A mix of old favorites and buried treasures makes this edition of Who's Next a definite must. One of the defining albums of 70s hard rock from one of the 60s most successful bands, the original album includes some of The Who's best-known work, such as the anthemic "Baba O'Riley" and "Won't Get Fooled Again", the by turns sorrowful and angry "Behind Blue Eyes", and perennial favorite "My Wife". The new tracks on this album are equally worth hearing, including "Pure and Easy" (an alternate edition of which is available on Odds & Sods) and the original version of "Behind Blue Eyes". A hard rock classic, Who's Next is required listening for rock fans of all ages.
Rarities Volume I & Volume II is a two-album series collecting songs by The Who, released in 1983 on Polydor in the United Kingdom. The very first release in this series was a single LP titled Join Together - Rarities issued by Polydor in Australia and New Zealand in 1982. It had the same contents as the later released Rarities Volume II with the exception of a shorter version of "I Don't Even Know Myself". The short version of this song fades out about twenty seconds early instead of having a full ending.
The Who's Live at the Royal Albert Hall captures a charity concert for a cancer organization the reunited group performed in November of 2000. Given the band's spotty track record in their farewell tours and reunions of the '80s and '90s, it's easy for some longtime fans to be skeptical of the musical merits of the triple-disc hybrid SACD release of this concert, but this is an exceptional reunion concert, finding the band at their strongest since their early-'80s breakup. Supported by drummer Zak Starkey and longtime keyboardist John "Rabbit" Bundrick, Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, and John Entwistle (in one of his last major concerts) sound reinvigorated, playing such standards as "I Can't Explain" and "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" with vigor and energy, as if they haven't played them countless times.
Following in the footsteps not only of Universal's many Ultimate Collection, but also the Beatles 1 - a groundbreaking collection in the sense that it proved that a collection that contains all the hits will actually sell on CD (thereby proving the cynical ploy of leaving hits off a compilation in order to sell catalog is flawed) - the Who's 2002 compilation The Ultimate Collection attempts to collect all their hits, all their anthems in one place. It fits that bill very well, providing all the big items from "I Can't Explain" to "Emenince Front" as it spans two discs and 35 tracks. Sure, fans will find personal favorites missing, whether it's "A Quick One While He's Away" or "Athena," while collectors will note that it contains everything from the previous attempt at an exhaustive CD compilation, 1996's My Generation: The Very Best of the Who, but it doesn't matter, because this is the best summation of their career for a general audience yet assembled. It functions as both an introduction and as the one Who album listeners who just want the hits will need.