Wish you were there: The High Numbers, 1964

Before they were the Who, they were the High Numbers. Very little exists of their work in this guise, except in the memories of those who were there. Even The Who’s ‘My Generation’, their first album, does not capture the excitement of their live act.

Before ‘Tommy’, ‘Quadrophenia’ and 10 minute epics, they played intense, electrifying versions of Tamla and James Brown hits – ‘Please Please Please’, ‘Heatwave’ and this, the Miracles’ ‘I got to dance to keep from crying’

Before Monterey Pop, Woodstock and America’s enormodomes, they played to young mods here, the Railway Tavern in Harrow, as well as the Watford Trades Union Hall and a dozen other pubs and clubs in North West London.

I love this clip because it captures the purity of their vision – uptempo, danceable records, played as loud as possible. Music of black American urban youth reinterpreted by their white British counterparts. Sunglasses indoors. Cool.

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