The Who – Live At Leeds

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  • A hard-rockin’ copy – this British Track pressing boasts huge and powerful Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides
  • The recording is huge and lively with startling dynamics and in-the-room-presence like nothing you’ve heard
  • The drums are so solid, punchy and present they put to shame 99 out of 100 rock records you’ve ever played
  • 5 stars in Allmusic – a Rolling Stone readers’ poll in 2012 ranked it the best live album of all time!
  • Cited as the best live rock recording of all time by The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, the BBC Q magazine, and Rolling Stone. In 2003, it was ranked number 170 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Killer sound for this classic live album! Get ready to rock out, as this is one of the BEST SOUNDING live albums ever recorded. Young Man Blues on a copy such as this has drums that are so solid, punchy and present they positively put to shame the drum sound on 99 out of 100 rock records! Keith Moon lives on!

The bass is AMAZING on this record. Present vocals and clear guitars in both channels put this one right up at the top of our shootout. (Most pressings do not get the guitars to jump out of the speakers the way the best can.)

Few copies get the highest highs and the lowest lows but this one had it all going on from top to bottom.

The seven minute long Magic Bus that finishes out the side is The Who at their best. Rock fans will have a hard time finding a better sounding Who pressing than this one on either side.

Vinyl Condition

Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.) 

Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of later pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don’t have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful originals.

If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that’s certainly your prerogative, but we can’t imagine losing what’s good about this music — the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight — just to hear it with less background noise.

“Crackling Noises O.K. – Do Not Correct!!”

There are some crackling noises throughout that sound like noisy vinyl, but they are part of the recording, as indicated on the labels. This is raw and brutal rock and roll, so a little bit of crackle doesn’t really spoil the party.

The Experts Weigh In

Click on the Reviews tab above to read more about the album, complete with gems such as:

“Not since Tommy has there been a record quite so incredibly heavy, so inspired with the kind of kinetic energy that the Who have managed to harness on this album.”

“Live At Leeds… is not just possibly the greatest live album of all time; it is almost certainly The Who’s finest moment.”

“Live At Leeds is as pure as heavy rock gets.”

“When the Who blew up Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues” to Godzilla-like proportions, they invented Seventies arena rock.”

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Young Man Blues 
Substitute 
Summertime Blues
Shakin’ All Over

Side Two

My Generation 
The Magic Bus

Circus

Not since Tommy has there been a record quite so incredibly heavy, so inspired with the kind of kinetic energy that the Who have managed to harness on this album. They have always been the type of group which relies on a simple, hard, repetitive and highly contagious theme that doesn’t involve itself terribly with head stuff. “My Generation,” which is included, does not depart from this formula and must rank as one of the great rock songs of all time. And they do this together with a generous sampling from Tommy, fusing several songs together on the second side in a highly powerful physical and coherent theme. The entire album flows like Tommy only beter; there’s no waiting for the good stuff.

– Jonathan Eisen, Circus, 7/70.

Rolling Stone

Faced with the impossible task of following up the grand statement of Tommy, the Who just cranked up their amps. Rather than wade through eighty hours of American shows for a live album, Pete Townshend claimed he burned those tapes “in a huge bonfire” and selected a concert at Leeds University in England. Leeds is a warts-and-all live album, including an accidental clunking sound on “My Generation.” There’s no finesse, just the pure power of a band able to play as loud as it wants to. When the Who blew up Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues” to Godzilla-like proportions, they invented Seventies arena rock.

– Rolling Stone, 12/11/03.

1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die

The legendary power and volume of The Who was always best sampled live. The studio tended to deaden their electricity; they recorded some fabulous singles, but no truly perfect albums; even Tommy suffered from pretentious production. Live At Leeds, then, is not just possibly the greatest live album of all time; it is almost certainly The Who’s finest moment.

The album caught the band soon after touring Tommy in its entirety, itching to cut loose. A show at Britain’s Leeds University on Valentine’s Day 1970 was the location; the band surged at full strength for more than two hours, playing Tommy, their classic singles, and a clutch of rock ‘n’ roll gems along the way. Unrestrained onstage, the power-trio of musicians behind Roger Daltrey swelled to fearsome strength — bassist John Entwistle carrying the melodies, drummer Keith Moon rolling and filling with powerhouse abandon, and Pete Townshend proving himself a pioneer of feedback and dynamics, his terse solos full of ideas and emotion, a truly understated guitarist.

The resulting album arrived later that year, packaged like a faux-bootleg in a shabby cardboard gatefold. Though later expanded on CD, the original six-track vinyl is perfect in itself, especially the devil-driven cover of Mose Allison’s “Young Man’s Blues,” and the sprawling “My Generation,” which soon becomes a kaleidoscope of windmill riffage. Live At Leeds is as pure as heavy rock gets.

Stevie Chick, 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, 2005.

Five Star AMG Review

A loud, raunchy concert showcase for the group, with surprisingly little material from Tommy. The group’s R&B roots are showcased here far better than on their post-My Generation studio album.

Accolades

Live at Leeds has been cited as the best live rock recording of all time by The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, the BBC Q magazine, and Rolling Stone. In 2003, it was ranked number 170 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

The venue at which it was recorded, the University Refectory, was named a national landmark, commemorated with a blue plaque. On 17 June 2006, over 36 years after the original concert, the Who returned to perform at the Refectory, at a gig organised by Andy Kershaw. Kershaw stated the gig was “among the most magnificent I have ever seen.”

A Rolling Stone readers’ poll in 2012 ranked it the best live album of all time.

Wikipedia