BBC Sessions review by The Who

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Released: Feb 15, 2000
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.8 (11 votes)
The Who: BBC Sessions

Sound — 10
A collection of live performances for the BBC from their first broadcast in 1965 to the last ones in 1973. This cd's track listing spans over many of The Who's albums, but a predominant number of them are from the "A Quick One" album and other singles from the time (Leaving Here, Boris the Spider, I'm A Boy, etc.) The early performances are outstanding. This album allows you to sort-of hear how the Who sounded live in their beginning years. Hearing Townshend's use of feedback on "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" and "My Generation", it's hard to believe this was 1965. Entwhistle's bass is very predominant on these sessions (occasionally more audible than the guitar and vocals). Moon hammers away, keeping the band tight by completely going beserk. Songs like "Happy Jack" and "A Quick One" are great examples of his work. There are two versions of "Substitute" on here, but both are essentially the same. I thought one would be the studio version and one the Leeds version though.

Lyrics — 9
Since a lot of the songs here are from "A Quick One", not everything here is Pete-written. John has his lead vocals on "Boris the Spider", combining his grumbly, basso-falsetto with his high-pitched falsetto. Besides for this, his backing vocals are very audible on pretty much all the tracks, more so than Townshend's. Rodger has "See My Way", missing the horn parts but still very good. Nothing from Moon though, save for a few screams while doing difficult drum rolls (listen to the studio version of "Substitute" for example). The rest of course are all Pete's songs. Rodger's vocals sound great on all the tracks, whether it be a James Brown cover or a song from Tommy. My only comlaint is that they could have thrown in some Townshend or more Entwhistle-sung songs.

Overall Impression — 10
This album shows you that in a scene with the Beatles and the Stones, there were the who, a band that destroyed the stage at the finale while others just sang and smiled. The early broadcasts really set the Who apart from any other band at the time. This compilation features two versions of "Substitute", a full version of "A Quick One/While He's Away", and some other lesser known covers (Good Lovin', Dancing In The Street, Leaving Here, Just You And Me Darling, etc). There's a few tracks from My Generation too (The Good's Gone, La La La Lies, and of course My Generation) It seems like almost every other band is coming out with their own BBC Sessions album, but this has to be the cream of the crop (literally. Cream's BBC Sessions aren't as good). I'd even place it over The Beatles Live at the BBC, which I also own.

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I enjoyed this CD. I borrowed it from a friend. I do think that Dancing in the Street is a bit lame. I prefer Bowies version better than the others.
    pfft. this or any of the other bands come close to the Led Zeppelin BBC Sessions