Monday 12 January 2015


Piano stool
Red chair
Ever wondered how Pete Townshend stumbled across one of rock and roll's most iconic of intros? Baba O'Riley, side one track one from Who's Next, has, probably, the most recognisable of any opening motif recorded in the last fifty years - sounding like a cross between a carousel fairground ride and a musical box.

It actually comes from a bit of kit not dissimilar to the mighty Wurlitzer found in the ballroom at the top of Blackpool Tower: the Lowery Berkshire Deluxe Organ TBO-1, to give it it's full name, probably took up more room than it's contemporary Hammond, coming as it did with a vast array of arrangements and novelty sounds that could keep John Shuttleworth in material for the rest of his career.

In 1971 Townshend discovered that if you played about with the Marimba Repeat tab, it made a noise something like this:

And with a bit of tweaking and by hooking it up to one of those new fangled synthesiser things that were all the rage it suddenly took on a life of its own. Here it is many years later, in 2000 to be precise, with Pete, Rog and John joined by Nigel Kennedy at The Royal Albert Hall:

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