Friday, May 13, 2011

The Who: Overture from Tommy

Today’s flipside comes from The Who – who? That’s right. While the Assembled Multitude had the hit version of the “Overture from Tommy,” the original by The Who was the opening cut from their famed rock opera “Tommy.” I bought this single shortly after it was released as it featured “See Me, Feel Me” on the “A” side. The single was issued in 1971 – two years after the release of the album.

Although it was the highest charting US single from “Tommy” at #12, “See Me, Feel Me” is probably not the best known tune from the album – that was probably “Pinball Wizard” which peaked in the US at #19 and #4 in the UK. To my knowledge, “See Me, Feel Me” was not released as a single in the UK; its American release was issued with a custom label design as opposed to the typical black labeled (American) Decca releases of the time.

Since I could not find a good quality version of the single mix on YouTube, you will have to settle for the album version which also includes the cut “It’s a Boy.” The single began fading out prior to “It’s a Boy” at about 3:50 into the tune. By the way, the late John Entwistle plays the French horn on this cut.

The Assembled Multitude’s Hit Version

For completeness sake (one of my faults – it is truly a blessing and a curse), I am featuring the hit version of the song that was released as a single by session musicians from Philadelphia. Their version of the “The Overture from Tommy” charted in 1970 at #16. Many of these musicians became the backbone of the orchestra that played on many hits released on Philadelphia International records by notable artists such as the O’Jays, the Stylistics, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, MFSB, and Billy Paul.

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