The Hypertext Who  
Overature
This site is a public resource celebrating The Who. It is not sponsored or formally affiliated in any other way with The Who or the band's members, management or other representatives. In accordance with laws regarding copyright and other forms of intellectual property, material excerpted and posted on this site is strictly for nonprofit research, scholarship & commentary about The Who, its members and their activities.

I'm One

Success Story

Guitar and Pen

Goin' Mobile

My Generation
Article Archive
Bibliography
Who Associates

See Me, Feel Me

Join Together
Odds & Sods
Chat Room

The Seeker

A Legal Matter
A Word about Copyrights
Privacy Policy

Bargain
The Who Official Merchandise

Liner Notes › The Kids are Alright

THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT

 

 

"Most rock films are pretentious. They're made for the sole purpose of making Robert Plant's dick look big.
This is totally the opposite. Within the first half hour we're made to look complete idiots."
- Roger Daltrey 1978


Credits for movie:

A Roger Corman presentation of a New World Pictures Release 
A Rock Films, Ltd. - Sydney Rose Production 
Written, directed and researched by Jeff Stein 
Executive producer Sydney Rose 
Producers Tony Klinger and Bill Curbishley 
Film editor Ed Rothkowitz 
Musical director John Entwistle 
Re-mix engineer Dave "Cy" Langston 
Re-recorded at Samuel Goldwyn Studios 
Special consultants Jeremy Thomas, Kevin Stein and Thelma Schoonmaker 
New sequences cinematography by Peter Nevard, Anthony B. Richmond and Norman Warwick 
Starring Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle, Keith Moon, Pete Townshend, Tommy Smothers, Jimmy O'Neill, Russell Harty, Melvyn Bragg, Ringo Starr, Ken Russell and Steve Martin 
106 minutes


A version of the film cut to 100 minutes premiered at the Cannes Film Festival May 13, 1979. The full-length version premiered at the Plaza Theater in New York June 14, 1979.
On September 30, 2003 the restored full-length version was released in the U.S. on DVD. The European edition was released by Sanctuary April 26, 2004.

 
 

Credits for soundtrack:

Roger Daltrey  vocals 
John Entwistle  bass guitar and vocals 
Keith Moon  drums and vocals 
Pete Townshend  guitar, synthesizer and vocals 
Album produced and tracks remastered by John Entwistle 
Engineered by Dave "Cy" Langston

The soundtrack was released in the U.K. as Polydor 2675179 and in the U.S. as MCA 2-11005 on June 24, 1979. It reached #26 in Britain and #8 in the U.S. where it also reached platinum status by the end of that year. It was re-released in the U.K. March 5, 2001 as part of the official reissue program.


The photo featured on the film poster and front cover of the soundtrack was taken by Art Kane at the Carl Schurz Memorial in Morningside Park, New York City on the morning of April 5, 1968. Kane: "They were great. They made me think of Dickens' Oliver Twist, Fagin's gang. Irreverent, lovable. I had the flag made from 2 Union Jacks. I was influenced by a Cartier-Bresson photograph of a vagrant asleep under a statue in Trafalgar Square." The Who photo originally appeared as a two-page spread in Life magazine June 28, 1968. Supposedly the four are actually asleep, having been kept up all night after being kicked out of their hotel due to Keith's activities.

 

Liner notes by Brian Cady
 
 

The Kids Are Alright began as the dream project of  Jeff Stein, a young New York Who fan.  In 1973 he and Chris Johnston published a collection of photographs of the band as the book The Who which brought him to the band's attention. Jeff met Pete Townshend again just before the New York premiere party for Tommy The Movie. "I was pitching Pete while he was brushing his teeth before he goes to the premiere. So I was like, giving him my impassioned plea and he's brushing his teeth, going "mmph rrorrog mmmph" (imitates sounds of talking while brushing his teeth) and foaming at the mouth, which should have been an omen." Pete, at first, rejected the idea and later claimed that Jeff cried for two hours. Pete: "I said to Bill [Curbishley, The Who's manager], anyone who cries for two hours can never make a film about the Who. But Bill said, think about it the other way..." 

 

Jeff and his editor Ed Rothkowitz compiled a 17-minute reel of every scrap they could find and brought The Who and their wives to a special screening. Jeff: "I've never seen such a reaction. Pete was on the floor, banging his head. He and Keith were hysterical. Roger's wife was laughing so hard she knocked over the coffee table in the screening room."  Now with The Who's approval, Jeff spent two years raising the funding and uncovering film in England, the U.S., Sweden, Germany, France, Australia, Norway and Finland. By July 1977 Jeff was ready to begin filming the new segments at Shepperton studios. First came a band rehearsal, then a week of following Keith around Los Angeles before returning to Britain for further interviews and segments with Pete, Roger and John. With all the footage compilation, however, Jeff discovered that The Who's ban on film cameras during their post-1970 concerts had left no high-quality material of Who show-stoppers such as "Baba O'Riley" and "Won't Get Fooled Again." On December 15, 1977 The Who held a free afternoon concert at the Gaumont State Theatre in Kilburn performing to 800 that got in after an announcement of the show on Capital Radio that morning. However, Pete and John were both too drunk to play well and Keith had gained so much weight that he got easily winded. The footage was scrapped (with two exceptions; see below) and On May 25, 1978 The Who tried again before an audience of Who fan club members at Shepperton Studios.Fortunately this went much better.

 

 

 

The film came out in May 1979 to great acclaim not only from Who fans but from rock critics as well. Whenever lists are made of the best rock films of all time, The Kids Are Alright almost always rates #1 and it caused "the kids are alright" to enter standard English phraseology. One would have thought that, with all the accolades and having finally produced a film that everyone could agree was excellent, The Who and Jeff Stein would have the rosiest of relationships. Unfortunately, this is not the case. They had a falling out, probably over Stein's insistence that additional concert footage had to be shot at Shepperton after the disastrous Kilburn concert. The Who disagreed and supposedly refused to pay for the additional costs. By the time of Keith's death, relations between the band and their fan/chronicler had begun to sour. By November 1979 Roger and John were both trashing the film with Roger calling Stein an "amateur" and John claiming that many of his segments were edited out after Keith died so that a greater emphasis could be put on Keith. Jeff has adamantly denied that the film was re-cut after Keith's death (with the exception of one line; see below). Stein: "Keith saw the film before he died and I left every frame the way it was. I didn't want to exploit his death in any way."


John re-edited the film for the U.K. and Europe: "I cut out a lot of the dialogue before 'A Quick One' and I cut out quite a bit of 'A Quick One' as well.  I had to because there was so much dialogue on either side that it tended to make everything drag.  The film is boring. I rang up Bill Curbishley and said, 'the film is a piece of shit. I've got to stop it; it can't come out like that, I'm going to stick an injunction in to stop it.' I got ahold of the long version that was going to go out in Europe and England and cut that. I said we've got to cut down on the dialogue because it's getting boring and Stein was saying that we got to put that in because it's really important. And the music section started to get smaller and smaller and smaller. He didn't really know what he wanted in the film all the way through."

Until the 2003 released of the U.S. DVD, all videotape and videodisc versions except one on the long-defunct RCA Selectavision system were John Entwistle's cut-down version. Fans had to do with tapes of the complete version that ran occasionally on cable channels VH1 and MTV in the U.S. and MuchMusic in Canada. Far worse than the cutting of the movie, however, was that some of the music tracks were sped up, some to a ludicrous extent. The DVD of The Kids Are Alright released in Europe by BMG in 2000 was the same sped-up, cut-down version that was previously released on videotape and was of no better quality than the older videotape version.

 

For these liner notes I will list the material as it appears in the film, discussing the tracks from the soundtrack as they appear in the film, followed by the soundtrack selections that are not in the film.
 
 

MY GENERATION (SMOTHERS BROTHERS COMEDY HOUR)
Shot at CBS Studios, Los Angeles, September 15, 1967.
5'22 in film, 4'32 on soundtrack (track 1)

Tommy Smothers of The Smothers Brothers folk-comedy duo had been the M.C. at the Monterey Pop Festival June 1967 where he had seen The Who's smashing performance of "My Generation" and asked them to appear on his variety show. The Who then went off to tour the U.S. opening for Herman's Hermits just before appearing here. They opened their set with a lip-synced version of "I Can See For Miles" and had just finished it when The Kids Are Alright begins. This version of "My Generation" is pre-recorded except for the vocal. The explosion and guitar smashing is, of course, quite real.

 

Only a small charge was supposed to have been used, but Keith bribed the stagehand into using a huge amount of explosive. When it went off it caught Pete right in the ear and set his hair on fire (you can see him patting out the sparks) and sent a shard that cut Keith's arm. Roger tells the story that Bette Davis, backstage waiting to go on, passed out in the arms of Mickey Rooney although the Smothers Brothers deny it. This was The Who's only personal appearance on any of the U.S.'s primary variety shows. They never made it to The Ed Sullivan Show or Saturday Night Live. Oh, and Keith's actual middle name is John.


 

I CAN'T EXPLAIN (SHINDIG)
Shot at Twickenham Film Studios, London, August 3, 1965.
2'31 with intro in film, 2'01 on soundtrack (track 2)

This is a completely live performance except for the background screaming, which is overdubbed. A crew from the U.S. show Shindig (ABC-TV) filmed them along with many other groups that were to appear at the Richmond National Jazz and Blues festival three days later (see "Shout and Shimmy" below). In addition to "I Can't Explain," live performances of "Daddy Rolling Stone" and an early version of "My Generation" were shot and later aired. Tapes of all these performances have survived, but this is the only one to be commercially released to date. As with Richmond Jazz Festival, this was directed by Peter Croft and produced by Jack Good.

Shindig first aired "I Can't Explain" in America October 2, 1965 (nine months after the release of the single). The introduction by host Jimmy O'Neill comes from a replay on the last episode of Shindig January 6, 1966.

 

 

Russell Harty Plus 1
Shot at the London Weekend Television studios on the South Bank, London, January 3, 1973
Directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg

1'04 in film

This interview with The Who was first broadcast on ITV in the London area three days after shooting. The Who had just finished a mimed performance to the song "Relay" when this clip opens. That performance was later included on the laserdisc of Who's Better Who's Best. The one cut made in the film after Keith's death, according to Jeff Stein, was after Pete says "Who decayed?" He then turned to Keith and said "they didn't all survive."
 
 

BABA O'RILEY (SHEPPERTON)
Shot at Shepperton Studios, Middlesex May 25, 1978.
Directed by Jeff Stein
5'16 in film, 5'29 on soundtrack (track 10)


Drummers have noted that Keith's drumming has none of the fire of earlier performances and shows how out of shape he was by this time.

 

 

SHOUT AND SHIMMY (RICHMOND JAZZ & BLUES FESTIVAL)
Shot at the Richmond Athletic Grounds, Surrey, August 6, 1965
2'02 in film


This favorite of The Who's early live set was filmed at the Richmond Jazz & Blues Festival by the same Shindig camera crew from "I Can't Explain" above. The 30 Years Of Maximum R&B video contains a live version of "Anyway Anyhow Anywhere" from this same evening. Only a snippet of "Shout and Shimmy" appears here as it ran for over five minutes on the original Shindig program. Both this presentation and the original broadcast in the U.S. were shown in black-and-white despite having been shot in color.

 

 

Russell Harty Plus 2
1'08 in film
Keith decides to take off his clothes, something he loved to do in public.

 

Russell Harty, in 1988, recalled the interview: "I used to believe that unless you had each question written on a clipboard, and unless you followed a rigorous sequence of inquiry, all would not be well. My clipboard was an anchor and I had full need of it. The Who blasted their way through the opening number, and then came to sit down and around. Question 1 (and I blush even as I write): 'When did you first come together to form the group?'

Question 2: 'Who writes the words and who the music?' Question 3: 'Are you big in America?' and so on. I hope you will spare me the embarrassment of rehearsing the fretful litany. The Who were clearly thinking to themselves that there must be better ways of spending an evening. So they did what any high spirited, rich, young band would do. They tried to make it more interesting. They ripped off each other's designed shirts and shredded them in front of a delighted audience. Droning on in the background was this still small voice: Question 10: 'What are your plans for the future?' Their plans were to liven things up a little. When they had reduced each other to bare essentials and high laughter, they turned their attention to me, pulled me to the floor and started to divest me of my chaste Jaeger. The clock, which is often an enemy, developed a friendly aspect and put a timely stop to this madness. Time also put a stop to The Who. Keith Moon died. Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend were encouraged to explore other paths to salvation, via entertainment. I learnt two things. The first was to jettison the clipboard if the ship appeared to be sinking. Such an object lacks buoyancy. The second was that if your body should become a battleground, it is better to lie back and pretend to enjoy it. You may lose the sympathy vote, but you might get a new suit from it."
 
 

YOUNG MAN BLUES (LONDON COLISEUM)
Shot at The Coliseum, Covent Garden, London, December 14, 1969.
Directed by Chris Stamp.
3'42 in film, 5'46 on soundtrack (track 8)

"I'm Free" from this show appears on the Who's Better Who's Best video and "Happy Jack" on the 30 Years of Maximum R&B video. More is expected in Murray Lerner's forthcoming new film My Generation: Who's Still Who. The film, from which all of this comes, was discovered by Jeff Stein in a garbage dump outside the offices of Track Records. Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp, owners of Track Records, dumped all their material on The Who after losing management rights to them in the mid-1970's. The print, depending on which copy you see, is either very dark, or has had the image pushed in developing with low contrast and many apparent spots on the film. Insufficient lighting for filming was the reason this material was originally rejected by the band. The performance is faded out earlier than on the soundtrack.

 

 

Melvyn Bragg 1/Keith smash-up/Ringo testimonial/Keith whipped/Ken Russell
2'55 in film


Melvyn Bragg's interview of Pete was shot at BBC's Television Centre, London August 29, 1974 and broadcast on the BBC2 programme Second House October 5, 1974. The Keith drum kit smashup comes from a 8mm silent movie shot by John Rubin, a student at M.I.T., during the second show at the Music Hall in Boston August 6, 1968. The sound effects were dubbed in by Jeff Stein. Ringo's segments were shot at Keith's seaside Malibu, California home August 12, 1977 for The Kids Are Alright. Ringo also shot a narration for the film's trailer on this day. Keith being whipped was shot at The Pleasure Chest in Los Angeles August 10, 1977. Mary Ann Zabresky is the woman who has trouble keeping the beat. Ken Russell's Who rant comes from a different Russell Harty show shot March 27, 1975.



