Here’s your ticket to some of the best (or, perhaps, most infamous) 7″ singles ever released! No adapter is required, although in my opinion the device pictured below is right up there with velcro as one of the best inventions of the 20th century.
“Pinball Wizard” was released as a single in March of 1969, about two months before the classic Tommy album hit the shelves. The lyrical references to “that deaf, dumb and blind kid” caused quite a stir with the British press, many of whom labelled the song “sick.” Pete Townshend responded to the controversy by using it as an opportunity to explain the song’s meaning within the context of the entire rock opera, and all seemed to be forgiven by the time Tommy was released on May 23.
The controversy certainly didn’t hurt sales of “Pinball Wizard”– the song peaked at #4 in the United Kingdom, and it also became only the second Who song to reach the Top 20 in the United States (“I Can See For Miles” went to #9 in 1967). “Pinball Wizard” was certainly the perfect choice to introduce the public to the complicated Tommy premise– it was short, it was catchy, and it sounded great on AM radio.
The b-side of “Pinball Wizard” is certainly one of the sillier songs in The Who catalog, but it still rocks with a vengeance. It was drummer Keith Moon’s turn to reap the benefits of a songwriting credit on a 45, and he contributed the wonderfully wacky “Dogs Part Two.” The song was technically credited to Moon along with Jason and Towser, who also happened to be John & Pete’s pet pooches. The Who had released a bizarre non-album single entitled “Dogs” in 1968, but this was no sequel– instead, “Dogs Part Two” was a sneak peek into the massive live sound that the group would soon unleash on stages across the globe. The Who were about to become one of the biggest acts in the world, and they can thank “Pinball Wizard” for leading the disciples in– the band, of course, did the rest.
The Who: Pinball Wizard [German 7″]
Polydor Records, 1969
A-side: “Pinball Wizard” (Townshend)
B-side: “Dogs Part Two” (Moon/Towser/Jason)
The first rule of The Analog Kid blog is that if you write about a song on the Analog Kid blog, you share the song on the Analog Kid blog.
The Who: “I Can See For Miles” (Townshend)
Original version from the album The Who Sell Out
Polydor Records, 1967
The Who: “Dogs” (Townshend)
Polydor Records, 1968