young; Paul Simon - Paul Simon; Jackson Browne - Jackson Browne; "Down by the Lazy River" - The Osmonds

On the 15th, Billboard lists "Let's See Action" as #3 in Singapore.

Rolling Stone names The Who band of the year and awards Who's Next album of the year.

Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy Gold award
Courtesy: The Who Collection

On the 17th, Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy is certified gold by the RIAA.

Chris Entwistle born

On the 23rd, John's son Christopher is born at Queen Charlotte's Maternity Hospital in Hammersmith.


At the end of the month, the Universal Spiritual League releases the Meher Baba-dedicated album I Am. It is produced by Pete and contains a 9:50 edit of the instrumental "Baba O'Riley" as well as his musical version of Baba's prayer "O Parvardigar," that becomes the main hymn for Baba followers. In addition Pete plays synthesizer on "Dragon," guitar and drums on "Affirmation" and synthesized flute on Billy Nicholls' "This Song Is Green."

The Who, meanwhile, are off group duty until May, their first long break since they started their road to international success over seven years before. Pete takes off for his first trip to India on the 29th, a bit hungover after celebrating his father's 56th birthday the night before.

February 1972

New album releases: Harvest - Neil Young; "Tiny Dancer" - Elton John; Greatest Hits - Blood, Sweat & Tears; Eat a Peach - The Allman Brothers Band
Sunday Observer 19 Mar 1972

On the 10th, The Who assemble at a studio in Blackfairs for Tony McGrath to shoot a recreation of their 1966 photo for a new cover article in The Observer. Keith is late in arriving from a Disc and Music Echo party at Hatchett's Club in Piccadilly where he and John accepted The Who's award for Best Live Band. John can be seen restraining Keith who has tried to attack the hapless photographer. The issue is released 19 March.

Daltrey: tea in the country with the Who singe

On the 12th, New Musical Express prints the article: "Daltrey: tea in the country with the Who singer." Roger says football is replacing rock as the major youth interest.

Sweden I Can't Explain 1972

"I Can't Explain" is released in Sweden as a single backed with "Baba O'Riley."

March 1972

New music releases: Machine Head - Deep Purple; "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" - Roberta Flack; "(Last Night) I Didn't Get To Sleep At All" - The 5th Dimension; Bare Trees - Fleetwood Mac

In Crawdaddy, Brian John Murphy writes a retrospective review of The Who Sell Out, which he says was unfairly ignored on release and superior to The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Guitar Player prints a long Pete interview that covers his guitar technique.

On the 18th, Billboard magazine gives a thumbs-down to a production of Tommy in Los Angeles. In the same issue they report that "Let's See Action" has reached #8 in Poland.

Keith Moon and Kim Moon Mar 1972

On or around the 19th, Keith, who never learned how to drive, returns to his home from The Sgt. Pepper Club in Staines, driving his AC 428 (Fastback) car at 140 mph through three fences, skidding on through farm land and ultimately stopping four feet short of a reservoir.

On the 27th, Pete pre-records his appearance on the BBC1 TV programme How Can You Be So Sure? discussing his belief in Meher Baba.

On the 28th, film of Pete mixing Billy Nicholls' "Forever's No Time At All" and playing a synthesizer is seen in the ATV-TV documentary Whatever Happened to Tin Pan Alley?

Also on the 28th, Keith makes up for the totaled AC 428 by purchasing a 1938 Chrysler Model Wimbledon Limousine.

April 1972

New music releases: "Rocket Man" - Elton John; "Lean on Me" - Bill Withers; "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress" - The Hollies; "Starman" - David Bowie
Pete Townshend NME 1 Apr 1872

On the 1st, New Musical Express prints part one of a long interview with Pete conducted by Chris Van Ness in Denver the previous December. Parts two and three follow on the 8th and 15th.

Creem magazine reports that Pete was stopped for speeding, this time on the Thames in a hovercraft.

Keith Moon vacation Apr 1972
Photo: David Butler

During this month, Keith vacations on Gibraltar and in Tangiers.

John Entwistle in studio April 1972
Photo: Jorgen Angel

John, meanwhile, spends this month and the next recording his second solo album Whistle Rymes at Island Studios, West London while Roger produces the Ellis Group LP Riding On The Crest Of A Slump at Olympic Studios.

Melody Maker 22 Apr 1972

On the 22nd, Melody Maker prints an interview with a surprisingly sober Keith. Chris Charlesworth conducts the interview.

Also on the 22nd, "Behind Blue Eyes" backed with "Going Mobile" enters the Dutch charts and peaks at #27.

On the 28th, Keith is on the Thames Television show Today debating the merits of open-air festivals with Tory politicians.

May 1972

New music releases: Exile On Main St. - The Rolling Stones; "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" - The Temptations; Frank Sinatra's Greatest Hits Vol. II - Frank Sinatra; Honky Chateau - Elton John

On the 2nd, Pete records his demo for "Long Live Rock" at his home in Twickenham.

Tommy Part One LP

On the 13th, Tommy (Part One), a budget re-release of disc one of the Tommy LP, hits store shelves in Britain. Those who have heard the original and buy this one find "Eyesight To The Blind" now features an alternate vocal.

Pete Townshend 1972 demo reel

After six months off from performing together, The Who reunite on the 19th for the first documented session of the Who's Next follow-up album at Olympic Sound Studios in Barnes, England. Glyn Johns again handles the production for the LP, provisionally titled "Rock Is Dead - Long Live Rock". In addition to the tracks recorded, Pete also presents the demos "Get Inside," "Women's Liberation" (known on bootlegs as "Riot In The Female Jail") and "Why Can't You See I'm Easy."

"Join Together With The Band" is recorded on the 22nd. Coming in at around seven minutes and ending with a long, blistering electric guitar performance by Pete, the track will have its title and it length shortened for later single release. "Relay," recorded on the 26th, is also shortened for later single release.

While recording in the studio, both John and Pete spend their off time working on their own solo projects; John mixing his second LP Whistle Rymes at Nova Sound Recording Studios in Marble Arch and Pete remixing demos and tracks from the Meher Baba devotional albums for his LP Who Came First at Olympic Studios.

This month or the next Pete plays percussion on "Car Radio" and guitar on "Tonight's Number" as part of the soundtrack to actor and fellow Meher Baba devotee Alexis Kanner's film Mahoney's Last Stand.

June 1972

New music releases: Simon & Garfunkel's Greatest Hits - Simon & Garfunkel; Elvis as Recorded at Madison Square Garden - Elvis Presley; A Song For You - The Carpenters; The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars - David Bowie
Keith Moon Garden Party

On the 3rd, Keith Moon emcees a "Garden Party" at the Crystal Palace Bowl in South London. The acts are Joe Cocker, Sha Na Na, Richie Havens, The Beach Boys and Melanie. Keith arrives at the lakeside concert in his mini-hovercraft falling into the water and getting drenched. He later cuts his foot and has to be carried to the hospital but limps back to take final bows.

On the 5th, The Who record "Long Live Rock" at Olympic Studios, London. The song is meant as the title track for a never-shot Who television special. On the 6th, they record "Put The Money Down" as an instrumental track with guide vocal, leaving it unfinished. By the end of the month The Who have decided to abandon their last two months' attempt to record a follow-up to the Who's Next album. "Long Live Rock" and "Put The Money Down" will remain unreleased for over two years.

With the extra free time, Pete spends a large part of the month installing a new 16-track recording in his Cleeve cottage, doing all the wiring himself.

Keith Moon Sha Na Na

On the 9th, Keith emcees the Sha Na Na concert at the Mayfair Ballroom in Newcastle. He continues to appear with the group, introducing them, at many stops of their 1972 European tour.

Some Time In New York City

On the 12th, John Lennon and Yoko Ono's album Some Time in New York City is released in the U.S. The double album features Keith Moon, credited as "Keif Spoon," drumming on live versions of "Cold Turkey" and "Don't Worry Kyoko" from the December 15, 1969 Lyceum concert.

Join Together UK ad

On the 16th, "Join Together" backed with a live recording of "Baby Don't You Do It" is released in Britain. Chris Welch in Melody Maker calls it rather bland but Roy Carr in New Musical Express calls both sides of the single "10 minutes and 39 seconds of the best music available." The fans agree with Roy, sending it to #9 in the charts.

Tommy Part 2 LP

On the 24th, Track Records releases the stand-alone second disc Tommy (Part 2) in Britain as part of Track's effort to provide cheaper alternatives to cash-strapped British youth. It does not chart.

Sounds 24 Jun 1972

On the same day Pete tells Sounds magazine that widespread bootlegging of the Meher Baba devotional albums that have featured his work will lead to him releasing a collection of them through his legitimate record label. It will be called Who Came First. Pete will later discover that MCA mistook the actual releases of the Baba albums for bootlegs.

Join Together shooting ticket

On the 25th, The Who gather together a select audience of fans at the London Weekend TV studios in Wembley to shoot the promotional film for their new single "Join Together." Michael Lindsay-Hogg directs. The start time is 1pm and refreshments are served. During the early part of filming, Pete slices his right hand open during a windmill and has to be carted off for stitches and bandages. Shooting resumes after his return. Afterwards, Pete is interviewed on camera by the makers of the movie Jimi Hendrix recounting their backstage battle at Monterey five years before.

Gallagher And Lyle

On the 30th, Gallagher and Lyle release their single "Give A Boy A Break." Pete plays bass on the track and Glyn Johns produces.

July 1972

New music releases: Chicago V - Chicago; Toulouse Street - The Doobie Brothers; Moods - Neil Diamond; "My Ding-a-Ling" - Chuck Berry
Drummer Taken to Hospital

Keith begins the month continuing to follow the Sha Na Na tour to Europe to act as compère. However, at the taping of a TV special in Knokke, Belgium, Keith tries a double somersault and jackknife onstage and ends up landing offstage. He spends three days partially recovering in a Belgian hospital.

Keith Moon and Mandy

On the 7th, New Musical Express has an interview conducted by Roy Carr with Keith called "The Loon in Moon." It is accompanied by pictures of Keith with his wife Kim and daughter Mandy that, in less liberal times, would have sparked an immediate call to Child Welfare.

Join Together ad

On the 8th, an ad for the new Who single "Join Together" appears in Billboard. It reaches #17 in their charts and #28 in Cash Box.

On the 11th, "Join Together" becomes the only Who single to appear in the official Switzerland charts, peaking at #9.

On the 12th, the London Symphony Orchestra records the new Pete song "Love, Reign O'er Me" intended for the orchestral Tommy album. Maggie Bell ultimately records a vocal. That version remains unreleased to date although the symphonic recording may be the one used by Ronnie Charles for his cover of the song on his album Prestidigitation.

On the same day, Keith is admitted to Weybridge Hospital to remove an abscess at the base of his spine.

On the 13th, the promotional clip for "Join Together" airs on BBC's Top Of The Pops. It is repeated the following week.

Hands of Jack The Ripper

On the 14th, the album Hands of Jack The Ripper by Lord Sutch and His Heavy Friends is released by Atlantic. Keith performs on "Jenny Jenny" and "Good Golly Miss Molly" taken from the 12 April 1970 live performance.

The American Record Guide harshly attacks the packaging of Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy for not declaring it to be a collection of previously released songs.

On the 16th, Keith hosts an Anti-Apartheid supper and celebrity concert on the grounds of his home, Tara, in Chertsey. Blossom Dearie, John Bird, Eleanor Bron and The Scaffold provide entertainment. Keith, fresh from hospital, limits himself to running around in his gold lamé Sha Na Na outfit.

On the 18th, NBC-TV in the U.S. airs the special Good Vibrations From London with the June 3 Beach Boys concert that had been compèred by Keith.

Whatever Turned Me On

On the 22nd, Keith discusses his influences in New Musical Express. Although he says he admires Carlo Little (Lord Sutch), Bob Henrit (The Roulettes), and D.J. Fontana (Elvis Presley), Keith admits when The Who recorded their first singles, "I wasn't aware of anyone influencing me."

