Understanding Pinball Wizard

From “12tone”. ( YouTube / Nebula )

There *has* to be a twist!
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Tommy is an… interesting project, with a complicated legacy. It’s a challenging, fascinating work, and it revolutionized the music world by introducing the concept of the rock opera, with a long, interconnected narrative running through the album, the narrative itself certainly raises some eyebrows. That legacy and complexity have meant that, while Tommy is remembered for its historical importance, the actual music on it has mostly not survived in pop culture in the same way as other important albums of the time, with one glaring exception. Outside musical theater circles, Tommy is remembered mainly as the album that brought us Pinball Wizard, Pete Townshend’s bombastic celebration of an arcade classic, shoehorned into the plot as an inside joke with rock critic and pinball fan Nik Cohn. That song has become emblematic of the album as a whole, and while there’s a lot more to Tommy than that, I think it’s a pretty good introduction.

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