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Tommy by The Who

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Being that it’s difficult for most of us to close our eyes and walk from one side of a room to the other without tripping over something, it would be doubly as hard to try in the world outside, blind. Add deafness on top of that and we’d all just crawl into a big ball of sadness. Meanwhile, those who get along perfectly with both disabilities are shaking their heads and sticks, all disappointed-like, at our pathetic inability to try and learn how to cope.

Tommy, from The Who’s 1975 rock opera of the same name, was himself deaf on top of being blind, on top of being not-so-bright. A triple whammy. Poor thing. But despite all these uncontrollable disadvantages, he overcame the loss of his senses in a powerful way, becoming the greatest pinball player there ever was — the “Pinball Wizard” — without curling up in the corner and crying profusely.

With it’s infamous soundtrack and well-known cast of musicians (Elton John, Eric Clapton, Tina Turner, Roger Daltry) and Hollywood A-lister cameos (Jack Nicholson, Ann Margret), Tommy inspired other bands of the era to combine the theatricality of opera with rock ‘n’ roll. Though with other films you’re unlikely to witness Jack Nicholson’s bad attempt at singing and Pete Townshend’s message that organized religion is terrible, watching a rock opera not considered “one the greatest musical achievements in rock and roll’s history” is something you should do only if you prefer mediocre entertainment for your little ones.

It’s totally up to you, parents. That madman from The Wall is definitely someone your child should spend lots of time with. (P.S. — No it isn’t.)

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