On the 26th, Pete, having decided that Nik Cohn's Who script "Rock Is Dead (Rock Lives)" is not what he is seeking, begins work on a new story based around a fictional Who fan named "Jimmy" who has a four-personality split based on the four members of The Who. He puts together a preliminary song list: "Cut My Hair", "Joker James" (a leftover track from 1968), "Quazophrenic", "You Came Back" and "We Close Tonight."

August 1972

New music releases: "Burning Love" - Elvis Presley; "Everybody Plays the Fool" - The Main Ingredient; "Back Stabbers" - O'Jays; "Black & White" - Three Dog Night

Eric Clapton asks Pete to mix the uncompleted tapes of the second Derek and The Dominos album. Pete travels to Eric's home at Hurtwood Edge but finds the tapes too unfinished to complete and Eric too strung out on heroin to finish them. While he tries to think of a way to get Eric clean again, Pete turns Eric's tapes over to Bobby Pridden for cataloging.

Revelations LP

On the 3rd, the three-record set Revelations ('A Musical Anthology For Glastonbury Fayre') is released in the U.K. with one Pete solo track, "Classified."

Record Mirror 5 Aug 1972

On the 5th, John is interviewed in Record Mirror: "Why the WHO play better in the U.S."

Also on the 5th, Billboard reports that "Join Together" has peaked at #9 on the Swiss charts.

On the 7th, The Who and Glyn Johns go back into the studio to record the last song of the aborted 1972 session, Keith's composition "Waspman."

On the 9th, a Variety article: "Unlicensed doubleheader of Tommy and Superstar blocked in fed court." Track Music had taken legal action to prevent a group of Catholic priests from organizing a live performance of Tommy.

Andy Newman Rainbow

On the 11th, Andy Newman's solo LP Rainbow is released in the U.K. by Track Records. Pete is listed as "overseer" and executive producer.

The Who Frankfurt 1972 poster

Also on the 11th, The Who and opening act Golden Earring travel to the Festhalle in Frankfurt, Germany to begin a European tour. It is The Who's first concert in seven months, their longest time off the stage to that date. The as-yet unreleased songs "Long Live Rock" and "Relay" are premiered. Pete does his leap and slide across the stage, only to find he has forgotten to put on his protective kneepads.

The next night, a less mobile Townshend performs with The Who at the Ernst-Merck Halle in Hamburg on the 12th. Black-and-white footage from backstage is shot by RAI television and a sequence is used in the finale of The Kids Are Alright.

Keith flies back to London the next day to film a brief cameo in a warehouse at the Surrey Docks for Ringo Starr's comedy-horror film Count Downe, later retitled Son Of Dracula. Keith is seen miming drums to Harry Nilsson's studio version of "Jump Into the Fire."

Dave Edmunds produces a recording session for the garage band The Flamin' Groovies at Rockfield Studios in Wales. During those sessions, a cover of "I Can't Explain" is recorded but it will not be released until 1977.

On the 12th and 19th, Pete is heard on BBC Radio One's Scene And Heard discussing his forthcoming solo album Who Came First. He also talks about it in a New Musical Express interview on the 19th called "Townshend: pill head mod turned accursed intellectual."

Melody Maker 19 Aug 1972

Also on the 19th, Melody Maker prints an interview with Pete entitled "The Eternal Mod." In it, Pete gives the first description of the project that will ultimately become Quadrophenia. "I'm not only writing something that's less of an opera than 'Tommy' ever was, but it's even about adolescence," he laughs self-mockingly. It would appear, in fact, to be an historical retrospect of the four people involved in the Who: Moon as the insane, Entwistle as the romantic, Daltrey as the bad, Townshend as the good. "They join together and become one piece of music." He also discusses the 1968 plans for The Who and The Rolling Stones to tour the U.K. on a train in the guise of a carnival that led to the then-unreleased television special The Rolling Stones' Rock 'n' Roll Circus.

The Who Amsterdam 1972

The European tour resumes at the Forest National Stadium in Brussels (16th), Oude Rai Auditorium in Amsterdam (17th), KB Hallen in Copenhagen (21st) and the Kungliga Tennishallen in Stockholm (23rd). The press reports The Who come down with food poisoning on the flight to Amsterdam. In Stockholm The Who and their support crew are interviewed and part of the concert is filmed for a Swedish television documentary entitled Roadies.

Pete Townshend Copenhagen 1972

After this The Who head to the Sandinavium in Gothenburg, Sweden (24th) then back to the KB Hallen in Copenhagen (25th). The two KB Hallen dates in Copenhagen were originally scheduled as a double show on the 21st but the second show was moved to the 25th. At this show Pete plays an early version of "However Much I Booze." Also in Copenhagen, Keith punctures his waterbed, while trying to drag it out of his room, flooding an entire floor of his hotel.

On the 26th, "Join Together" enters Sweden's Tio I Topp charts where it will peak at #16.

September 1972

New music releases: Summer Breeze - Seals & Crofts; Rocky Mountain High - John Denver; Close To The Edge - Yes; Black Sabbath - Vol. 4 - Black Sabbath

On the 2nd, Billboard reports that a number of U.S. college radio stations have begun playing imported copies of "Let's See Action".

The Who Munich poster 1972

The Who continue their European tour stopping at the Stadthalle in Vienna on the 2nd and the Deutsches Museum in Munich on the 4th. Munich is later released on bootlegs under the titles Live In Munich and Who Is This? The Munich concert coincides with the Olympics and The Who are honored as "Star of the Week" by the Munich Abendzeitung who declare them "extraordinary performers in the cultural and political field." By horrible coincidence, within hours of the concert Palestinian terrorists seize the living quarters of the Israel Olympic team. Eleven of the athletes are later murdered by the terrorists.

From Munich, The Who travel to the Mehrzeckhalle in Zurich on the 5th. A previously announced show on the 8th at the Ahoy Halle in Rotterdam is canceled.

The Who Fete de l'Humanite 1972
Photo: Michael Putland

On the 9th, The Who are the main performers at Fete de l'Humanité, an annual event sponsored by the chief newspaper of the French Communist Party. Four hundred thousand attend and the concert is filmed by Freddy Hausser. Pete takes Eric Clapton with him as part of his effort to get him off heroin and back in circulation. During The Who's set, Eric is mistaken for a fan and is escorted from the wings by one of the stage crew.

Also on the 9th, "Join Together" hits its U.S. peak at #17. Billboard also reports the single has reached #3 on the Radio Hong Kong charts and #10 in Switzerland.

The Who Rome review 1972

The Fete is followed by the Sportpalace in Lyons on the 10th and the European tour ends at Palazzo dello Sport in Rome on the 14th. The audience in Rome give the band a very tepid reaction after Pete smashes his guitar in violent reaction to the venue's poor PA system. The Who do not return to Italy until 2007.

William David Ormsby-Gore

Pete meets with William David Ormsby-Gore, 5th Baron Harlech whose daughter is Eric Clapton's girlfriend and also a heroin user. Lord Harlech is organizing events commemorating England's entry into the Common Market and, as part of it, he and Pete set up a concert for Eric at the Rainbow Theatre in London. It is hoped that the pressure of preparing for a live show will force Eric to clean up.

Also during this month, recording of the vocal parts for the all-star London Symphony Orchestra version of Tommy begins.

Ramport Studios in 2010

On the 25th, The Who purchase an abandoned warehouse at 115 Thessaly Road in Battersea to turn into a recording studio and a storage shed for their thirty tons of touring equipment. It will eventually be named Ramport Studios.

On the 28th, a version of "Long Live Rock" is recorded at Olympic Studios with Billy Fury on vocals, Pete and Ron Wood on guitars, Keith on drums, Jack Bruce on bass, Graham Bond on sax, and John Hawken on piano. It is released on the U.K.-only soundtrack to That'll Be the Day in 1973.

Who Came First

On the 29th, Pete releases the album Who Came First as a solo album although it is primarily a compilation of demo tracks recorded over the past two years for The Who and previously released selections from the Meher Baba albums Happy Birthday and I Am. Most reviewers find it pleasant listening with Records and Recording magazine praising Pete for a religious album that is not insipid. The album reaches #30 in the U.K. In the U.S., Who Came First is not released until early November where it peaks at #69.

