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The Who - Quadrophenia: 

Album: Quadrophenia

LPs (vinyl) Sampled: Polydor (UK), MCA (USA), Polydor (Germany), Sony (Japan)

CDs (original mix) Sampled: Polydor (Germany), Polydor (Japan), MCA (USA), MCA (Canada), MFSL (USA)

CDs (remix) Sampled: Polydor (Germany), MCA (USA), Polydor (Japan)

LP Comments: The Sony (Japan) is absolutely breathtaking. For some reason what Polydor Japan didn't get right (for many of the Who LPs), Sony delivered with precision and excellence. The Polydor (Germany) and (UK) LPs sound great too, but just not quite as good as the above. Original MCA (USA) pressings are better than their reissues, but unless you just want an original copy with a book (deleted from the reissues), don't bother.

CD (original mix) comments: The Polydor (Germany) sounds great. Warm, rich, wonderful sound. In comparison, the Polydor (Japan) is slightly more detailed (better imaging of the high frequencies and cleaner bass lines). In contrast, the MCA (USA) sound completely lifeless, as if it were recorded on a clock radio. MFSL attempted to improve on the MCA, but literally fell (and sounded) "flat". While many American fans hailed it as an improvement over the MCA, it really sounds bad (but, nicely packaged). The Polydor (Germany & Japan) comes with a miniature version of the book that came with the original LPs.

In terms of choosing which is "better" between the Germany and Japan CDs, it boils down to personal preference. The German CD is very easy to like. The Japanese CD is a more detailed version of the same, but along with the detail comes "higher highs" that some people might be uncomfortable with, and other people might crave it.

Note: I've only seen one copy of the <original mix> Polydor (Japan) - and I bought it. I'm not sure why they are so scarce.

CD (remix) comments: Quadrophenia was the first reissue that the two record/CD companies (MCA & Polydor) parted ways in regards to sound quality. Up until this point (in the reissue program), all the CDs made in the USA and Germany sounded identical, with the slight exception of "Live At Leeds". Fortunately, a friend brought me a Polydor (Germany) copy from Europe and it sounded great, with a nice, warm sound. I've since spoken to Andy McKaie (VP at MCA), Andy Macpherson (who remixed the album) and Jon Astley (the album's producer) and nobody has been able to quite figure this problem out.

My "remix" of choice is the Polydor (Japan). This CD captures all the thunder and detail of Quadrophenia, without any associated harshness, as if the entire frequency spectrum was pushed right to their limits. (There is a noticeable improvement over the Polydor (Germany).)

CD (Deluxe/Super Deluxe Edition) comments: The "Quadrophenia" portion of this set is from the 1996 remix with a new, "whistle" inserted on "5:15".

Summary: If you like the original mix of the album, find a mint Sony (Japan) LP, Polydor (Germany) CD or Polydor (Japan) CD. If you prefer the remix, the Polydor (Japan) is a must have.

About: Quadrophenia
 
"Quadrophenia" and A Quick One (the 2 Who albums with the "Q" in them) are my 2 favorite albums.

I love everything associated with "Quadrophenia" - every song is great. I also like the unique mixes on the
Quadrophenia Soundtrack (thank you Cy Langston!) and especially love Pete's newly released "Quadrophenia" Demos <see below>... Wow!

When "Quadrophenia" was re-released in 1996, many USA Who fans (including myself) complained about how bad the CD sounded.
 
There was something wrong with it (way too tinny and the sound was very harsh). The record company looked into it and nobody could figure it out, etc... (Note the comparisons on the next 2 pages for the technical differences between the related CDs.)
 
Meanwhile, I had a friend from Europe bring me a <Germany> Polydor copy when he came to the USA. Played it - perfectly fine! So, the word got out and everyone started buying <made in Germany> copies. Even John Entwistle was recommending this copy!

Fast forward a few years to the release <and discovery> of the <Japan> Polydor version. It was probably around 1999 when I got my hands on a copy, played it and said, "Holy <Picard>!!!" "WOW!" It was just amazing how different 3 CDs, manufactured in 3 different countries could sound so different from one another. And from that point on, many Who fans began buying this CD.
 
