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The Who The Ultimate Collection Review

Compilation. Released 11 June 2002.  

BBC Review

Their greatest moment? When Daltrey screams at the end of ''Won't Get Fooled Again''?...

Chris Jones 2002

Here we go again...The Who sell out one more time. Christmas is-a-comin' etc. Well, that's what you could say if this were one more cynical exploitation of a back catalogue thoroughly rifled. Except that, in the Who scheme of things two salient points are very much in this album's favour. One; the classic compilation Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy has yet to see a re-release with cleaned up sound and two; this double (with extra bonus disc, collectors) boasts the most intelligent rounding up of their highlights thus far.

Basically this IS MBB&B until halfway through disc one where the digital format allows the listener to continue their journey to where Townshend went after crafting the masterpiece we all know as Tommy. Good sense prevails here. Having dusted off all those 60s slices of intelligent yet visceral pop and a fair chunk of the deaf, dumb and blind boy, the compilation takes its time over the glory days of the Lifehouse project which, when ripped apart by apathy came back round as their finest studio moment Who's Next (here represented by five tracks including Entwistle's greatest moment ''My Wife'') and a slew of terrific singles from ''The Seeker'' to ''Join Together''.

If there's a drawback it's that the same attention isn't lavished on Quadrophenia (only two tracks? C'mon!). Surely we can live without ''Eminence Front''? Still, it's not often that you get a collection that's well-informed enough to include the brilliantly gonzoid ''Long Live Rock'' and generous enough to give us an unreleased version of ''Happy Jack'' and footage of their classic Charlton gig (where Brandy conspired to make Townshend forget...everything). Their greatest moment? When Daltrey screams at the end of ''Won't Get Fooled Again''? The choppy intro to ''Substitute''? There's a million of them, and they're all here.

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