5. My Generation (1965)
The Who released a greatest hits box in 1994 with a cheeky title, Thirty Years Of Maximum R&B. The London lads won't be remembered as an R&B act, but its roots are squarely implanted therein. On this, its debut album, the Who covers two James Browns tunes ("I Don't Mind" and "Please, Please, Please"), as well as a Bo Diddley cut, "I'm a Man." Rhythm and blues informed a record and, then, the band exploded outward from the genre -- all on the same disc.
Many of the songs bring to mind black-and-white images of awkward television performances, but the Who's first album has a break-out centerpiece: "My Generation," a fierce forebear to punk, is also a coming-out party for the foursome. Daltry stutters along as Entwistle lays down a groovy, thumping bass solo. Moon smashes his kit with hyperspace-like velocity before a destructive solo of his own. Townshend's guitar can be heard fading out and losing its tune, ready to be lodged in Moon's set. It and the next track on the record, "The Kids Are Alright," also represent the first few paragraphs of the Who's dissertation on its fanbase and aging; to be continued.