New music releases: Blood On The Tracks - Bob Dylan; "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" - Freddy Fender; "Shining Star" - Earth, Wind & Fire; "Lovin' You" - Minnie Ripperton
John Entwistle's Ox continue their University tour of the U.K. playing Edinburgh University on the 10th, Leeds University on the 11th, Plymouth Guildhall on the 14th, Exeter University on the 15th, Brunel University, Uxbridge on the 17th, Liverpool University on the 22nd, the University of East Anglia on the 24th, and Leicester University on the 25th. Unicorn is the opening act at all the shows.
In an interview in Creem, Pete makes some rather tactless remarks about his fellow bandmates' solo albums; first Roger's Daltrey ("I don't like that kind of music. I don't like that kind of album.") then John's ("I don't really like his albums either").
On the 25th, Tony Palmer gets a sneak preview of the new Tommy movie for Melody Maker and declares it "a major work of art."
On the 29th, Keith Moon and David Essex attend the U.S. premier of the movie Stardust at the Sack Cheri Complex, Boston. Afterwards Columbia Pictures holds a cocktail party at the Ritz-Carlton.
On the 31st, Keith attends a party celebrating Lynyrd Skynyrd's Academy Of Music show.
New music releases: Physical Graffiti - Led Zeppelin; An Evening With John Denver - John Denver; "Philadelphia Freedom" - Elton John; "Get Down Tonight" - K.C. & The Sunshine Band
On the 3rd, Ken Russell's bizarre re-imagining of the life of Franz Liszt, Lisztomania, begins a four-month shoot ending May 23. Roger, star of Russell's soon-to-be-released film, Tommy: The Movie, plays Liszt with Paul Nicholas (Cousin Kevin) as Richard Wagner, Ringo Starr as The Pope and Rick Wakeman, who is also supplying the soundtrack, as Wagner's creation Siegfried.
When he is not on set, Roger spends the early part of this month completing his second solo album, the disco-influenced Ride a Rock Horse.
On the 14th, John and his band pre-tape performances of "Mad Dog" and "Cell Number 7" for later airing on BBC2's The Old Grey Whistle Test.
On the 15th, John and his solo band Ox release a single in Europe from their forthcoming album. "Mad Dog," the album's title song, backed with "Cell Number 7," a song about The Who's 1973 Montreal arrest, fails to chart and is denounced by Colin Irwin in Melody Maker as "the bore of the week."
On the 21st, John and Ox begin a U.S. tour occasionally opening for the J. Geils Band. The tour stops at the Civic Auditorium in Sacramento (21st), the Winterland in San Francisco (22nd and 23rd), and Long Beach Arena (26th). The night of Long Beach, MCA holds a promotional party for the release of the Mad Dog album. Both Pete, in town to promote Tommy: The Movie, and Los Angeles-native Keith attend.
On the 22nd, the soundtrack to Tommy: The Movie is released for the U.S. market a month ahead of the movie. It contains five new Townshend compositions and surpasses the chart position of the original album, reaching #2 despite widespread negative reviews in the rock press.
On the 26th, Variety reports on marketing test runs conducted by Columbia Pictures looking for ways to promote Tommy: The Movie to non-rock audiences.
On the 28th, John's fourth solo album, Mad Dog, is released. With only one or two exceptions, the album is roundly panned by the rock press and sells less than John's previous efforts. It does not chart in the U.K. and reaches only #192 in its one week on the Billboard charts.
New music releases: That's The Way of the World - Earth, Wind & Fire; Pure Gold - Elvis Presley; Between the Lines - Janis Ian; Young Americans - David Bowie
On the 1st, Melody Maker reports on Simon Townshend 's recently recorded first album and Pete' s production of a record for singer John Otway.
Also on the 1st, John and his solo band The Ox continue their North American tour at Massey Hall in Toronto, Canada as the opening act for the J. Geils Band. The Ox is the headlining act at Detroit's Masonic Temple (2nd), Agora Ballroom in Columbus, Ohio (3rd), the Civic Theatre in Akron, Ohio (5th), New York City's Academy Of Music (8th), Century II in Buffalo, New York for promoter Harvey Weinstein (9th), Washington D.C.'s Constitution Hall (10th), and New York' s Calderone Concert Hall (16th). Other non-headlining dates are Boston's Orpheum Theater co-billed with Roy Buchanan (become headlining after Buchanan cancels) (7th), Philadelphia's Spectrum opening for Humble Pie (15th), Hempstead, Billero Hall, Allentown College, Allentown, Pennsylvania (17th), Chicago's Aire Crown Theater opening for Joe Walsh (20th), the Indiana Fairgrounds Coliseum in Indianapolis opening for Joe Walsh (21st), Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois supporting J. Geils Band and James Cotton (22nd), and ending in St. Louis, Missouri opening for Joe Walsh (23rd).
