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The Who's "Tommy" Gets The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame & Museum Treatment

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland launches a new exhibit, "TOMMY: The Amazing Journey," on April 7 and will remain on display until March 2006.

As one of the earliest and most important rock operas, "Tommy" has had many incarnations, including an album, movie (starring the Who, Ann-Margaret, Oliver Reed, and Jack Nicholson and appearances by Eric Clapton, Tina Turner and Elton John), soundtrack, a Broadway musical (1992) as well as an orchestral version and a ballet interpretation. Conceived and primarily written by The Who's Pete Townshend, "Tommy" was released in 1969. March 18, 2005 marks the 30th anniversary of the motion pictures version of Tommy, directed by Ken Russell.

"The Who are one of the great bands in rock and roll history, and Tommy is one of their greatest works," said Jim Henke, the museum's vice president of exhibitions and curatorial affairs. "We have worked closely with Pete Townshend, who created Tommy, and the result is a comprehensive look at the first rock opera."

The exhibition features Townshend's handwritten manuscripts and production notes as well as costumes, instruments, posters and other artifacts from the numerous incarnations of Tommy.

Artifacts in the exhibit include:

  • Track Listing and Conceptual Notes, 1968;
  • This handwritten manuscript reveals Pete Townshend's evolving concept
    of the opera;

  • "Tommy Can You Hear Me/Go To the Mirror" handwritten lyrics, 1968;
  • UK Tour Concert Program, 1970;
  • Roger Daltrey Suit from Ken Russell Tommy film, 1974;
  • Fillmore East Program, 1969;
  • Ticket and brochure from Woodstock;
  • Program from Theatre de Champs Alysses, a European opera house where
    the Who performed Tommy;

  • A typed letter from Pete Townshend to the fan club, Fall 1969;
  • Posters for both Isle of Wight concerts, 1969 and 1970;
  • Letter from Pete Townshend to Ken Russell with detailed casting
    proposals for the movie;

  • Posters from 5 different countries for the movie; and
  • Poster for the Who, James Gang and James Taylor performance at Public
    Hall, Cleveland, 1970

— Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner