Story By: G. H. Harding
The Who Sensation

WHO’S NEXT --- Eagle Rock Entertainment is about to explore one of rock music’s shining masterpieces: The Who Sensation – The Story Of Tommy will be released on DVD and Blu-ray next week.

Fully supported and endorsed by The Who, Sensation – The Story Of Tommy explores the background, creation, and impact of this seminal album. Through brand new interviews, the film unveils the history and cultural impact of Tommy through new interviews with surviving members Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey, archive interviews with the late John Entwistle, contributions from engineer Bob Pridden, artwork creator Mike McInnerney, plus others involved in the making of the album, as well as journalists who assess the album’s historic and cultural impact.

Originally aired on BBC TV in August 2013, this version includes additional material not featured in the TV broadcast, as well as a bonus 33-minute feature from the 1969 German TV show entitled Beat Club. This feature, which includes previously unreleased footage, includes tracks from the album and interviews with band members.

Released in 1969, Tommy was a milestone in rock history, and marked a new chapter in the band’s career. Selling over 20 million copies worldwide, the double-album established Pete Townshend’s prowess as not only a musician, but a composer, and further solidified Roger Daltrey as one of rock’s foremost frontmen. A concept album exploring the story of a blind pinball ace, Tommy proved that rock music was a viable vehicle for storytelling, and was the first album to be overtly billed as a rock opera. It was later re-imagined as a film by Ken Russell in the mid-seventies, and a touring stage production in the early nineties.

Tommy was the fourth album by English rock band The Who, released by Track Records and Polydor Records in the UK and Decca Records/MCA in the US.

A double album telling a loose story about a "deaf, dumb and blind kid," Tommy was the first musical work to be billed overtly as a rock opera. Released in 1969, the album was mostly composed by Townshend. In 1998, it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for "historical, artistic and significant value". It has sold over 20 million copies worldwide.

THAU GONE --- Music pioneer Marty Thau passed away last week.Thau was an American rock n' roll entrepreneur and music producer. He is best known as the founder of Red Star Records in 1977, arguably America's first full - fledged post '60s indie punk/new wave label and for being the manager of the New York Dolls and co-producer of Suicide's classic self-titled debut album.

Thau was raised in New York City and attended New York University, 1956-1960. After spending the latter half of the '60s as an award winning record industry executive at Cameo-Parkway and Buddah Records, he joined an independent production/publishing/management company, Inherit Productions. In Thau's 12 months at Inherit the company released two classic albums by Van Morrison: Astral Weeks and Moondance; and, Vintage Violence by ex-Velvet Underground member John Cale.

He left Inherit in 1972 to become head of A&R for Paramount Records but resigned six months later to manage the renewal of rock n' roll in the form of the legendary New York Dolls. The Dolls urban street attitude, gender parodying irreverence, and songs drawn from such disparate influences as early '60s girl groups, southern soul, and '50s rock n' roll inspired him to champion their cause.

After the Dolls disbanded in 1975, Thau entered New York's underground demimonde and was integral to the scene's development as a spawning ground of punk-new wave stars. He is acknowledged as such in the Encyclopedia of Record Producers, a Billboard Magazine reference book that lists the 500 most important record producers in music history and behind the scenes heroes of popular music.

In addition to the Dolls, he worked with prominent punk and new wave artists such as The Ramones, Blondie, Brian Setzer, Richard Hell & The Voidoids, The Real Kids, The Fleshtones, Martin Rev and Walter Steding for his Red Star label.

They don't make 'em like Thau any more sadly. He will be remembered as in integral part of New York’s music scene. RIP!

CLOSING NOTES --- There’s a big buzz that Rhino Records; the label for The Monkees, will be making a huge announcement at The Monkees convention next month, concerning the band. We'll be there and report back …

Furor abounds over the casting of young Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor (Superman’s nemesis) in the forthcoming Ben Affleck-led Superman/Batman film. Apparently, also courted for the role were Joaquin Phoenix and Girls’ Adam Driver.

Part of the furor was that he didn't physically resemble the bald-Luthor of the comics … and, certainly nothing like the previous actors who portrayed him (Kevin Spacey and Gene Hackman). There were also several rumors that Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston was approached … but, he never as.

Finally, as to whether the Social Network’s Eisenberg can handle the task: it turns out that Luthor’s first appearance in the comics was with a shock of red hair! …

Looking very much forward to the production of If/Then starring Broadway’s exceptional Idina Menzel. Previews start next week. If/Then is a musical with a libretto by Brian Yorkey ; a theatrical score by Tom Kitt; and, directed by Michael Grief. It tells the story of a 40-year old woman named Elizabeth who moves back to New York City for a fresh start. Menzel’s one of the great White Way’s biggest stars ever …. We can't wait.