Some dates, such as Atlanta's Municipal Auditorium (13th) are advertised but cancelled due to poor ticket sales. Peter Frampton would have been the supporting act. The Philadelphia show is recorded and broadcast later on the King Biscuit Flower Hour syndicated radio show and is released commercially in 1997. By the end of the tour John is disgusted by both the cost of touring (a personal loss of more than $370,000) and tensions within the band particularly between himself and his lead guitarist who apes Pete's well-known stage moves.
In remarks to Rolling Stone, Pete says, "The chasm between the original record album [of Tommy] and the film is a great one, but everything Ken Russell has done with the story and the music has my full blessing." Rolling Stone also reports that, prior to beginning the film, Robert Stigwood had a survey performed revealing a 55% awareness of the rock opera in the general American populace.
On the 7th, Pete records a 2 1/2 hour radio special for BBC Radio 1's Rock Week previewing the soundtrack to Tommy: The Movie. The show broadcasts the following day.
On the 8th, Keith Moon's forthcoming solo album Two Sides Of The Moon receives a favorable review in Melody Maker. The article also includes a photo of Iggy Pop riding on Keith's back.
On the 12th, A. D. Murphy in Variety, the U.S. movie industry bible, gives Tommy: The Movie a rave review and says it has great box-office potential.
On the 14th, Roger is interviewed in his dressing room at Shepperton for The Old Grey Whistle Test.
On the 15th, Tommy the movie has its world premiere in Dallas. The location happens in honor of one of its stars, and the only member of the cast to attend, Ann Margret who got her start in show business in Dallas.
MCA sends U.S. radio stations the promotional LP Who's Ox. Side one contains Who songs written by John while side two has John solo songs.
The U.S. Navy Recruiting Office puts out a two-LP set called Sounds Like The Navy. It contains an interview with Keith Moon conducted by Los Angeles DJ Sam Riddle. Keith plays Who songs and cuts from his new solo album.
A double A-side single from the Tommy: The Movie soundtrack is released worldwide. "Listening To You/See Me, Feel Me" by Roger Daltrey, The Who and chorus is paired with the non-LP track "Overture from Tommy" performed by Pete. The single fails to chart in the U.S. or U.K.
Keith is interviewed by Andy McConnell in Crawdaddy magazine. Moon declares, "It's immunity from the consequences that I like. When people ask me if I act like that at home, the answer is yes!"
On the 17th, Keith Moon's one and only solo album Two Sides Of The Moon is released in the U.S. Ringo Starr supplies the title after Keith's "Like a Rat Stuffed Up A Pipe" is rejected. The sleeve features a cut-out with Keith looking through the window of a limousine. When the inner sleeve is reversed, a bare bottom is shown mooning. It does receive the aforementioned positive review in Melody Maker and gets a B from reviewer Robert Christgau but otherwise is panned, especially by Dave Marsh in Rolling Stone. After considerable money spent by MCA Records, two producers and nine months in production, it peaks in the U.S. at #155 on the Billboard charts.
Pete spends the 17th at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York City, running Tommy: The Movie over and over while he checks for problems with the film's Quintaphonic soundtrack. Also this day or the next, Pete has a meeting in his hotel room with Who fan and photographer Jeff Stein who proposes making a documentary film on The Who built out of old footage and television appearances, the movie that will eventually become The Kids Are Alright.
On the 18th, Tommy: The Movie has its New York premiere at the Ziegfeld Theater. A morning press conference is attended by all the movie's stars except Oliver Reed, Jack Nicholson and Roger and Ken Russell who are in England working on Lisztomania. The film receives a standing ovation despite occasional sound problems. Afterwards The Who and celebrities attend a midnight party designed by new Hollywood hotshot Allan Carr in a sealed-off section of a New York subway station located under the IND Station at 57th Street and Sixth Avenue.
The next night Tommy: The Movie has its Los Angeles premiere at Mann's Wilshire Theater. Pete, Keith, John, Ann-Margret, Tina Turner, Elton John and Robert Stigwood attend. All are interviewed by David Frost for an ABC Wide World Special. Other celebrities interviewed by Army Archerd going into the theater or the afterwards party held at the Studio One Club include Paul and Linda McCartney, Ron Wood, Kenney Jones, Sally Kellerman, Dean Martin, Tommy Smothers and Ryan and Tatum O'Neal. The special airs on U.S. television on the 26th.
The Chicago premiere is on the 20th, the same night John Entwistle's Ox is performing in that city at the Arie Crown Theater.
Against widespread industry expectations that a movie with a soundtrack of only rock music will fail to find a mass audience, Tommy: The Movie becomes a box-office "sensation" earning $16 million in the U.S. alone (and placing #10 for 1975 films). The mainstream press reviewers love the film, praising Russell's excessive vision and the film's sense of fun. However, long-time Who fans and rock reviewers generally dislike the movie. Ian MacDonald in New Musical Express calls it a failure on every conceivable level and Jon Landau in Rolling Stone headlines his review "Too big, too late." Andrew Sarris in The Village Voice says "It confirms our belief that Rock has entered its mindlessly decadent phase, all noise and glitter and self-congratulation. It no longer comments on Us. We comment on it."
On the 20th, Roger's daughter, Willow Amber, is born at Pembury Hospital, Kent.
On the 21st, the soundtrack to Tommy: The Movie is released in the U.K. Melody Maker gives the album one of its few favorable reviews. The LP does not perform as well as in the U.S., peaking at #21.
On the 26th, Tommy: The Movie has its European premier at the Leicester Square Theatre in London. All The Who are present as well as Ken Russell, Robert Stigwood, Elton John, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Lulu, David Essex, Rod Stewart and Britt Ekland. Capital Radio's Your Mother Wouldn't Like It broadcasts live from the theatre foyer. Robert Stigwood throws a post-premiere party at the Inn on the Park in tony Mayfair. Tommy programmes, mirrors, stickers, and T-shirts are on sale at select theatres.
On the 27th, Roger and Ken Russell tape their appearances on the Russell Harty show. Roger talks about wanting to go out on the road with the "'orrible 'oo" while Russell declares only The Who can lift England from its "weird, feeble state." It is broadcast the following evening and clips are used in The Kids Are Alright.
New music releases: Toys In The Attic - Aerosmith; Straight Shooter - Bad Company; Al Green's Greatest Hits - Al Green; Beautiful Loser - Bob Seger
On the 6th, John's interview on Alison Steele's U.S. Army Reserve radio show Nightbird & Company is aired.
On the 7th, Pete demos "Girl in a Suitcase" which is rejected for the next Who album. The demo later surfaces on Pete's 1987 LP Another Scoop. Other demos recorded around this time which don't make it to the new Who album are "To Barney Kessell" and "Brrr", later released on Pete's 1985 album Scoop, "Ordinary Fella", "Fight Until You're Mine", and an unnamed 12-bar boogie track.
On the 9th, a single is released from Keith Moon's solo album. "Solid Gold" backed with the John Lennon-penned "Move Over Ms. L," hits the racks in North America. It fails to chart.
On the 11th, Keith's marriage to Kim Moon officially comes to an end at the London Divorce Court in The Strand. She is granted a decree nisi based on Keith's unreasonable behavior. Keith offers no defense. Kim by this time is living with Faces pianist Ian McLagen. Keith's payoff for the divorce: £40,000.
On the 12th, Pete, in an interview in Melody Maker, talks about his current feelings about the Tommy movie. He finds it "entertaining. I don't like the first few minutes of it. I felt that was all a bit obligatory, that front part; it's almost like padding. There's a sense of relief for me when the plane crashes and she faints and all that, and suddenly we're in the holiday camp." He also has mixed feelings about the soundtrack album. "I'm not very happy with it. Everybody but me seems to like it...I rather like 'Amazing Journey', the sound of it."
Recording for The Who's next studio album was to have begun on the 18th at Shepperton Sound Studios in London but they are held up as Keith has yet to arrive from Los Angeles and Roger is still working on the movie Lisztomania. To get things started, John borrows his solo band's drummer Graham Deakin and he and Pete begin rehearsing on the 21st.
On the 25th, the ABC Interstate Theaters movie chain in the U.S. announces that Roger has been named "Best New Star of the Year" for his performance in Tommy: The Movie. It is an award previously won by Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Dustin Hoffman, and Barbra Streisand.
On the 29th, Keith and his steady girlfriend Anette fly in from Los Angeles. The next day he joins Pete and John only to discover that, with almost two years off since he was last behind the drums in a studio, he has forgotten how to play! Nevertheless, Pete, John, Keith and guest pianist Nicky Hopkins manage to lay down the track "She Loves Everyone" that will later be retitled "They Are All in Love." Roger will supply his vocals later as he is still on the set of Lisztomania.
New music releases: Captain Fantastic and The Brown Dirt Cowboy - Elton John; "Sweet Emotion" - Aerosmith; Venus and Mars - Wings; Red Headed Stranger - Willie Nelson
On the 2nd, the Two Sides of The Moon album version of Keith Moon singing "Don't Worry Baby" is released as a single in the U.K., backed with the song "Together". It does not chart.
On the 7th, "However Much I Booze," another of Pete's very personal and painful songs for the new album, is recorded by The Who at Shepperton Studios.
During mid-month, The Who attend a meeting where they decide to sue Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp for their mismanagement of the group.
Keith Moon tells the Evening Standard that he will star in a remake of Soldiers Three with Ringo Starr and Harry Nilsson to be directed by Sam Peckinpah. The movie never happens.
On the 16th, Keith is plugging his forthcoming in the U.K. solo album Two Sides of the Moon on The Old Grey Whistle Test. He also discusses The Who's future.
An article by Pete on the history of Tommy appears in Films and Filming magazine.
On the 18th, Roger is interviewed in The New York Times. He says their is no truth to a Who split.
On the 19th, Pete reaches his 30th birthday, a rather bitter birthday for the author of "hope I die before I get old." That and the recent Lambert/Stamp lawsuit meeting make Pete angry and depressed. Unfortunately he unloads all his feelings to journalist Roy Carr who is visiting him on that day. Among some of the statements are Pete blasting Roger for saying The Who will be rocking in their wheelchairs: "he might be but you won't catch me rockin' in no wheelchair." He also says The Who's glory days are behind them. "Everybody has a hump and you have to admit that you've got to go over that hump." He also claims The Who are becoming a "golden oldies band" and that during the 1974 shows The Who were "copying what The Who used to be." Pete later says he is shocked when his conversation with Carr appears in New Musical Express on the 31st and refuses all interviews for the next two years as a result.
On the 23rd, the album Flash Fearless Versus The Zorg Women Parts 5 & 6 is released. The Rocky Horror Show-inspired musical by Dave Pierce and Steve Hammond has John Entwistle and his band The Ox providing the backing tracks throughout. In addition, John sings one of the songs, "To the Chop" and he drags Keith Moon in to do a couple of seconds of his Robert Newton impression on the otherwise Alice Cooper-sung "Space Pirates". Future Who member Kenney Jones drums on four of the tracks. The commercial failure of the album stalls plans to produce the musical onstage until a short run in 1981.
Also on the 23rd, Keith's one solo album Two Sides of The Moon gets its release in the U.K. It gets a favorable review in Melody Maker, but is blasted by Roy Carr in New Musical Express. The album does not appear in the U.K. charts. Keith, meanwhile, spends the day jetting to Cannes where Tommy: The Movie is shown as the closing film of the festival.
On the same day, Roger is finally free from the filming of Ken Russell's insane biopic Lisztomania and returns to London to record the vocals for the new Who album. On the 23rd, "Blue Red and Grey," a Pete demo with added horns, is finished as well as "Dreaming from the Waist" and "Success Story". "In a Hand or a Face" under its original title "Round And Round" is completed by the 27th, "How Many Friends" by the 28th, "Imagine A Man" by the 29th, and finishing the album "Slip Kid" and "Squeeze Box" by the 30th.
On the 30th, Roger's disco-style single "Get Your Love" backed with "World Over," both from his forthcoming solo album Ride A Rock Horse, is released in Britain. It fails to chart.
On the 26th, Keith attempts an Evel Knievel motorcycle jump at Wembley Stadium. He is introduced to the crowd by the announcer.
New music releases: One Of These Nights - The Eagles; Greatest Hits - Cat Stevens; Red Octopus - Jefferson Starship; The Heat Is On - The Isley Brothers
On the 2nd, Roger goes to Shepperton Studios for the first day of a two-day shoot of music videos to promote his forthcoming second solo album Ride a Rock Horse. The final collection, produced by Gavrick Losey premieres on the 30th at the Starlite Cinema, Mayfair Hotel, London.
On the 7th, New Musical Express reviews a stage performance of Tommy in Leicester. Melody Maker reviews another production that stars Olivia Newton-John, Cliff Richard and, as Tommy, Leo Sayer.
During the month, U.S. radio stations run The Story Of The Who, a Who history unrelated to the later U.K. album.
New music releases: Fleetwood Mac - Fleetwood Mac; The Dream Weaver - Gary Wright; "Landslide" - Fleetwood Mac; "I Can't Give You Anything (But My Love)" - The Stylistics
On the 4th, Roger's second solo album Ride A Rock Horse is released in the U.K. on Polydor. The U.S. do not get their copy on MCA until the 26th. Rolling Stone and Listening Post give practically the only positive reviews in a raft of extremely negative notices. Nevertheless the album peaks at #14 in the U.K. The U.S. release peaks at #28.
On the 7th, Keith Moon has "Happy Birthday Ringo" written in the sky above Los Angeles in honor of his fellow drummer's 35th birthday. He then sends the bill to Ringo.
The third and last single from Keith's solo album Two Sides Of The Moon is released. As with the previous two, "Crazy Like a Fox" backed with the Beatles song "In My Life" fails to chart. Despite this, Keith begins work on his never-to-be-completed second solo album later this month in Los Angeles.
On the 19th, Kit Lambert is interviewed in New Musical Express and reveals publicly that he and Chris Stamp are no longer managers of The Who. He also adds that he is suing Robert Stigwood for credit on Tommy: The Movie and for alienating the affections of Chris Stamp.
New music releases: Born To Run - Bruce Springsteen; "Born to Run" - Bruce Springsteen; The Best of The Statler Bros. - The Statler Brothers; "Walk This Way" - Aerosmith
On the 8th, a single from Roger's solo album Ride A Rock Horse, a cover of Rufus Thomas' "Walking The Dog" backed with "Proud," is released in the U.K. It doesn't chart.
On the 9th, New Musical Express prints Roger's rebuttal to Pete's remarks in his interview of 31 May. Roger doesn't hold back: "I never read such a load of bullshit in all my life." He also adds that Pete "talked himself up his own ass." To Pete's charge that Roger thought rock 'n roll was just "making records, pulling birds, getting pissed and having a good time," Roger counters that the last few bad gigs The Who had done was because Pete, John and Keith had been "...out boozing and balling all night and by the time it got to the show at night they were physically incapable of doing a good show." The interview later appears in Creem magazine in the U.S.
Also on the 9th, Keith and Roger are both presenters at the First Annual Rock Music Awards at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. Tommy: The Movie receives "Best Rock Movie or Theatrical Production." Keith receives an award on behalf of The Beatles.
Another interview with Roger appears in Rolling Stone. He says The Who's new album will be a return to basic rock 'n roll unlike Quadrophenia where "we got drowned in synthesizers."
On the 12th, Roger signs autographs at a Dallas record store. More than a thousand fans break the store's doors getting to him.
On the 13th, Roger does promotion in Atlanta, putting his hand prints in cement in front of Peaches record store. Also that day he does the Barry Chase and Scott Woodside radio show in Atlanta and an interview at the local PBS station for Cinema Showcase with Jim Whaley.
On the 14th, Keith Moon joins Eric Clapton on stage at the Los Angeles Forum to play on "Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad?" and "Eyesight To The Blind." It is later bootlegged as Stormy Monday Blues.
During this time Pete and his family have a two month vacation in the States visiting New York City, the Meher Baba Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and a Baba-oriented Sufi group in Northern California. Before his departure, he writes a letter to Roger apologizing for his remarks in the press and promising to back him in whatever decision he makes about the separation of The Who from their managers Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp.
Creem magazine prints a parody of Who rock operas called "Bible One," which is supposed to be the first part of an 80-hour rock opera encompassing the entirety of the Bible. Reviewer Jeffrey Morgan feels it reaches its peak with Keith's performance as Pontius Pilate. The Who are said to have plans to perform the entire work at a 4-day concert.
On the 18th, Roger arrives in New York for a promotional tour for Ride a Rock Horse. He holds a press conference at the MCA offices to stop rumors that The Who are about to break up over Pete and his recent skirmishes in the press.
On the 19th, Roger promotes his new album on AM America. On the 22nd, he appears on NBC-TV's Midnight Special miming to "Get Your Love" and "Walking The Dog" and performs a medley of Tommy tunes with host Helen Reddy. And on the 24th, Roger shows the host of the children's show Wonderama and the kids watching how to twirl a microphone.
On the 23rd in New Musical Express, Roy Carr provides the first printed version of the story about Keith lecturing a hotel manager on sonics. It goes like this: Keith is blasting the new Who album on a portable tape player in the lobby of a swank hotel when the manager says, "will you turn off that noise?" Keith switches it off, takes the manager back to his hotel room and has him wait outside while he demolishes the room ending with the blowing of the door off its hinges with a cherry bomb. "That was noise," Keith explains. "This," as he switches the tape player back on, "is The Who."
Also on the 23rd and 24th are two dates that Led Zeppelin had cancelled in Oakland due to Robert Plant's auto crash injury in Greece the month before. Promoter Bill Graham offers The Who $800,000 to fill in but they are unable to make it.
On the 25th, Keith tapes an appearance on the talk show The Merv Griffin Show at Television City in Los Angeles.
New music releases: Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd; Windsong - John Denver; Ted Nugent - Ted Nugent; "Mamma Mia" - ABBA
On the 8th, Keith arranges a singing session for comedian Peter Cook at Clover Recorders, Hollywood. Members of The Band and Ricky Nelson perform back up. Keith is then in the midst of recording his second, never-to-be-completed, solo album.
That evening, Keith attends Peter Sellers' 50th birthday party at Peter's home in Beverly Hills. While there Keith jams with an impromptu band consisting of David Bowie, Bill Wyman, Ron Wood, Joe Cocker, Jesse Ed Davis, Danny Kortchmar, Bobby Keyes and Nigel Olsson.
Also during this month, Keith is interviewed in his bathrobe at his Sherman Oaks home by Tony Palmer for a television special. He is also filmed recording a new song "Do Me Good".
On the 13th, a single from Roger's solo LP Ride a Rock Horse hits the U.S. charts. "Come And Get Your Love" backed with "Hearts a-Right" peaks at #68 in Billboard and #63 in Cash Box.
Alexis Korner's album Get Off My Cloud is released with liner notes by Pete.
On the 16th the new Who album, originally to be entitled "Car Tunes" but with the title changed to The Who By Numbers, receives its final mastering at IBC Studios, London. John, referring to the album's generally downbeat tone, later says the title was changed because "basically the songs weren't the kind you'd play in the car unless you wanted to drive off a bridge."
On the 18th, Pete attends a Wings concert at the Hammersmith Odeon.
On the 20th, Keith returns from Los Angeles and The Who begin rehearsals for their upcoming tour on the D Stage at Shepperton Studios.
Also on the 20th, Tina Turner's album Acid Queen hits the U.S. charts. It contains Ike Turner-arranged covers of "The Acid Queen" and "I Can See For Miles" and reaches #155 in the U.S. charts.
New music releases: "Bohemian Rhapsody" - Queen; Tryin' To Get The Feeling - Barry Manilow; Rocky Mountain Christmas - John Denver; Rock of the Westies - Elton John
On the 1st, Keith Moon appears on John Peel's BBC Radio One show to preview side one of The Who's new album The Who By Numbers. John Entwistle appears the next day to preview side two. He says Pete's songs are so personal that he is unable to discuss them.
On the 2nd, Keith is interviewed by Marc Bolan on the London regional news magazine show Today.
On the 3rd, The Who's first full-length studio album in two years, The Who By Numbers, is released. It gets strong marks from Roy Carr in New Musical Express who headlines his review "Once upon a time, Pete Townshend was young and full of hope. That was then." Chris Charlesworth in Melody Maker calls the album subdued. It reaches #7 in the British charts.
In the U.S. Dave Marsh in Rolling Stone says Pete has "pulled the fastest one of all, disguising his best concept album as a mere ten-track throwaway." Ira Robbins in Trouser Press calls it a "tremendous (albeit not their best) album." John Rowntree in Records and Recordings feels it will one day be considered a classic like Who's Next as does Steve Simels in Stereo Review, although he thinks "Blue Red and Grey" is the "worst thing they have ever committed to vinyl."
Also on the 3rd, The Who begin their first U.K. tour in two years at New Bingley Hall in Stafford. Supporting them on this tour is The Steve Gibbons Band. For the first time in concert, Keith's drums are placed on a riser but it causes him problems hearing the playback. The set consists of greatest hits plus a medley of Tommy songs revived due to the popularity of the movie. In addition, "Join Together" and the new song "Squeeze Box" have their stage debuts. Quadrophenia is represented by four songs played out of order.
Also premiering that night is The Who's new laser light show. During "See Me Feel Me" and again during "Won't Get Fooled Again" laser beams of various colors are shot out over the band into the audience. Cost of the lasers; £70,000. There is some concern about them causing damage to the audience. John "Wiggy" Wolff, The Who's production manager, runs his hands right in front of the low-watt lasers for the benefit of the press to prove they are safe. Despite this the Greater London Council bans the lasers during The Who's forthcoming Wembley Arena shows.
The Who return to New Bingley Hall the next night for a much better performance. Keith's riser is gone and the set is rearranged. Two Quadrophenia songs are dropped for the old standbys "Magic Bus" and "Summertime Blues." From there, they travel to Manchester to play the Belle Vue on the 6th and 7th. Backstage Keith and Roger engage in some rare mutual destruction by starting a food fight. The on stage work features the unusual event of a drum solo by Keith, the second and last time he would take one with the band.
After this The Who take a short break from the tour so that Roger can promote his new film Lisztomania. On the 8th, he appears on French television. He also appears in a pictorial in Playboy promoting the film. Unfortunately he comes down with a chest fever and cannot attend the movie's world premiere at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York. Due to the resumed Who tour he also doesn't make the movie's Los Angeles premiere on the 17th at the Fox-Wilshire. It is probably just as well. Reviews of this bizarre treatment of the life of composer Franz Liszt focus on the style of director Ken Russell and almost all are scathing. Despite its rock star cast, the movie fails to follow the box office success of Russell's Tommy.
Meanwhile the rest of The Who find something to occupy their time. John tapes a course on bass playing for the BBC. Since he then has no British home, Keith stays at the Londonderry Hotel. There he throws a non-stop party for a group of select friends including Peter Sellers, Ringo and Harry Nilsson. The party gets out of hand when a sizable chunk of plaster blasts into the adjacent room. According to Moon, he was just "trying to show Peter Sellers how to open a bottle of champagne without touching the cork. It involves banging it against the wall."
Pete is supposed to fly to India for a Meher Baba disciple gathering but postpones it until next February.
On the 11th, the producer of The Who's opening act, The Steve Gibbons Band, is interviewed in New Musical Express. It's Pete Meaden, the Who's 1964 Mod guru who named them The High Numbers.
Also on the 11th, Keith does one day's recording on a new comedy album. He doesn't show up to any other scheduled recording sessions so producer John Walters cancels the project.
The Who's tour resumes on the 15th and 16th at the Apollo Theatre in Glasgow. Both shows are not only sellouts, there is enough demand for tickets that The Who could easily have sold out fourteen shows and the venue's manager has to go on television to explain there are no tickets left to be sold. "However Much I Booze" from the new album is added to the set list.
On the 17th, The Who fly out of Glasgow Airport for their next stop. All except Keith that is, who is arrested after bashing a ticket terminal. He spends the night in jail and is fined the next day in court. As a result, British Airways refuses to fly any of the members of The Who to their shows and they are forced to hire a private jet.
On the 18th and 19th, The Who are at Granby Halls in Leicester. Another track from the new album, "Dreaming from the Waist" is added to the setlist. On the second day the end of a three-part overview of rock by Philip Norman is published in the Sunday Times Magazine. In his entry on The Who he says that Pete's best work predates Tommy and claims, "The Who are trapped playing aging music for the aging young." In response, that night on stage, Pete calls the Times staff "pricks."
On the 21st, the soundtrack to Lisztomania is released. Rick Wakeman's planned "concept album" version of the soundtrack is turned down for a simple collection of songs and performances. The result does not chart in the U.K. and peaks at #145 in the U.S. Wakeman's version of the soundtrack is not released until 2002.
The U.K. is polished off with three nights at Wembley Arena (21st, 23rd and 24th). The first night features The Who's one and only performance of Chuck Berry's "Maybelline" during the closing jam and the second night has it replaced by Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" with Keith on vocals. The reviews of these shows are absolute raves. Charles Shaar Murray in New Musical Express says The Who make him feel "lighter than air" and John Woffinden in The Who fanzine Generations later reports that, "at the end of the night the man in front of me fell to his knees in prayer. It was that sort of night."
The European continental tour begins at the Sportpalais Ahoy Halle in Rotterdam, The Netherlands on the 27th followed by the Stadthalle in Vienna (28th), the Stadthalle in Bremen, Germany (29th) and two nights in Dusseldorf (30th and 31st).
New music releases: Greatest Hits - ABBA; Chicago IX: Chicago's Greatest Hits - Chicago; A Night At The Opera - Queen; History: America's Greatest Hits - America
The Who's European Continental tour continues on the 2nd and 3rd at the Messehalle in Sindelfingen, Germany. From there they finish the tour with two nights (6th and 7th) at the Freidrich Ebert Halle in Ludwigshaven, West Germany.
On the 5th, a single by Roger from the Lisztomania soundtrack is released in the U.S. with the European release following on the 28th. "Love's Dream" backed with "Orpheus Song" fails to hit any of the charts. Meanwhile the movie has its London premiere at the Warner West End in Leicester Square on the 13th.
On the 8th, New Musical Express reports that recent Tommy co-stars Oliver Reed and Keith Moon are planning on appearing in a two-man play in London. Oliver Reed says it is to be called "The Dinner Party" but Keith wants "An Evening of British Rubbish". By either title, the play never hits the boards.