TOMMY CAN YOU HEAR ME (BEAT CLUB)

Shot at Radio Bremen's studio in Hamburg, Germany August 27-28, 1969.
Directed by Mike Leckebusch.
1'33 in film, 1'46 on soundtrack (track 12).

 

The Who traveled to Germany specifically to videotape a Beat Club special on Tommy. In addition to this song, they mimed to "Overture," "Pinball Wizard," "Smash The Mirror," "Sally Simpson," "I'm Free," "Tommy's Holiday Camp" and "We're Not Gonna Take It" against backdrops from the Tommy albums graphics and a German pinball machine.

Portions of these were released in 1996 on the Tommy CD-Rom. This version, both in the movie and on the soundtrack is identical with the Tommy album except for an extended ending with a surprise appearance by Keith.

 

Keith and Ringo 1
shot at Keith's home in Malibu, California August 12, 1977.
'33 on video

 

 

PINBALL WIZARD (WOODSTOCK)
Shot at the Woodstock Music and Arts Fair, Max Yasgur's Farm, Bethel, New York in the early morning of August 17, 1969.
2'25 in film, 2'48 on soundtrack (track 14)

What is unfortunate about this clip is what is missing from the end. Immediately after the final chords of "Pinball Wizard," Abbie Hoffman ran onstage, grabbed Pete's mike and started a harangue about the meaninglessness of the festival while the leader of the White Panthers was in prison for possession of two joints. Probably an apt sentiment but bad timing. Pete gave him a shot with his guitar in the back of the neck and sent him off the stage. Although the audio for this has been unearthed and appears on the 30 Years Of Maximum R&B boxset, no photos or film has ever surfaced. Jeff Stein dug through the Warners Brothers vaults in Burbank where the outtakes were kept and was heartbroken when he couldn't find it. He wasn't helped by the loss of the storage logs for the clips in a fire several years before. The same version of "Pinball Wizard" also appears on the Who's Better Who's Best video.

 

 

Beat Club question
Shot at Radio Bremen studios in Hamburg, Germany, August 27-28, 1969.
'48 on video


Pete is asked what seems to be an interminable and pretentious question about Tommy to which all he can say is "Uh...yeah." The editing creates this effect. Practically the entire interview surfaced on a 1996 CD that was sold with copies of Chris Charlesworth's The Complete Guide To The Music Of The Who. In context the interview zeroes in on problems others have had with Tommy (in "Sensation" isn't Tommy declaring himself to be the messiah?) and Pete is his usual loquacious self.
 
 

SEE ME FEEL ME (WOODSTOCK)
Shot at the Woodstock Music and Arts Fair, Max Yasgur's Farm, Bethel, New York in the early morning of August 17, 1969.
5'12 in film, 5'25 on soundtrack (track 15)

The sun rose at the beginning of the song, somewhat startling Roger (who may have still been tripping from LSD-spiked water). Recognizing what a significant moment it was, Pete extended the ending past its usual point. Jeff Stein went back to the original takes and re-edited this sequence which appeared in the movie Woodstock as a multi-screen version.

 
John Entwistle: "I insisted that we overdub more voices on but [Jeff Stein] insisted that we use the natural voices which were dire." However, John had his way with the soundtrack, which features some dubbed vocals from the late 1970's.


The Woodstock movie also contains "Summertime Blues" which followed this song and the soundtrack LP to Woodstock has a longer version of this track in a quite different mix. The same cut appears on the Who's Better Who's Best video.

 

 

Melvyn Bragg 2
Shot at BBC Television Studios in London, August 29, 1974
'33 on video


Pete, Roger and John all said that they hated the Woodstock Festival. They hadn't wanted to play it, they had a rough time getting there, they had to hang around for hours waiting to be paid and they were dosed with LSD against their wishes. Pete has softened on this in recent statements recognizing what a boost Woodstock gave their careers, but there was always something about "3 days of peace and love" that seemed un-Who-like.


 

MY GENERATION CONCLUSION (WOODSTOCK)
Shot at the Woodstock Music and Arts Fair, Max Yasgur's Farm, Bethel, New York in the early morning of August 17, 1969.
1'45 in film
.

The ending of the long version of "My Generation" which concluded The Who's set at Woodstock. If you listen closely you can hear the chords that would become "Naked Eye." As for the guitar, roadies immediately ran out and retrieved it. A longer, but still edited, version of "My Generation" appeared in 1994 in the television documentary Woodstock Diaries.


 

A Whole Scene Going filmed interview 1
Shot in London, August 1965.
Directed by Nat Cohen.
'31 in film
.

Originally aired January 5, 1966 on the BBC1 program, this was part of a prepared interview with Pete shot in his Belgravia flat.
 

ANYWAY ANYHOW ANYWHERE (READY STEADY GO!)
Shot at Studio One, Wembly, July 1, 1965.
Directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg.
1'40 in film, 2'49 on soundtrack.