I can't tell you the technological reasons "why" this version of the CD sounds so much better - nor is it really important (sometimes the it is what it is philosophy works just fine). But hearing this compared to the already great sounding Germany CD, is like hearing the Who on a car radio, vs. hearing them live. It just blows you away...
 
There are fans who like the original mix, fans who like the new mix - different people like different things for different reasons (if we were all the same - life would be pretty boring).
 
The ultimate original mix version is the Japan LP. Personally, I'm no longer a fan of the original mix. I lived with various versions of it for about 16 years and played it often. When the <right version of> the remix came out, I was so impressed with the improvement, it was hard to "look back". There have been several attempts to reissue the original mix, including on SACD. It's dull in comparison to the remix.


About: Quadrophenia (Super Deluxe Edition) <The Big Box Set with all of the Pete Townshend "Quadrophenia" Demos>

I started out with the USA pressing of the Deluxe CD. <It was already opened and handy>.

So... I play the CD, and on comes "I Am The Sea" into "The Real Me"... It sounded a bit "flat" to me. Was it my stereo system (I had recently bi-amped the speakers and made some changes) or the CD?

So... I grabbed the Japan pressing...

hMMM... sounded a smidgeon better - in terms of frequency response, but still a bit flat.

So, I grabbed my go to "Quadrophenia" disc - the 1996 <remixed> Japan CD...  Ah ha!

Both of these versions sound about the same (in terms of clarity, frequency response, etc.), except...

The 1996 version has some ambiance around the midrange and vocals, which is absent from the newer version.

What's interesting (or not so interesting depending on your perspective) about this, is I had a similar issue with "Who's Next" recently - the Steve Hoffman version lacked the ambiance of the 1995 remixed version.

What is "ambiance"?

As listed on
Dictionary.com:

"...that which surrounds or encompasses; environment."

(OK, so what does that really mean?)

Essentially, it's like the vocals (with ambiance) are an island to themselves - perhaps a touch of reverb added to them - so they stand alone, vs...

Without that added ambiance - a bit flat, as if they are "stuck" to the other music and don't have that bit of "air" which separates them.

It's hard to describe if you are unfamiliar with the effect, but if you listen to the CD versions <back to back> you can certainly discern one from the other.

It wouldn't surprise me that some people may prefer no ambiance and some demand it. I'd say it depends on the recording. "Quadrophenia" is a "busy" recording - there's lots of things going on with it at any given time and in my opinion, the vocals need as much space as they can get. The ambiance helps with that...

Ultimately, it comes down to taste - what do *you* like?

For me, I'll take the 1996 <remixed> Japan CD and the new Super Deluxe for the packaging and FANTASTIC Demos (which sound superb) <see below>.

Speaking of ambiance and reverb, The "Super Deluxe Edition" comes with a DVD with 8 of the songs from "Quadrophenia" mixed into 5.1 <surround sound>. Whereas the 2 CDs of "Quadrophenia" lack "ambiance" - this DVD is drowning in reverb. I think it's kind of cool to listen to and hear the various instruments separated by this mix, but the reverb is way too much and distracting. Perhaps one day the whole album will be done in 5.1...

Note: The only differences between the "Deluxe Edition" and the "Super Deluxe Edition" are the packaging, the really nice book and the quantity of Pete Townshend demos...


About: The Quadrophenia Demos <from the 2011 "Quadrophenia" Super Deluxe Box Set>

Wow!

This is like a dream come true.

I love Pete Townshend demos.

I've noodled around with these demos for a while now and haven't said too much about them. Some of them had been quite familiar for years ("The Real Me" was released on a vinyl boot dating back to the mid 80's and there are several CD boots and various other sources (official and not official) that had many of the demos - but never all of them...)

This release basically had a "full set" of demos, but not the "complete" set of demos. What exactly does this mean? In some cases Pete has "alternate demos (i.e. at least 2 versions of "The Dirty Jobs") and in some cases, demos not included for one reason or another (Pete made reference to this in "the book" that accompanied the box set). But there's nothing to be "unhappy" about here. This is like recovering a long buried treasure chest and now it's available to visit as often as one likes...

