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The Smithereens Play Tommy

Rate It! Avg: 4.5 (43 ratings)
The Smithereens Play Tommy album cover
01
Overture
3:31
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02
It's A Boy
1:34
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03
Amazing Journey
3:16
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04
Sparks
3:32
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05
Eyesight To The Blind
2:11
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06
Christmas
3:28
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07
Acid Queen
3:29
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08
Pinball Wizard
3:03
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09
Go To The Mirror
3:31
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10
Tommy Can You Hear Me?
1:10
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11
Sensation
2:27
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12
I'm Free
2:32
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13
We're Not Gonna Take It/See Me Fee/Listening To You
7:49  
Album Information

Total Tracks: 13   Total Length: 41:33

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user avatar

Actually, the real point of the album is....

Slowskate

The real reason for this album was to enable the Smithereens to record "2011." By the time this came out, their label was not bullish on a new album of Smithereens material and had not been for some time. The relatively strong sales of the Beatles cover albums, however, made them very interested in another high profile cover album. Hence the deal: Pat and crew agreed to record this in return for a green light on 2011. Welcome to the music industry folks.....

user avatar

Nice tribute to Tommy

BronxHattan

The Smithereens do a fine job of covering much of the Who's 'Tommy' album, as fine as they did on their two Beatles covers discs.

user avatar

The Point!

wildwoodweed

If you have the actual CD and read the liner notes you can figure out that the point is that, while Jim and Dennis love the songs on Tommy, they don't like some of the artsy-fartsy production and arrangements (horns, strings, etc.) They wanted to hear/do a version of Tommy with just guitars, bass, and drums. I quite like this CD. Obviously the Smithereens are not the Who, but I was pleasantly surprised to hear Dennis stretch out a bit into Keith Moon territory (one thing I hate about the original Tommy is that, though Keith's playing is inspired, the drums themselves sound like tupperware containers). All in all worth a listen if you are prepared to regard it in the proper light.

user avatar

Sorry but why?

sportster1200

Ok to listen to but only makes you want the origonal. get back to Behind the Wall of sleep and Blood and Roses.

user avatar

For Who Fans and Smithereens Fans

ecsweeney19525

They're not trying to sound like the Who...so that is really cool. They just sound like the Smithereens playing some Who. Some of the more intricate songs of the Who repertoire no less. Overture sounds surprisingly good, even without the synth horns.

user avatar

It's a Joy (Mrs. Walker), it's a Joy!

Ralphy

A fine tribute to the 40th anniversary of an extraordinary piece of rock history.

user avatar

Sounds good...

TwangTrust

...but I gotta ask - what's the point?

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Smithereens rock like nobody else!

jungleland2

It will never be as good as the original (or Live At Leeds)but this is a fun "cover record" like the Beatles ones they did last year. Won't replace my Tommy CD, but they do the Lp (and The Who) justice

user avatar

Way too close to the original.

RY33

The Smithereens seem to be making a living doing cover albums these days but on their Beatles covers and certainly on their Christmas album their own sound comes through. This sounds more like Who demos or something. Not bad but why wouldn't I just buy the original album?

user avatar

Too respectful

jsweetman

I would have liked this better if they stretched a bit. With two decent guitarists, I expected at least some longer or more aggressive guitar work, but they stayed too close to the original album. (Sticking closer to the Woodstock performance would have been an improvement) Plus, Pat's limited vocal range really shows (but Jim does a good Pete). Finally, where's "You Didn't hear it"? I can see why Sally Simpson didn't appeal to a guitar band, and I'm not sad to miss the more unappealing Cousin Kevin/Uncle Ernie tracks, but "See it" is necessary for the opera's story arc.

They Say All Music Guide

After releasing two albums devoted entirely to Beatles tunes in a year and a half (Meet the Smithereens! and B-Sides the Beatles), the Smithereens clearly wanted to prove that they were still a band capable of more than just coasting on the strength of another act’s legacy, and with this in mind they’ve decided to boldly branch out — and spend an entire album covering the Who. The Smithereens Play Tommy is, you guessed it, the Smithereens’ own rather faithful interpretation of Pete Townshend’s rock opera about a deaf, dumb, and blind pinball champion and spiritual leader, though they have tightened it up quite a bit, editing the piece from 24 selections to a lean 13 tunes and zipping through the work in 41 minutes. It’s hard not to be baffled by the Smithereens’ decision to become a cover band, but they do seem better suited to interpreting the Who than the Beatles; guitarist Jim Babjak may lack Townshend’s epic vision and sense of flourish, but he gets the crunchy bash of this music right, and drummer Dennis Diken and bassist Severo Jornacion find a way to pare down the style of the most manic rhythm section in rock history while achieving some approximation of their power and musical sense. Lead vocalist Pat DiNizio’s deep, moody tone doesn’t match Roger Daltrey’s style any more than it did Paul McCartney’s or John Lennon’s, but at least these songs are better suited to the dark, dramatic feel of DiNizio’s instrument, and Babjak and Diken contribute lead vocals on a few tunes that demand something lighter. And while this condensed version of Tommy makes about as much narrative sense as the original (which is to say not much), from a musical standpoint the feel of the album is pretty close to the Who’s version, especially the several live recordings of the opera that have appeared in recent years. So the Smithereens do better by the Who on The Smithereens Play Tommy than they did by the Beatles, but that doesn’t change the fact that as long as the Who’s Tommy remains readily available (and it’s actually easier to find than this disc), this album is little more than an oddity for Smithereens completists and Who fans obsessive enough to want every cover version of their favorite band’s work. In short, this gets an A for effort but a C- for practical utility. (The Smithereens do deserve credit for hiring William Stout to do the cover, whose witty cartoon artwork graced the sleeves of several top-notch Who bootlegs.) – Mark Deming

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