 

Ready Steady Go! was the television programme most associated with The Who. It's where they got their first break that enabled "I Can't Explain" to become a hit and later a special show featured them which led to the Ready Steady Who EP. This performance was taped during a brief period in which the British Musician's Union insisted all acts perform live.

According to Jeff Stein, this is the only old clip in the movie which has an overdub. The original had very low bass so while preparing the mix in 1978, John got the bass on which he is seen playing in the film and recorded a new bass line, then blended it in seamlessly. The original version showing the entire song was released on the 1983 video Ready Steady Go! Volume 1. Volume 2 has The Who's performance of "Shout and Shimmy" from the same show. This clip is also the one Jimmy watches in the movie of Quadrophenia. Nothing else but photographs remain of The Who's many performances on Ready Steady GO! as ITV wiped the tapes not many years after their broadcast. Most surviving performances from this show have been discovered in archives in Canada and Australia.

 

 

A Whole Scene Going filmed interview 2/Russell Harty Plus 3
1'40 on video.

Part of Pete's interview is covered with video from later in the 1960's. The original had Pete in his flat in Belgravia showing off the Union Jack jacket and film of The Who performing at The Witch Doctor at St. Leonard's-on-Sea August 4, 1965. Pete and Keith's talking-at-the-same-time routine was one of their favorites for impromptu performances.


 

SUCCESS STORY
Shot at John's home in Stow-On-The-Wold, Gloucestershire, January 5-6, 1978.
Directed by Jeff Stein.
1'29 in film.

This was shot at John's house, as you might guess from all the bass guitars, and was suggested by him. According to John, the gold records he shoots are Roger's (although he later told Alan McKendree they were awards for Connie Francis albums that she had never picked up). John also said that he called up the local police to tell them he'd be shooting a machine gun on his property and they said "okay" as if it were a perfectly normal request!

 Similar scenes were to be shot with Pete and Roger but were canceled. Whether intended as such or not, this scene does parody the outrageous fantasies in Led Zeppelin's 1976 concert film The Song Remains The Same. The soundtrack is the studio version of the song. John lived in this house until his death in 2002.

 

 

A Whole Scene Going live interview 1
Shot at Studio 7, BBC Television Centre, London, January 5, 1966.
'39 in film
.

Pete always had a love-hate relationship with The Beatles and the hate side never more famously presented than here. Could the album he is referring to be the recently released Rubber Soul? This was shot live during the afternoon and broadcast that evening.


 

SINGLES MEDLEY (SUBSTITUTE/PICTURES OF LILY/MAGIC BUS)
3'02 in film, "Magic Bus" on soundtrack 3'22 (track 5) 

"Substitute" is from a promo film directed by Chris Stamp shot March 21, 1966 at a rented film studio in Covent Garden. The original soundtrack to the clip was the U.S. version of "Substitute." "Pictures Of Lily," was shot for the German NDR-TV show Beat Club at the Fernsehstudio in Osterholz, Germany April 19, 1967. "Magic Bus" is also from Beat Club and was shot at Radio Bremen Studios in Bremen, Germany on October 7, 1968.

This was the premiere of Roger's open shirt look popularized during the Tommy tours. All three performances are lip-synced. It was Jeff Stein's original intention to make this a six-song medley of "Substitute"/"I'm a Boy"/"Heatwave"/"Pictures Of Lily"/"I Can See For Miles"/"Magic Bus." Unfortunately, it was cut to only three before the film's release but after the printing of the end credits. The soundtrack LP and original issues of the CD feature the standard mono version of "Magic Bus" but a stereo version was used for the 2001 reissue.  Complete versions of "Substitute" and "Pictures of Lily" appear on the Who's Better Who's Best video.

 

 

All My Loving 1/Keith interview/Pete 1977 interview 1/Pete 1971 interview 1/All My Loving 2
1'44 in film

The scenes of The Who riding on a bus through the U.S. come from a 1968 Tony Palmer special called Omnibus: All My Loving which aired on BBC1 November 3, 1968. It was shot around March 10, 1968. The Keith interview was shot September 1975 at Keith's Sherman Oaks home for another Tony Palmer television special. The 1977 Pete interview was filmed at his home in Twickenham for the BBC series Tonight which originally aired October 31, 1977. The black & white film of Pete talking that follows it is from a film made by Richard Stanley on either the first or second weekend of September 1971 of a "summit meeting" of The Who at Roger's house. Richard Stanley was the cinematographer on the Isle Of Wight movie and Yessongs. It was shot in color but Jeff Stein used a black-and-white work print for the finished movie.
 
 

HAPPY JACK
Shot at New Action Offices at Caroline House, 6 Chesterfield Gardens, London, December 19, 1966
Directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg
2'09 in film
 

A promo film that originally aired on BBC1's Top Of The Pops December 22, 1966. The film was later projected behind The Who during their performances at Murray The K's show in New York City in March 1967. At least twice in The Who's early career they toyed with the idea of starting a Monkees-like program for English television. This and the video for "Call Me Lightning" are as close as they ever came.

