My Top 1000 Songs #504: Go To The Mirror

[I've been writing up my Top 1000 songs on a daily basis--you can see them all in descending order by hitting the All My Favorite Songs tag.]

I don't listen to Tommy much these days. It's kind of fallen to the wayside with other formative albums of my youth, kinda like The Wall. When I'm in the mood for the Who--which, frankly, is still pretty frequent--I'm more likely to grab Quadrophenia or Who's Next/Lifehouse.

But as a pre-teen just getting into classic rock, and especially The Who, a band with which I was absolutely obsessed--Tommy was a monster. The 1969 rock opera bridged the band's earlier pop-art gifts with Pete Townshend's growing narrative ambitions. These days, it's a little dated, kinda naive, but as a kid first realizing how much more reach rock music had than the Top 40 pop songs I'd started out on just a few years prior, I can't overstate how much it blew me away.

"Go To The Mirror" probably isn't the go-to track on the double-LP, with tunes like "Pinball Wizard" and "Acid Queen" and "Amazing Journey" and others a little more part of the band's core canon; but for me it perfectly boiled the record down to its basic elements. It's a basic three-chord pop song, not far afield from earlier stuff on A Quick One and Sell Out, yet in its brief running time it manages to pull in many of the album's broader lyrical and musical themes, the recurring "See Me, Feel Me" and "Listening To You" bits worked in as pithy bridges. Plus Daltrey's vocals are at peak sweetness, totally beguiling, before he moved into his gruffer arena-rock 70s mode.

Also... that bit with Jack Nicholson "singing" the song in the movie was absolutely bonkers.

Live 1970:
Live 2017:
And, of course, Jack!
From the Smithereens' 2009 Tommy tribute: