pete townshend – tommy/quadrophenia

Without vision, sound, or tongue, through a mirror murder I came undone
I’m seeking redemption, I’m basking in the Brighton Beach sun – Ryan Cox

“Pete Townshend” A Cirucs Mind

The first line is in reference to The Who’s rock opera Tommy. Tommy is a double album telling a loose story about a “deaf, dumb, and blind boy” who becomes the leader of a messianic movement, Tommy was the first musical work to be billed overtly as a rock opera.

Tommy’s father, Captain Walker, returns home and discovers that his wife has found a new lover. Captain Walker confronts the two, and the lover is subsequently killed in the struggle. To cover up the incident, Tommy’s parents tell him that he didn’t see or hear it, and that he will never tell anyone about the incident. Traumatised, Tommy subsequently becomes blind, deaf and mute. Tommy is discovered to have a talent for pinball, and quickly defeats the local champion of the game. His mother continues to try to reach him, and becomes frustrated that he ignores her while staring directly at a mirror, despite his apparent inability to see. Out of this frustration she smashes the mirror and brings Tommy back into reality. This “miracle cure” becomes a public sensation and Tommy attains a guru-like status. Thereafter he assumes a messianic mantle and attempts to enlighten those willing to follow him. Tommy instructs his followers to blind, deafen and mute themselves in order to truly reach enlightenment. They eventually reject his methods and ideology after finding that his enlightenment is not reached by being cured, but by discovering a state of awareness while blind, deaf, and mute

The second line is in reference to The Who’s second rock opera Quadrophenia. The story is about a boy named Jimmy, who struggles for self-esteem, with his family and others, and is mentally ill. His story is set against clashes between Mods and Rockers in the early 1960s in the UK, particularly at Brighton.



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