Known as The Who Sings My Generation here in the US and simply, boldly, My Generation on the band's home turf, it's damn near criminal how seldom the Who's '65 debut is listed among the all-time greats. A mere 3 of the album's 13 tracks are absolutely smoking R&B covers, a ratio which was still a rarity (take the Kinks' half and half ratio of their own debut for instance), while the remainder are classic Pete Townshend originals with such air-tight composition and delivered with such brutal potency it takes an immediate second spin to soak in what just slapped you across the face. Townshend famously said that Quadrophenia, the band's sprawling, unwieldy 1973 epic came as close to mirroring the Who's onstage ferocity as anything that came before it. I respectfully disagree. This 2002 Deluxe Edition ups the ante with a second disc of alternates, instrumentals, full-length and acapella (hey, why not) versions, but the real draw is the impeccable remastering of the original LP. Taken from the 3 track masters and offered here in true stereo for the first time, the album has noticeable variations from previous versions, including missing guitar overdubs and vocal harmonies which were added on top of the original mono mix. If you're a purist, go ahead and wrap your ears around the $1300 Brunswick first pressing you just scored on ebay. If you just want to hear a recording of the World's Greatest Rock & Roll band that sounds as if it were laid to tape last week.
Further reading: The mighty Willard posted the Deluxe Edition of Live at Leeds over at "the Boat" last week. Pay him a visit if the best live album of all eternity isn't already part of your collection. Or, just pay him a visit for the hell of it.