On this day in music history: August 14, 1971 – “Who’s Next”, the fifth album by The Who is released. Produced by The Who and Glyn Johns, it is recorded at Olympic Studios in London from March – May 1971. The project is initially planned by Pete Townshend as the follow up to the band’s landmark “Tommy” as an even more ambitious rock opera and film titled “Lifehouse”. The overall concept of the piece loses direction during the initial recording, causing friction among the band members and major falling out between Townshend and producer Kit Lambert. Scrapping the initial recordings, The Who start over again with producer Glyn Johns. Townshend takes several of the songs from the abandoned “Lifehouse” project (along with one song written by John Entwistle), shaping them into the final version of the album. The LP’s now iconic cover photo is taken by photographer Ethan Russell (“Get Back/Let It Be”), features a shot of the band on top of a coal slag heap (staged to look as if they had just urinated on a concrete piling) in the mining town of Easington Colliery in Country Durham, UK. The album yields some of The Who’s best known and loved songs including “Won’t Get Fooled Again”, “Baba O’Riley”, and “Behind Blue Eyes”. In 2003, Universal Music Group releases a 2 CD Deluxe Edition of the album featuring a remastered version of the original album, with the second disc including previously unreleased outtakes recorded during the initial sessions for the the album in March of 1971 at The Record Plant in New York City. As well as becoming rock radio staples and anthems, many songs from “Who’s Next” have been used in other media over the years. “Won’t Get Fooled Again” has appeared in films and television programs, including as the theme for the series “CSI Miami”. “Baba O’Riley” has also been featured in numerous films and TV programs as well, and has served as the intro music for Los Angeles Lakers during home games. “Going Mobile” and “Behind Blue Eyes” have also appeared in commercials for various products. The album is spotlighted in an episode of the series “Classic Albums” in 2006, and is also inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2007. “Who’s Next” hits number one on the UK album chart, peaking at number four on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
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