Album Anniversary – Who’s Next by The Who


Album: Who’s Next

Artist: The Who

Release Date: August 14, 1971


This week we are celebrating the 46th anniversary of the 1971 album Who’s Next by rock band The Who.  The album was originally written as a sequel to the 1969 rock opera Tommy, but was abandoned due to its complexity.  The original plot of the concept album dealt with a government banning all music while citizens mostly lived indoors in government-experience suits.  


The first track recorded was “Won’t Get Fooled Again” at Mick Jagger’s house using The Rolling Stones’ Mobile Studio. Producer Glyn Johns suggested they use a bigger studio, which lead to the band moving to Olympic Studios in London.  Glyn Johns was crucial to the album’s success because of his suggestion of turning the rock opera sequel into a single studio album.  


Who’s Next was a success both commercially and critically.  Rolling Stone and AllMusic gave the album 5 out of 5 stars, with music critic John Mendelsohn stating, “intelligently-conceived, superbly-performed, brilliantly-produced, and sometimes even exciting.”   The album went on to reach #1 on the U.K Top 40 Albums chart and went 3X Platinum in the United States.


The album cover is supposed to resemble the monolith from Stanley Kubrick’s science-fiction movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.  The idea for the cover came from drummer Keith Moon and bassist John Entwistle discussing the movie on the way to one of their concerts. In 2003, VH1 named the Who’s Next cover one of the greatest album covers of all-time.

Track Listing:

  1. Baba O’Riley
  2. Bargain
  3. Love Ain’t for Keeping
  4. My Wife
  5. The Song Is Over
  6. Getting in Tune
  7. Going Mobile
  8. Behind Blue Eyes
  9. Won’t Get Fooled Again

-Mark Goodwin, Music Correspondent