I didn't really know what to expect the first time I played these CDs. Some of the songs I've never even heard of (i.e. "Anymore") and others which I was a bit surprised at the detail and closeness to the final Who versions (particularly with the 2 instrumentals - "Quadrophenia" and "The Rock").

There was some chatter way back when that fans were upset that newly recorded drumming was added by
Peter Huntington (Rachel Fuller's drummer) on some of the tracks that didn't originally have drums.

I recall reading (in the liner notes?) something to the effect that Peter drummed in Pete style, but I disagree with that assessment. The drums and drumming sound different (different drum set? Different
mic-ing and different recording techniques?) don't quite match Pete's style at all (you can tell where Pete drums vs. Peter H).

Initially, I laughed at the internet banter of "complaints". I can understand Pete's desire to "finish" something he believed to be "unfinished" and made "consistent" throughout the 2 CDs. But it isn't the
same and after repeated listening, it all blends in anyway. So at the end of the day - does it really matter? (FYI - Kenney Jones drummed on some of the
Face Dances demos - maybe you like them less now that I've "revealed that" or it really shouldn't matter.)

Personally, I think Pete is a great drummer. He hits all the right drums, adds some nice cymbals in key places and makes the drumming "interesting". Had he chosen to be a drummer vs. a guitarist, he may have rivaled Keith Moon. While Pete doesn't "bang" as loud, hard or as fast as Keith throughout these demos, he does lay out a great "map" for Keith to follow for the actual album (which Keith drums brilliantly on)...

Drumming aside...

What we have here is an "expanded view" of the "Quadrophenia" universe. I initially thought that not having a "5:15" demo would be a problem (wouldn't it be so easy for Pete to record one and stick it in???) - but it wasn't. The expanded version of Pete's masterpiece doesn't need it.

Not only do we get additional tracks that were left off of the final Who album, but we get the added story of Jimmy's romantic side when he gets "thrown out" of the house, with:

* Get Out and Stay Out
* Quadrophenic - Four Faces
* We Close Tonight
* You Came Back
* Get Inside
* Joker James

I would argue that "You Came Back" (which was first released on
Scoop and is essentially a "reincarnation" song) doesn't fit the story and quite possibly was not written for "Quadrophenia", although certainly during the same time period... It is a great song, but doesn't really work for me here...

"Get Inside" doesn't quite do it for me either. Jimmy was "thrown out" - is this a "flash back"? It's a nice song, sorta simple and perhaps too simple for the complexities of "Quadrophenia" - but I tend to "skip" past it when I listen to these demos. It doesn't quite sit well with me...

Pete alludes to another version of "Get Out and Stay Out" that he was going to release on the
Q-Cloud (but didn't). This version seems a bit loud and abrasive - perhaps what Pete intended to convey for someone "getting tossed out of the house"... I'd love to hear the other version to compare. The "Quadrophenia" (Soundtrack) version is certainly more "refined".

"Quadrophenic - Four Faces" - hard to imagine that this was left off of the Who album - although I can see how it doesn't quite fit "that" version of the album - it's such a great song and so central to the "Quadrophenia" theme.

I have mixed feelings on "We Close Tonight". When I first heard it on the 1998 "Odds & Sods" - I could have sworn John Entwistle wrote it. How odd for John and Keith to be singing on a Pete written song! But, I was wrong - and Pete certainly did write it. I think the demo works better in the context of the "larger story" of "Quadrophenia" than the Who recorded version would on the "official" Who version of the album.

"Joker James" is outstanding. Much better than the "verse missing"
Quadrophenia (Soundtrack) version - and I'd still like to know if there's another version with the missing "Mary Ann With The Shaky Hand" verse as originally written in 1968???

This is all great stuff...

So, "Quadrophenia" as we know it/knew it, picks back up again and "on track" with "The Punk Meets The Godfather" (or titled on this set as simply,"Punk"...)

