The Who: My Generation
Reviewed by Kent H. Benjamin, Fri., Oct. 4, 2002
The WhoMy Generation (Deluxe Edition) (MCA/Universal)
In late 1964, the Who signed a production deal with expatriate American producer Shel Talmy of Kinks' fame; "I Can't Explain" followed in January 1965 as the Who's inaugural hit. A year later, the demonstrably irrelevant Talmy was dumped. Unfortunately, Talmy's contract held up in court, and he received an override on all the band's releases for three years, receiving more money for 1969's Tommy than songwriter/creator Pete Townshend. The legal wrangles lasted until last year. Talmy has finally taken the original masters and used original analog equipment to remix and remaster the LP into long-overdue first-time stereo. My Generation was always a stunning debut -- one of the great early British Invasion albums -- but now it sounds as if it was recorded yesterday. In some ways, this isn't truly a reissue, since Talmy has basically re-created the album; it's a hybrid of the original British and U.S. releases, expanded into a 2-CD set with a plethora of bonus material that includes all the non-LP British and American singles and b-sides, and all of the tracks cut for an aborted April 1965 debut. The packaging is superlative, with a great booklet featuring three separate essays, even though the double-disc package is barely longer than a single CD. They should have included a newly remastered mono version of the original British album and a new stereo mix of "Anyhow Anywhere Anyway." My Generation, with its new state of the art audio fidelity, was, remains, and is now more than ever a masterful statement about teenage angst and frustration, in which John Entwistle, Roger Daltrey, and Pete Townshend announced they were among the finest rock bands ever. And 18-year-old Keith Moon laid undisputed claim to being the best drummer of all time.