One Track Mind: The Who, “Be Lucky” from Who Hits 50 (2014)

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A canny combining of eras, the Who’s “Be Lucky” starts off like one of the Who’s late-1970s pop piffles before emerging mid-way through with a scruffy bit of riff-driven wordplay that recalls all of their earliest triumphs. That’s about all we should reasonably ask for, at this late date.

Their struggles, their losses, their never-ending farewells, all of it’s well-trod ground. Are they still the Who without Keith Moon or John Entwistle? Still of interest at this late date? Maybe, it all depends on your point of view — but the fan in me has found a way to celebrate “Be Lucky.”

Certainly, even with its flinty conclusion, “Be Lucky” is no match for the memory of the Leeds-ian fury of old. But, if we’re being honest, it’s difficult to know how much of that fire would remain even with the original lineup in tow. After all, they would still be men of a certain age.

And so, we’re left to accept, or reject, this new music on the merits of your fandom. Is there some small blessing in finding a new song affixed to the end of yet another repackaging — this time, it’s called Who Hits 50, due on October 27, 2014 via UMe — of their best-known songs? Some moment of reminiscent joy embedded in this that makes up for every wrong turn? Some glimmer of everything that made Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend into superstars as the still-standing co-leaders of the Who?

We should be so lucky, right?

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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