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Features

This Day in History - June 7

The Who Performs "Tommy" at The Met.
Feature | June 7, 2017 | By Jonathan Shipley

Tommy

On this day, in 1970, The Who performed Tommy at the Metropolitan Opera House. It was wildly successful. Lead guitarist, Pete Townshend, said at the time that it would be the last time they would perform Tommy ever again. It wasn't. They had a live performance at the Isle of Wight in August of that year before an audience of 600,000. They've performed it since from time time, including during their 1989 reunion tour. 

Tommy was The Who's breakthrough album. Their fourth studio album, it was released in 1969. Composed by Townshend as a rock opera, it tells the story about a deaf, dumb and blind boy. It was subsequently made into a film in 1975, that starred The Who's lead singer Roger Daltrey. The cast also included Ann-Margret, Tina Turner, Elton John, Jack Nicholson and more. Tommy was also a 1992 Broadway musical. The original album has sold more than 20 million copies.

Seattle has ties to it. The Seattle Opera performed it. It was the world's first performance of a rock opera. Performed at the Moore Theatre in 1971, the production starred Steve Curry in the title role and also had Bette Midler, the only time she has performed with the Seattle Opera. 

Here's Elton John in the movie:

The 1989 concert:

A commercial for the Broadway show: