Album Reviews

The Who – Then And Now

(Polydor) UK release date: 11 June 2007


Without doubt The Who are one of the best, most influential English rock bands of all time. Who can forget their iconic songs and incredible stage presence: Daltrey’s mike swinging, Townsend’s guitar smashing, Moon’s drum kit destruction and Entwistle’s chilled bass playing?

Since their inception in the early ’60s however, four has become two, with Moon and Entwistle sadly going to the great gig in the sky. But Daltrey and Townsend are still going strong, headlining the 2007 Glastonbury Festival and touring Europe. When Townsend penned My Generation and wrote the lionized lyrics “I hope I die before I get old” he obviously meant “I hope I die before I can no longer rock” as it seems old rockers don’t fade away – they simply give young rockers a run for their money.

Then and Now is a revised ‘greatest hits’ album of the 2004 CD of the same name. The covers are carbon copies and only two songs on the album differ: Summertime Blues is now replaced by Baba O’Riley and Old Red Wine is now It’s Not Enough. This begs a question: is a revised ‘very best of’ really that necessary?

On the plus side, Then and Now is a nice trip down memory lane, visiting all the band’s greatest songs, from the ’60s to the ’80s, and their most recent noughties’ offerings. It includes the best ‘up yours’ rock song ever in My Generation, two of the rock opera Tommy‘s finest – See Me, Feel Me and Pinball Wizard, Quadrophenia‘s 5:15 and Love, Reign O’er Me and the triple forensic-tastic CSI theme tunes, the afore mentioned Baba O’Reily, plus Who Are You and Won’t Get Fooled Again.

Newer offerings are the catchy, beautiful Real Good Looking Boy which uses elements of the Elvis Presley famed song Can’t Help Falling in Love, and the thunderous It’s Not Enough, from the band’s first new studio album in two decades, Endless Wire. The songs are more polished than those recorded in the ’60s and Daltrey’s voice is deeper and huskier, but they prove the original Who-two are definitely still kings of rock.

For those who want a ‘best of’ The Who album, they need look no further than Then And Now. It is chocker with Who-highlights and also acts as the perfect introduction to those not au fait with the band.


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