Initially, I expected to put The Who’s Quadrophenia in the latter category. I remember my high school friend’s were big Who fans, and this was an album they loved, but I never really got into the band. I loved ‘The Kids Are Alright‘ (still do) and the Who’s Next album, but the “rock operas” Tommy and Quadrophenia never stirred me a bit.
However, when I gave the album a listen for today’s blog post, I was surprised to find that almost every song on Disc One was instantly familiar. I don’t know if those are residual memories from high school or if I’ve heard these tracks played randomly over the years, but songs like ‘The Real Me,’ ‘The Punk and the Godfather,’ ‘The Dirty Jobs,’ ‘Helpless Dancer’ and ‘I’ve Had Enough’ totally rang a bell. I even recognized the instrumentals.
Side Two was a different story. Apart from the hit ‘Love, Reign o’er Me,’ nothing sounds familiar. Maybe I never had the second CD.
The album’s title is a play on the quadrophonic sound system (utilizing four speakers) and schizophrenia (which was generally confused with split personality disorder at the time). Pete Townshend composed a rock opera about a character named Jimmy, who was split between four personalities — one representing each of the four members of The Who.
The album was reimagined as a film four years later, with Townshend sharing screenwriting credit.
I went back to the doctor
To get another shrink
I sit and tell him about my weekend
But he never betrays what he thinks
Can you see the real me, doctor, doctor?
Can you see the real me, doctor?
I went back to my mother
I said, “I’m crazy Ma help me”
She said, “I know how it feels, son
‘Cause it runs in the family”
Can you see the real me, mother, mother?
Can you see the real me, mother?
Can you see the real me?
Can you see
Can you see the real me?
The real me, the real me
The cracks between the paving stones
Like rivers of flowing veins
Strange people who know me
Peeping from behind every window pane
The girl I used to love
Lives in this yellow house
Yesterday she passed me by
She doesn’t want to know me now
Can you see the real me, can you, can you?
Can you see the real me, can you?
I ended up with the preacher
Full of lies and hate
I seemed to scare him a little
So he showed me to the golden gate
Can you see the real me, preacher, preacher?
Can you see the real me, preacher?
Can you see, can you see, can you see
Can you see the real me doctor
Can you see the real me mother
Can you see the real me me me me me…