Ellis LP

Also on the 29th, The Ellis Group releases their album Riding On The Crest Of A Slump in the U.K. It is produced by Roger and fails to chart. The U.S. release, similarly fated in the charts, does not happen until Jan. 17th.

October 1972

New music releases: "Superstition" - Stevie Wonder; "Crocodile Rock" - Elton John; Creedence Gold - Creedence Clearwater Revival; I'm Still in Love with You - Al Green

On the 3rd, Roger's first daughter Rosie Lea is born at Pembury Hospital in Kent.

Rolling Stone has a short interview with Pete about Who Came First and plans for the new Who album.

The Who race car presser

On the 5th, Keith and Pete attend a press party at the Europa Hotel in London to announce that The Who have sponsored a race car in the RAC Daily Mirror Rally of Great Britain. They are photographed on the hood of the car pouring champagne for two bikini-clad models. John misses out on the festivities as he is in the U.S. on a three-week promotional jaunt for his new solo album Whistle Rymes.

Lou Reizner completes the recording of the London Symphony Orchestra's version of Tommy during this month.

Moon Shadow Labelle

LaBelle releases their album Moon Shadow that opens with a Kit Lambert-produced R&B cover of "Won't Get Fooled Again."

On the 18th, Melody Maker reports that John, who has recently returned from the U.S., has formed a new solo band called Ro Ro and is playing unannounced university dates in the U.K. before going into the studio to record his third solo album. The actual name of the group is Rigor Mortis. With John on bass, the group consists of Alan Ross (guitar), Grahame Deakin (drums), Andy Sneddon (second bass) and Michael Ship (keyboards).

On the 23rd, Atlanta's underground newspaper The Great Speckled Bird carries a negative review of a multi-media production of Tommy at Georgia State University.

Keith Moon in That'll Be The Day

On the 25th, Keith reports to the set of That'll Be The Day at Warners Holiday Camp where he is playing drummer J. D. Clover in the rock 'n' roll movie set in the late 1950s. He is on set through the 27th there and at the Lakeside Inn in Wootton Bridge on the Isle of Wight.

On the 28th, The United States Council For World Affairs adopts "Join Together" as its anthem.

November 1972

New music releases: They Only Come Out At Night - The Edgar Winter Group; Burning Love and Hits from his Movies, Volume 2 - Elvis Presley; Europe '72 - The Grateful Dead; No Secrets - Carly Simon

On the 1st, Pete records the demo for "Sea and Sand" for Quadrophenia at his home studio in Twickenham. Also during the month he demos "Punk" later to be called "The Punk and the Godfather".

On the 2nd, a documentary film called Shadows Of Bliss is broadcast on BBC-2 TV's Horizon series. The program deals with recent discoveries about sub-atomic particles and features instrumental tracks of Pete's demos of "The Relay" and "Love, Reign O'er Me".

Whistle Rymes

On the 3rd, John's second solo album Whistle Rymes is released in the U.K. The U.S. release is the following day. The album's name is deliberately misspelled in reference to the usual mistaken spelling of John's last name as "Entwhistle". Roy Carr in New Musical Express says the songs "make Alice Cooper's capers appear as harmless as The Magic Roundabout." Electric guitars are played by ex-Thunderclap Newman and future Wing Jimmy McCulloch and future alive comer Peter Frampton. The U.S. boosts the LP to #138 on the Billboard charts.

On the 4th, Melody Maker reports that the upcoming live concert of the all-star version of Tommy has been banned from the Royal Albert Hall.

Billion Dollar Babies sessions

Sometime between the 6th and the 10th, Keith Moon sits in with Alice Cooper during the Billion Dollar Babies LP sessions at Morgan Studios in Willesden. Also playing along are Marc Bolan, Harry Nilsson and Rick Grech. A musical jam by this all-star cast is recorded but is not released until 2001.

John continues recording his third solo album Rigor Mortis Sets In at Novasound Studios, London.

Meanwhile, The Who begin construction of their new studio in Battersea where they had been storing their touring equipment.

Crawdaddy magazine carries an ad for Pete's recent album Who Came First. The ad contains a half-page essay by Pete explaining why he released the record.

On the 19th, 35 radio stations in the U.S. broadcast the entirety of the new London Symphony Orchestra recording of Tommy.

