Classic Tracks: The Who – Live at Leeds

Posted: November 8, 2012 in Rock Music
Tags: , , ,

One of the true gems in my music collection is the 1970 release “Live at Leeds” by The Who.  “Live at Leeds” is widely regarded

“Live at Leeds” is The Who’s first live album, and is the only live album that was released while the group were still recording and performing regularly.

In recent years, the album was ranked number 170 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.  The New York Times reviewed it as the “greatest live rock album ever made”.

In this use, Leeds refers to the University of Leeds in the UK.  The event of the concert has been memorialized in one of the UK’s famous blue plaques.

I remember buying this album in high school when it first came out and being stunned by The Who’s treatment of Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues”.  Like a lot of the great British bands of that time they were able to take a standard U.S. blues or rockabilly tune, deconstruct it, and use the pieces to create their own version.

Excerpted from Wikipedia…

“Fortune Teller” and “Young Man Blues” are R&B tunes that were a standard part of The Who’s stage repertoire at the time. “Shakin’ All Over” is a cover of a hit by pioneering early 1960s British rocker Johnny Kidd and “Summertime Blues” is a cover of an Eddie Cochran song.

 “My Generation” is drawn out into an almost sixteen minute medley including “See Me, Feel Me” / “Listening To You”, “Underture”, the instrumental riff from the end of “Naked Eye”, “The Seeker,” and a number of other mostly unfamiliar themes.

“Magic Bus” is drawn out to seven and a half minutes (9:42 on the un-edited recording). On the originally released version, there is an 8 second segment near the beginning of “Magic Bus” (leading into the lyric I don’t care how much I pay) where the music is played backwards. This was probably done to cover a glitch in the live tapes. The 1995 and 2001 CD mixes edit this section differently and do not have the backward portion. The backwards portion was retained on “Greatest Hits Live”. The rest of the tracks are fairly straightforward renditions of the original songs, albeit with a consistent hard-rock power trio sound rather than any attempt to re-create the various studio sounds of their original recordings.



  1. I love this album too. Lost my vinyl copy years ago and recently saw the cd in a sale for a pittance – said cd now has a new home. 🙂 Glad to see that you are back up and running after the storms, Tim. Stay well.


  2. Ovidiu Boar says:

    An incredible album that comes darn close to capturing the very essence of rock ‘n’ roll. Besides the obvious incredible playing, I’m also very fond of that hillarious intro to A Quick One While He’s Away. “All over me best persian!” haha.


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