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Concept Albums: Awareness vs. Enjoyment

February 19, 2021

[Album 861 & 862 / 1001]

Do you have a favourite ‘Concept’ album?

Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) & The Who Sell Out would be near the top of my list.

But in each of those cases, I knew ahead of time that I would be listening to a ‘Concept’ album.

Did that impact my enjoyment at all?

Do you have to know that you’re experiencing a ‘Concept’ album to have the full experience?


With The Who’s Tommy, I was both well aware of the group & the stage musical (I recall my friend Aaron had a yellow T-shirt back in the day with the tagline, ‘See Me Feel Me Touch Me Heal Me’).

Surprisingly though, I’d never seen the show or heard the album in its entirety.

While I often exert far too much energy moaning about 75+ minute albums, the running length here didn’t bother me at all.

Maybe that was because it felt like the album / story was ‘going’ somewhere, rather than it merely being a collection of tracks that would benefit from increased editing?

With The Pretty Things, I didn’t realize that SF Sorrow was a concept album

Now that I’ve learned that it is, even after several spins, I’m still not entirely sure of its specific concept.

And that didn’t / doesn’t preclude me from enjoying it in the slightest!



Verbalize the Positive

a) Kudos to Dick Taylor, who at one time or another, played in 3 groups that are featured on the 1001 list: The Pretty Things, The Mekons, and The Rolling Stones!

b) In a bit of serendipitous timing, I had this post lined up to publish on Saturday morning.

But then I realized The LeBrain Train will be discussing Concept Albums tonight and thought, why wait!

Check out Mike’s show tonight (The LeBrain Train on YouTube on Friday, February 19th) as they discuss the “Nigel Tufnel Top Ten Concept Albums” – enjoy!


From → 1960s

  1. Thanks for reminding me of some I may have neglected 😉

  2. Holen permalink

    Have you seen the Ken Russell Tommy film? It’s something else, man.

  3. Though I’m not a fan of Tommy (much prefer Quadrophenia – more cohesive and better songs), I really love S.F. Sorrow. It’s a kind of life story in an album affair; downbeat but quite touching.

    • And I have yet to hear Quadropohenia – I’ve heard good things though. The list did include Sell Out & Tommy, I suppose 2 outta 3 concept albums ain’t bad!

      • Ah, The Who Sell Out is one of their most satisfying albums (they were always a singles band for me!).

  4. Amazing with all the craziness The Who has going offstage at the time. It’s amazing how Townsend could focus to write Tommy at all. lol

    • I don’t know much about the Who behind the scenes – but it’s true, amazing some of the music people were able to make when living anything but the ‘early to bed, early to rise’ rule!

      • I would be in a coma for a month if I tried to keep up with The Who’s offstage antics.

  5. I like loosey-goosey definitions of concept albums. They make guesting on shows fun!

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