On the 15th, Melody Maker runs a contest in which the following sentence is to be completed: "The Who is the best band in the world because..."
Ronnie Charles, accompanied by The London Symphony Orchestra, releases the album Prestidigitation in the U.S. with a cover of "Love, Reign O'er Me." It could be that the backing orchestration was the one recorded by Pete in 1972 for inclusion in the London Symphony orchestra's Tommy project.
On the 18th, The Who fly to New York to begin the first leg of their North American tour. Although the band is mostly itching to hit the road again and they have a new album to promote, the tour does have some elements of a moneymaking project due to the fact that the band's standing lawsuit with their former managers Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp has frozen all the proceeds from their songs and albums prior to The Who By Numbers. The freeze will remain in effect until early 1977.
On the 20th, The Who begin their 1975 North American tour in Houston at The Summit. The show is released on DVD in 2007.
Tensions are relieved at an after-show album party held by MCA that turns into an orgy. Keith is photographed performing — in more ways than one — with topless groupies. The cops are called in and John and stage manager John "Wiggy" Wolff are arrested for "disorderly conduct". John finds the policeman who has arrested him shares his last name. When John tells him his name is also Entwistle, the policeman thinks John is making fun of him. John and Wiggy spend a couple of hours in jail before they are bailed out.
The two rejoin The Who at the L.S.U. Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (21st), the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis (23rd), The Omni in Atlanta (24th) [editor's note: a fantastic performance and the best concert of my life], The MTSU Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee (25th), the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton Roads, Virginia (27th), the Memorial Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina (28th) and Indiana University Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana (30th).
On the 22nd, a single from The Who By Numbers, "Squeeze Box" backed with "Success Story" is released in the U.S. Pete considers "Squeeze Box" The Who's most embarrassing single but, to its author's shock and chagrin, it becomes a Top Ten hit, spending 16 weeks in the Billboard Top One Hundred, the longest chart action for any U.S. Who single.
New music releases: We Sold Our Soul For Rock 'n Roll - Black Sabbath; "December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)" - The Four Seasons; Mothership Connection - Parliament; Double Dynamite - Elvis Presley
The Who's 1975 North American tour continues at the Kemper Arena in Kansas City (1st), Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Des Moines, Iowa (2nd) and Chicago Stadium (4th and 5th).
On the 5th, Pete buys an American sea captain's long coat and starts wearing it everywhere.
The audience at The Pontiac Silverdome on the 6th is the largest crowd of the tour, numbering 76,000. Some of the attendees are later reported injured in the crush to get inside. The Who use 50 tons of equipment for the show and project it on a 30-by-40-foot video screen. The show is videotaped and "Roadrunner" and part of "My Generation Blues" appears later in the movie The Kids Are Alright. More of the medley, including "Join Together" appears on the film soundtrack.
On the 8th, The Who play Cincinnati's Riverfront Coliseum (without incident). The next night's show at the Richfield Coliseum in Cleveland is also videotaped and, like the Pontiac show is widely bootlegged, if in incomplete form. A legitimate release of "Dreaming From The Waist" from Cleveland appears on the 30 Years Of Maximum R&B video.
On the 10th, the RIAA announces that The Who's new album, The Who By Numbers, has reached gold status for U.S. sales.
The tour carries on to Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo (10th), the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto (11th) and the Civic Center in Providence, Rhode Island (13th). Unfortunately, the last show is not videotaped or officially recorded as Roger later proclaims it the best show of the 1975-76 Who tours.
On the 13th, Melody Maker prints a letter from Pete defending his personal feelings about Meher Baba.
The first leg of The Who's 1975-1976 North American tour wraps up with shows at the Convention Center in Springfield, Massachusetts (14th) and The Spectrum in Philadelphia (15th). At the hotel before the final show, Pete, John, Roger and Keith register as Sherlock Holmes, John Fitzperfectly, Sterling Silver and Charles Farley respectively. At the show, Pete can't find his sneakers so the audience is asked to donate a pair of 10½'s. From about ten pairs hurled onstage, Pete chooses those that most resemble Doc Martens.
Also on the 15th, Roger is the cover story of People magazine. Their headline reads, "For Roger Daltrey, The Who is no longer the question: it's whether to be a star."
The Who return to England three nights at the Hammersmith Odeon in London (21st, 22nd, 23rd). Roger wears a "George Davis Is Innocent" t-shirt and Keith Moon makes his entrance flown over the stage by wires. Monty Python's Graham Chapman is the opening act.
On the 29th, Time magazine includes The Who By Numbers on its list of the year's 5 best pop albums and the Village Voice place it at #10 in the year end Pazz & Jop critic's poll.
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