My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die
Brief Background: Live at Leeds was recorded on February 14, 1970 at the Leeds University Refectory to a crowd of about 2,000. It was released in May of 1970. The original album was a single disc and I have made a playlist (which is what is linked here, despite the cover shown) representing this original release. The album has subsequently been re-released multiple times with remasters and added tracks from the concert.
What I think: Many different publications over the years have called this the best live album of all time, and I think the content makes a solid argument for that. This is loud, pedal to the floor Rock and Roll that never lets up from second one until it’s finished (Okay “Magic Bus” does slow it down a little). And for most of the material that works wonders. Although, it does take away any chance of putting a little swagger and soul into “Summertime Blues” and “Shakin’ All Over”, which certainly could have used it.
Despite those negatives, this album is perfect for highlighting the solidness and aggression of the group at the time. It also does a good job of showing off the individual members and their talents. There aren’t any drum solos, or extended bass guitar solos, but you can hear the madness of Moon, Daltrey, Townshend and Entwistle nonetheless.
I really enjoyed the nearly fifteen minute version track of what is called “My Generation”, but what is really a hectic melody showing off various pieces of The Who’s music. The humor throughout is also very fresh and unexpected. I tend to view everybody in this band (except Moon) as overly serious and adverse to joking. This proves that idea is a fallacy. The final take away from this album is that I never noticed just how much “Magic Bus” is based around a Chuck Berry rift. I remember the original recording as so layered that it hid that rift.
Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? I don’t see a problem with it being here. It’s a ball of energy from a well running machine and in that element it is very special.
Rating (Out of 5): 4
Amazon Review (Out of 5): 4.5
Is this my first time hearing this album? Yes (157/202)
Percentage of Albums that are new to me: 78%