It was 50 years ago today (August 25th, 1971) that the Who released what is largely regarded as their masterpiece, Who's Next. Although Who's Next, which dropped 11 days earlier in the UK, was a massive success, building on the back-to-back triumphs of 1969's Tommy and 1970's concert set, Live At Leeds; Who's Next only got as high as Number Four in the U.S. — yet fared better in the UK where it topped the album charts.
Who's Next, which is one of the rare albums in rock history in which every track became an FM staple, featured, arguably, the band's three most important '70s classics — with the Pete Townshend-written “Baba O'Riley,” “Behind Blue Eyes,” and the epic “Won't Get Fooled Again.” The album also featured John Entwistle's signature concert spotlight, “My Wife,” and such groundbreaking work as Townshend's “Bargain,” “Song Is Over,” “Going Mobile,” “Love Ain't For Keeping,” and “Getting In Tune.
The album's genesis began as the dust settled on the original Tommy album and tour. Pete Townshend's 1970 songs were to be utilized in a futuristic multimedia project called Lifehouse. By the time the songs were released on Who’s Next, the project had been scaled back dramatically – but the songs, regardless of their story – were immediately embraced by fans as Who masterpieces.