"What I feel is very important about Tommy' Townshend once suggested, "is that as a band it was our first conscious departure out of the adolescent area. It was something that wasn't the same old pilled-up adolescent brand of music."
When, in November 1971, The Who inaugurated London's Rainbow Theatre, Pete Townshend announced: "This is the very last time we're going to perform 'Tommy' on stage." At which point,
Keith Moon jumped up from behind his drum kit and bellowed, "Thank God!"
Both Townshend and Moon spoke too soon.
For the next couple of years (as it had done over the previous two), the spectre of the deaf, dumb and blind pinball wizard Tommy Walker was to dominate The Who's career before taking on a life of his own: first as an all-star recorded extravaganza produced by the late Lou Reizner (1972), then as a motion picture directed by the doyen of cinematic excess Ken Russell (1974).
Though Townshend and Tommy have since parted company, the latter has become a power unto himself, currently appearing nightly on stage in London's West End.