Between, "Is It In My Head" and "Bell Boy" there is the inclusion of the following "new" tracks:

* Any More
* Fill No. 2
* Wizardry
* Is It Me

I love the piano in "Anymore" - it sounds "angry" and "determined" - just beautiful playing. I've heard Pete play the piano live. He's just amazing - and this is such a great song with these great Piano pieces as a bonus...

" Fill No. 2" - a nice piano based instrumental (which serves as a reminder - what happened to " Unused Piano:'Quadrophenia' " that was on
Scoop?

"Wizardry" - This was one of the 3 tracks that
Jon Astley mentioned in 1996 as "extras" which were considered for bonus tracks on the 1996 "Quadrophenia" remix release.... (the other two mentioned were, "We Close Tonight" and "Bank Holiday" - which has yet to materialize in any form). Some of you may recognize this as the instrumental bridge from the live Psychoderelict shows, others as the Electronic Wizardry track from the Germany "English Boy" CD single - which references it as a demo from "Lifehouse"... The Electronic Wizardry is basically the same track as this, but this one has some more instruments added to it. Was The Who version in the vault the same? Did it have vocals added to it? Good questions. I always loved this song, but it seems out of place on "Quadrophenia". The synthesizers seem more appropriate for Lifehouse/Who's Next and Psychoderelict and are a bit out of place here. Go figure...

"Is It Me" - this is a REAL WOW song. I love everything about it. The cool bass, the dueling left channel to right channel vocals - it's just such a great song - how did this get "buried" for all of these years? I can play this song over and over and over again and never get tired of it. Great stuff...

Such a shame that Pete doesn't release all of his demos...

This collection of demos is a fantastic alternate to listening to The Who version. The interesting nuances which makes this so different than the Who version, but at the same time, it's still "Quadrophenia" and larger than life. Truly a work of art - beyond art itself.

Track Listing: I Am The Sea, The Real Me, Quadrophenia, Cut My Hair, The Punk Meets The Godfather, I'm One, The Dirty Jobs, Helpless Dancer, Is It In My Head, I've Had Enough, 5:15, Sea And Sand, Drowned, Bell Boy, Dr. Jimmy, The Rock, Love Reign O'er Me

Track Listing (Deluxe Edition):

The Who:
I Am The Sea, The Real Me, Quadrophenia, Cut My Hair, The Punk Meets The Godfather, I'm One, The Dirty Jobs, Helpless Dancer, Is It In My Head, I've Had Enough, 5:15, Sea And Sand, Drowned, Bell Boy, Dr. Jimmy, The Rock, Love Reign O'er Me

Pete Townshend Demos: The Real Me, Cut My Hair, Punk, Dirty Jobs, Is It In My Head,  Any More, I've Had Enough, Drowned, Is It Me, Dr Jimmy, Love Reign O'er Me

Track Listing (Super Deluxe Edition Box Set):

Discs 1 & 2 (The Who):
I Am The Sea, The Real Me, Quadrophenia, Cut My Hair, The Punk Meets The Godfather, I'm One, The Dirty Jobs, Helpless Dancer, Is It In My Head, I've Had Enough, 5:15, Sea And Sand, Drowned, Bell Boy, Dr. Jimmy, The Rock, Love Reign O'er Me

Discs 3 & 4 (Pete Townshend Demos): The Real Me, Quadrophenia - Four Overtures, Cut My Hair, Fill No. 1 - Get Out and Stay Out, Quadrophenic - Four Faces, We Close Tonight, You Came Back, Get Inside, Joker James, Punk, I'm One, Dirty Jobs, Helpless Dancer, Is It In My Head, Any More, I've Had Enough, Fill No. 2, Wizardry, Sea & Sand, Drowned, Is It Me, Bell Boy, Dr Jimmy, Finale-The Rock, Love Reign O'er Me

Discs 5 (The Who 5.1 Surround Sound Mix): I Am The Sea, The Real Me, Quadrophenia, I've Had Enough, 5:15, Dr Jimmy, The Rock, Love Reign O'er Me

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