Director Lindsay-Hogg got The Who's attention as the house director for Ready Steady GO! and went on to direct The Rolling Stones' Rock & Roll Circus, Let It Be, and Roger's 1994 Celebration: The Music Of Pete Townshend and The Who video. The "Happy Jack" on the soundtrack LP is a live version from Leeds University February 14, 1970 running 2'12 (track 3). It was later re-released on the 1995 edition of Live At Leeds.

 

 

A Whole Scene Going live interview 2
'31 on video

Jeff Stein: "We have a sequence from an 8mm film taken by a friend of theirs of them putting on their make-up backstage in '67, including a great shot of Pete powdering his nose! Roger Daltrey fixing everyone's hair, that sort of thing." The person having their hair fixed in the first shot is long-suffering Who sound man Bobby Pridden. It was shot in 8mm by Chris Morphet backstage at the Granada Cinema, Kingston-On-Thames, Surrey, November 3, 1967.
 
 

Melvyn Bragg 3
1'49 in film
Pete's description of the recording of the A Quick One LP and the birth of the mini-opera "A Quick One While He's Away" was cut from the movie by John Entwistle outside the U.S. and was only restored with the 2002 DVD.

 

 

A QUICK ONE (ROLLING STONES' ROCK & ROLL CIRCUS)
Shot at Stonebridge Park Studios, Wembley, December 10, 1968.
Directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg.
7'41 in film, 2'43 on video, 7'30 on soundtrack (track 11)
                        

This was part of a plan that Pete Townshend and Mick Jagger had been working on for some time, a Rolling Stones/Who tour done as a traveling circus. It was intended for a TV special but was shelved, because The Stones were unhappy with their performance that had come at the end of a very long day's filming. There's certainly nothing wrong with The Who's performance. Three performances of "A Quick One" were shot that day, each better than the last.

Pete got Mick Jagger's permission for the use of this clip for The Kids Are Alright, which, for a long time, was the only circulating material from the TV special. The Rolling Stones and Allan Klein, who owned the film, finally came to an agreement and gave the film an official release in 1995. The same take used here also appears on The Rolling Stones' Rock & Roll Circus videotape but edited differently. The blinking lights were put around the image as a way of presenting the full frame when masked for a movie house's "widescreen" image. One of the other takes appears, in part, on The Who's boxset 30 Years Of Maximum R&B. The original film of The Kids Are Alright featured the complete performance including Keith Richard's introduction (he is wearing an eyepatch and a ringmaster's uniform. The lights around the picture during his intro say "The Rolling Stones" at the top and "Rock 'n' Roll Circus" at the bottom) The first 4'41 of the sequence was removed in the Entwistle edit and was restored in the 2002 DVD. However the image was cropped to a 16 X 9 image removing the original's flashing light border.

 

 

Pete 1971 interview 2/A Whole Scene Going live interview 3/Keith and Ringo 2/Melvyn Bragg 4
1'35 in film
Pete's admitting on A Whole Scene Going that The Who were taking drugs was shocking at the time. Pop groups just didn't say such things in January 1966. The Beatles didn't admit their drug use until mid-1967. And yet, The Who never had any drug busts. Keith's saying he's just "been sittin' in" with The Who refers to the story that Roger, after Keith's audition for The Who, came up and asked him whether he could make it for their next club date with no formal acceptance into the band. Oddly, according to Tony Fletcher's book on Keith, no one of his bandmates in The Beachcombers, the band Keith was in at the time of his audition with The Who, can remember Keith ever dyeing his hair ginger.


 

COBWEBS AND STRANGE
2'44 in film

 

The video that forms the basis of this sequence was actually filmed to go with the song "Call Me Lightning" (hence all the quick running around). It was shot in a deserted warehouse in Hollywood February 26, 1968 on 8mm film and was directed by Austin John Marshall. The Steve Martin segment was shot at CBS Studios in Hollywood in late August 1977 for the 10 Years Of Rolling Stone U.S. TV special which aired November 1977.

All the film of Keith with a beard was shot by Jeff Stein near Keith's Malibu, California home August 8-12, 1977. The shots of Keith lying on the floor covered in cake trying to get his trousers off are from a preliminary birthday party held August 11, 1977 at the Trancas Restaurant and Bar in Malibu. Keith's pirate imitation comes from his fascination with Robert Newton's Long John Silver from Treasure Island (1950), a character Keith would assume at the drop of a tricornered hat. His friend and Monty Pythoner Graham Chapman tried to make Keith's dream a reality by writing a movie for him to star in called Yellowbeard, but Keith died before filming started.

 


Russell Harty Plus
3/Keith and Ringo 3/Pete 1977 interview 2

2'55 in film
The first two segments (Keith's "I survived all the major earthquakes" and Keith and Ringo's "we're getting old now and have to take our medicine") are more than a little eerie considering the circumstances of Keith's death. Pete's feeling that he lost the rational part of his mind during performances which he blamed in part for his hearing loss and drinking problems.
 
 

SPARKS (WOODSTOCK)
Filmed at the Woodstock Music and Arts Fair, Max Yasgur's Farm, Bethel, New York in the early morning of August 17, 1969.
4'10 in film, 3'01 on soundtrack (track 13)

The soundtrack version starts one minute later than the version in the film. A version almost as long as the video appeared on the 30 Years Of Maximum R&B boxset but misidentified as "Underture" (3'53).

 

 

Pete 1971 interview 3
'26 in film


 

BARBARA ANN (SHEPPERTON REHEARSAL)
Shot at Shepperton Studios, London, July 21, 1977.
Directed by Jeff Stein.
in film - intro '26 - song 2'21

 

Jeff Stein: "When I showed up, it was 'Okay Jeff, what do you want us to play?' I didn't know what to tell them, so I racked my brains for a minute and said, 'How about playing "Barbara Ann"?' So we have a rendition of them doing 'Barbara Ann' with Keith handling lead vocals. They hadn't played it since 1966, but they went right into it, and it's a great version. The next day, Keith decided he would arrive on a fire truck that was on fire, so we have some of that."

Keith was certainly at his heaviest here but had managed to lose a good bit of the weight by a year later. Many songs were given such impromptu jams over two days of filming but so far only a cover of The Beatles' "I Saw Her Standing There" with Keith on lead vocals has turned up on bootleg videos.

 

 

Roger 1975 interview
Shot in London, March 27, 1975
'15 on video

This short clip of Roger speaking is from the same Russell Harty show interviews as the Ken Russell above. It's also one of only three short times that Roger speaks in The Kids Are Alright. No wonder he doesn't like the film! Jeff Stein had originally planned to have a Roger-only segment taken from a 1975 U.S. children's show called Wonderama where Roger demonstrated how to swing a microphone. Unfortunately, he was unable to obtain rights to the clip.
 
 

ROADRUNNER/MY GENERATION BLUES (PONTIAC SILVERDOME)
Shot at The Silver Dome, Pontiac, Michigan, December 6, 1975.
5'10 in film, 9'54 on soundtrack (track 16)

This is from a videotape of the images that were projected on large screens above the stage during the concert. The soundtrack LP includes a live version of "Join Together" which preceded "Roadrunner." It was excised from all the early copies of the CD version released in the U.S. and U.K. but was restored on the 1999 Japanese CD reissue and the 2001 U.K. and U.S. reissue. In the original concert this began with a regular speed version of "My Generation" before going into "Join Together." It ended with some Pete jamming before segueing into "Won't Get Fooled Again." The entire medley up to that point ran 15'22.

 

 

 

Pete 1966 interview/Pete and Keith at Shepperton/Russell Harty Plus 4/A Whole Scene Going live interview 3/Pete 1977 interview 3/Pete at Kilburn/separate statements from The Who 1977
2'59 on video
Pete's discussion of his hearing problem with Keith comes from the same day as "Barbara Ann." Pete's harangue ("I've got a guitar up here") is, along with a clip in the closing credits, the only footage salvaged from the December 15, 1977 Kilburn concert. More is included in the 2007 DVD Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who. Stein's insistence that another performance had to be shot later at Shepperton and The Who's refusal to pay for it, led to the rift between Jeff Stein and the band. John Entwistle has said he was upset by the inclusion of Keith's remark here ("you couldn't afford me") thinking it made Keith look bad. It was shot at Keith's Malibu home August 8, 1977. The offscreen questioner is crewman Pete Nevard.


 

WHO ARE YOU
Shot at Ramport Studios, London, May 9, 1978
Directed by Jeff Stein.
4'59 on video.

This was a promo video which originally ran on BBC1's Top Of The Pops August 3, 1978. It was supposed to be mimed to the single version's backing track with live vocals but, by the time it was finished, practically the entire song had been re-recorded. John remembers this as being one of Keith's greatest drumming performances. There are supposedly videos outside this movie which have slightly different audio mixes. This version is also included on the Who's Better Who's Best video.


 

Russell Harty Plus 5
1'09 on video
Keith's dig at Russell Harty ("how long have you been happily married?") gets an odd grimace from Harty, probably because he was keeping secret a sexual orientation that didn't come out until years later. Wonder if Keith knew?


 

MY GENERATION (MONTEREY POP)
Shot at the Monterey County Fairgrounds, Monterey, California, June 18, 1967.
Directed by D.A. Pennebaker.
3'48 in film
.

 

The Who probably put more the usual into their instrument smashing here as their managers cheaped out and the band had to rely on inadequate rented equipment and amplifiers that gave them a very ragged sound. The ending has a selection of instrument smashes from a variety of sources. If you want only the Monterey smashup, it is available on the video of the movie Monterey Pop.

This was not included on the soundtrack, but The Who's entire set for that night is available on Rhino Records' Monterey Pop Festival CD boxset and a complete version of "My Generation" from this night, remixed in 5.1 sound, is available on Criterion's The Complete Monterey Pop Festival DVD boxset.

 

 

The final statements
'56 in film
These additional four final remarks from the members of The Who were excised in the Entwistle cut and were restored for the 2002 DVD.


 
 

WON'T GET FOOLED AGAIN (SHEPPERTON)
Shot at Shepperton Studios, Middlesex May 25, 1978.
Directed by Jeff Stein.
9'12 in film, 9'48 on soundtrack (track 17)

 

"The Greater London Council wouldn't let us use the lasers inside London, and we couldn't find any suitable venue, so we finally booked a huge movie sound stage at Shepperton, and built their entire stage inside. To make up for it not really being a gig, we turned it into a huge party. We had thousands of bottles of wine, cases and cases of beer, and it turned out to be the most uproarious party, and the Who came out and played as a finale.

 We had twelve hundred people drunk out of their skulls, and it was very difficult to film. I didn't have people roped off, and we didn't tell anybody to sit down or anything, and it was crazy. When they hit the stage, there were people all over the place. The Who played great. I was backstage, and the people were roaring for an encore, and carrying on. You know the Who hate to do encores, and they had really beaten themselves to death doing this show. It was really tough, and I went back and said, 'Pete, you gotta go out and give 'em an encore. We've got to get a definitive version of "Won't Get Fooled Again." We need the definitive end.' And he said, 'Jeff, what do you want me to do? Go out there and fall asleep playing? Maybe I should go out there and just die during my last solo? Or maybe I should hit that guy who's been yelling for "Magic Bus" over the head with my guitar.' Anyway, we do have a great ending.  They did go back out and do it. It was very complicated, because I wanted to film the lasers that accompany 'Won't Get Fooled Again' and it was very hard to shoot those, but that was one of the main reasons we wanted to film them at Shepperton, to get the lasers right, which we did."

 

According to eyewitnesses, The Who returned the next day to do additional filming of the lasers section of the performance. It is believed that the film version is made up of pieces of both performances while the soundtrack version is of only one. Keith also went into the recording studio shortly before his death to play some new drum parts that were dubbed over sections of his performance here. John was always proud of his mixing job on this track.

 
 

LONG LIVE ROCK
3'54 in film, 3'56 on soundtrack (track 6) 
The end credits feature a variety of Who exits. In order after the end of "Won't Get Fooled Again" at Shepperton they are:

1) London Coliseum, Dec. 14, 1969.

2) Unsure but probably Festhalle, Frankfurt, West Germany, Aug. 11, 1972.

3) Tanglewood Music Festival, Lenox, Massachusetts, July 7, 1970.

4) Kilburn, London, Dec. 15, 1977 in two parts including the charge up the stairs.

5) Ernst Merck Halle, Hamburg, West Germany, Aug. 12, 1972.

6) Outtake from Top Of The Pops 300th Edition, Wembly, London, Oct. 3, 1973.

7) Monterey Pop Festival, Monterey, California, June 18, 1967.

8) Circus Krone, Munich, West Germany Apr. 13, 1967.

9) Madison Square Garden, New York, June 1974.

The version of "Long Live Rock" under all this features a different mix from the version on Odds and Sods. It was released as the single from the soundtrack backed in the U.K. with "I'm The Face" and "My Wife (Kilburn)" (reaching #48 in the charts) and with just "My Wife (Kilburn)" in the U.S. (reaching #54 in the Billboard charts and #66 in Cash Box). The mix used here was later released on the 30 Years Of Maximum R&B boxset.

 

 

TRACKS ON SOUNDTRACK BUT NOT IN FILM:
 
 

I CAN SEE FOR MILES
4'17 (track 4) 
Originally included in the Singles Medley but excised before the film was released. The video was probably from The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour where The Who mimed to it (see "My Generation" - Smothers Brothers above). Part of it later appeared on the Who's Better Who's Best video. This is a stereo version remixed and remastered by John Entwistle.


 

MY WIFE (KILBURN)
6'08 (track 9) 
Recorded at the Gaumont State Theatre, Kilburn December 15, 1977. The only official release of a track from the Kilburn concert. There is no record of where it was to have been in the film. It might have been included here so that the LP's producer could have at least one title with his authorship. This is one of three live versions of "My Wife" that The Who have released, the other two being on Two's Missing (San Francisco 1971) and the 30 Years Of Maximum R&B boxset (Swansea 1976).

 

Audiophile comments by White Fang can be read here.


If you want to contact me about something on this page, click on my name. I want corrections! Brian Cady

Return to Liner Notes Index

This page has been viewed 43359 times since 2007-10-16.


The logos and trademarks used on this site are the property of their respective owners
We are not responsible for comments posted by our users, as they are the property of the poster

Interactive software released under GNU GPL, Code Credits, Privacy Policy