Simon Wells: Quadrophenia: A Way Of Life

Who-approved movie account.

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With stage play, sequel and remake in the works, Pete Townshend’s 1973 mod opera Quadrophenia has rarely enjoyed a higher profile, but the allure of the movie that followed six years after the album has never dimmed.

At last, author Simon Wells (known for his forensic works on the Redlands bust, Charles Manson and The Prisoner) has delivered the behind-the-scenes account and consolidation of immortality which old mods, Who fans and more recent converts have long craved.

After Who manager and Quadrophenia producer Bill Curbishley’s introduction, Wells starts by relating the startling tragedy of 17-year-old mod Barry Prior, who plunged to his death from a Brighton cliff in 1964. Using past and personally conducted interviews with major players, he recounts the film’s tortuous tale, including John Lydon losing out to Phil Daniels for the lead role of Jimmy, the Vespa-straddling, speed-guzzling teenage hero, through often scary shooting incidents to its release during Britain’s mod revival.

Boosted by original script extracts, memorabilia, location shots and stills, this book should surely prove fascinating to anyone interested in the film Wells calls “arguably the most vibrant and believable reflection of British youth culture of the 20th century”.