Orchestral Tommy booklet

On the 20th, the all-star recording of Tommy by the London Symphony orchestra is released worldwide. Pete sings the Narrator, Roger sings Tommy and John sings Cousin Kevin. The elaborately packaged double album goes Gold on shipment to the U.S. and ultimately reaches #5 in the Billboard charts. In fact, to many record stores in the U.S., the orchestral Tommy becomes their primary draw during the 1972 Christmas sales season. The LP is also released in quadraphonic sound, the only non-bootleg Who-related album to be released in that format. In Australia, the album reaches #2 but in The Who's home territory, the album does not make it to the charts. Roy Carr gives it a rave review in New Musical Express and Audio calls it better than the original album. Disagreeing is Lester Bangs in Rolling Stone who dismisses it as "only product, and Christmas product at that" and Ed Ward in Creem whose opprobrium extends to all rock operas and concept albums. The success of the album will lead Reizner and Robert Stigwood to revive the idea of making a movie of Tommy.

Relay US ad

On the 25th, a new record featuring unadulterated Who is released in the U.S. "The Relay" backed with "Waspman" will peak at #39 in Billboard and #33 in Cash Box.

Keith Moon in drag

On the same day Keith compères a benefit for the Southern California Council of Free Clinics at Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles. Dressed in drag, he introduces Stevie Wonder and Shanana.

On the 28th, Pete is interviewed about the London Symphony Orchestra's Tommy for the programme Scene and Heard.

Rolling Stone Keith Moon cover

In an interview for Rolling Stone, Keith reminisces about the many legendary feats with which he is associated, some of which actually occurred.

December 1972

New music releases: Hot August Night - Neil Diamond; Made in Japan - Deep Purple; Separate Ways - Elvis Presley; "Love Train" - The O'Jays

On the 1st, Pete is a guest on BBC Radio 1's Roundtable. The next day he is on Scene and Heard discussing the orchestral version of Tommy.

The 5th marks the beginning of three days of rehearsal for the upcoming live performance of the orchestral Tommy. During a break, Pete tells Roy Carr of New Musical Express that he is working on a new rock opera he calls "Jimmy."

Roger Daltrey Rainbow 09-12-72

On the 9th, Tommy is presented with the London Symphony Orchestra in two live performances at the Rainbow Theatre in London. The production was originally planned for the LSO's regular venue at the Royal Albert Hall, but the Hall's management refuses because rock stars would be involved and because they consider Tommy to be "unsavory." Roger performs the title role, John is Cousin Kevin, Keith is Uncle Ernie and Pete sings the narrator. Rod Stewart, Peter Sellers, Stevie Winwood, Richie Havens, Sandy Denny and Merry Clayton round out the cast.

Pete Townshend Rainbow 09-12-72
Photo: Colin Davey

The theater stage is designed to resemble a giant pinball machine. Keith has a great time playing Uncle Ernie but Pete gets drunk on brandy, misses cues, insults the audience and, at the end, pretends to wipe his bottom with the libretto before walking offstage. Tickets for the show are the highest in British theatrical history at that time, £200 each, but both shows sell out and raise £10,000 for the Stars Organization For Spastics. Both Rolling Stone and Melody Maker pan the show, decrying the "showbiz quality" of the event.

The Who The Relay German picture sleeve
German picture sleeve

On the 23rd, The Who's newest single, "Relay" backed with "Waspman," is released in Britain. It is The Who's last stand-alone single not pulled from an album until 2004. Tony Stewart reviews "Relay" for New Musical Express: "Why don't this band ever fail? Simply because they're the guv'nors in rock 'n roll. And this composition by Pete Townshend must be their best single to date. It's a calculated time-structure piece and not an all-out rocker, thus giving Big John and Keith room to prove their feel and expertise, as well as allowing Roger to use the full force and range of his voice. There's an unforgettable chorus line, and some neat guitar lines hitting out. I do believe they've done it again." What they've done peaks at #21 in the U.K. charts.

Also on the 23rd Chris Charlesworth interviews John in New Musical Express. John discusses his new solo band and gives Chris a tour of his mansion in Gloucestershire.

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