a Project of the Mockingbird Foundation

Performances Song History


Music/Lyrics: Pete Townsend

Vocals: Instrumental

Original Artist: The Who

Original Album: Quadrophenia (1973)

Albums: Live Phish 14

Debut: 1995-10-31

Historian: Craig DeLucia

All good musicals and rock operas interweave common themes throughout the course of the story. The title track to Quadrophenia does just this, as it highlights musical phrases from throughout the album and presents them for the listener to remember and refer to. “Quadrophenia” the song takes this common concept a step further, though, by tying the recurring themes to the title of the show.

Quadrophenia is so named because the narrator, Jimmy, is suffering from a sort of inner confusion that can only be compared to a multiple personality disorder. Jimmy is so bad off that he is not only schizophrenic (two personalities); he is quadrophrenic (with four). As such, there are four common musical themes that run throughout the show and are identified with each of the original members of The Who. Phish, as a quartet, easily adapted this concept to their performance and provided yet another reason for the band to cover this epic album. 

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