The orchestral version of The Who’s rock opera Tommy is being reissued after being out of print for thirty years.
The album was originally released in 1972 by the London Symphony Orchestra with the English Chamber Orchestra, and was conceived by Lou Reizner, who later worked on Rick Wakeman’s Journey To The Centre Of The Earth.
Tommy featured solo spots from Rod Stewart, Ringo Starr, Steve Winwood, Richie Havens, Sandy Denny, Maggie Bell, Graham Bell and actor Richard Harris, and launched with a show at London’s Rainbow venue starring Bell, David Essex, Marsha Hunt, Elkie Brooks, Roger Chapman, Bill Oddie, Vivian Stanshall, Roy Wood and John Pertwee.
Joining the cast on the album and at The Rainbow, to perform the Acid Queen role filled by Tina Turner on the 1975 film version, was singer Merry Clayton, perhaps most famous for her vocals on the Rolling Stones’ Gimme Shelter.
“I always saw the Who’s version of Tommy as more of a sketch and felt there was more that could be done with it,” says Pete Townshend. “The London Symphony project, I think, paved the way for more to come.”
“When Lou Reizner explained his idea and concept for the recording of Tommy and that Pete Townshend was on board, that moved me to become involved,” adds Lou Adler, who released the original album. “The recording sessions in England were dynamic and mind-boggling. The size and sound of the London Symphony Orchestra, the Chambre Choir voices and the addition of the amazing soloists made Reizner’s dream a reality.”
The album been re-mastered and will be released in digital, CD and vinyl formats on September 11 on Adler’s Ode Sound & Visual Records.