The 1969 release of Tommy by the Who proved to be one of the seminal albums in rock history. A full-fledged opera by a rock group was not only unique and creative but contained some of the better music of its era. It propelled the Who from being a popular and respected British invasion group to one of the most popular rock bands in the world.
It has been 45 years since the release of Tommy. Now the story of that epic album has been released on DVD as Sensation: The Story Of Tommy.
Just about every living important contributor to the project was interviewed including new interviews with Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey. The reflections of the two band members over four decades after the album’s initial release are particularly interesting. Add in contributions by engineer Bob Pridden, artwork creator Mike McInnerney, plus a number of others and you have as about a complete picture of the album’s creation as one can receive at this particular point in time. There is even an archival interview with the late John Entwistle.
There is a judicious use of clips interspersed throughout the program. The sound and pictures are high quality and the pacing of the film is excellent. A number of the better known tracks make an appearance including “Pinball Wizard,” “See Me, Feel Me,” “The Acid Queen,” “I’m Free.” “Sensation,” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”
There are a number of bonus tracks including previously unreleased footage from a 1969 performance at the Beat Club, featuring a number of songs from the album, and a 45 year old interview with Townshend which provides a nice bookend to the newer one.
The only problem with a musical documentary of this type is it begins to lose interest after the first several viewings. Still, for any fans of the Who or the era in music, it will be a worth-while purchase.