Quadrophenia Research Paper

Michelle Kahn Mr. McCrary AP Industrial World Term Paper The personalities of the Members of The Who as Represented by the Protagonist of Quadrophenia Quadrophenia is the sixth studio album by the English rock band The Who. The story involves social, musical, and psychological happenings from an English teenage perspective, set in London and Brighton in 1964 and 1965. The name, Quadrophenia, is a variation on the incorrect popular usage of the medical diagnostic term schizophrenia as dissociative identity disorder to reflect the four distinct personalities of Jimmy, the opera’s protagonist (“Quadrophenia. Reference. com). The four distinct personalities of Jimmy, the main character of the album, each represent the personalities of the members of The Who. The protagonist of Quadrophenia, Jimmy, is a young Mod in the throes of self- doubt and alienation. He is a “working- class kid, disillusioned with a life of dead- end jobs, unsympathetic parents, and a psychiatrist who doesn’t understand him” (Neill 225). Jimmy also suffers from “quadrophenia” which was meant to be a spin-off of the personality disorder, schizophrenia.

He is a schizophrenic who takes pills, a popular aspect of the Mod lifestyle, and his schizophrenia divides up causing him to become quadrophenic (“Quadrophenia- The Album”). The listener is immediately introduced to the four different personalities of Jimmy at the beginning of the album. In “I am the Sea/The Real Me” the listener can clearly hear how Jimmy is torn between the four different aspects of his personality, “Helpless Dancer// Is it me? // Bell Boy. // Love Reign O’er Me. ” (“Quadrophenia- Lyrics”); he is struggling to figure out who the “real” him is.

The first member of The Who, Roger Daltrey, was born at Hammersmith Hospital in West London on March 1, 1944 during a heavy World War II bombing raid. Both of his parents were staunchly working class; his father was an insurance clerk while his mother was a sickness beneficiary due to losing a kidney and contracting polio prior to Roger’s birth. When his father was drafted into the war, Roger and his mother were sent to live on a farm in Scotland. The family was eventually reunited once the war ended.

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In 1957, the Daltreys moved to Bedford Park, part of the more affluent suburb of neighboring Acton, and Roger attended Acton County Grammar School (Neill 8). “You know, I was a school rebel. Whatever they said do, I didn’t do. I was totally anti- everything. I was a right bastard, a right hard nut. I just totally closed the doors to ever wanting to know what they had to teach me. Rock and Roll was the only thing I wanted to get into” (Barling “Roger Daltrey”). In Quadrophenia, Daltrey is represented by the “tough guy” aspect of Jimmy’s personality. Daltrey was combative and had a reputation for getting into fights.

He was also known for his belligerence on stage. Daltrey’s theme in Quadrophenia was “a tough guy, a helpless dancer” (Barling “Roger Daltrey”). In the song “Helpless Dancer”, which was meant to represent Roger’s personality, the listener gets “a real look at where [Jimmy’s] aggression comes from. Jimmy has a conscience that bites fairly deeply. His frustration with the world only makes him more angry, even bitter” (“Quadrophenia- The Album”). The second member of The Who, Keith Moon, was born at Central Middlesex County Hospital in North West London on August 23, 1946.

He was raised in Wembley by his father, who was a motorcycle mechanic, and his mother, who was a part-time housekeeper. While attending Barham Primary School, he was extremely outgoing; he was a hyperactive boy with a restless imagination. In 1957 he attended Alperton Secondary School after failing the 11-plus. Keith was uninterested in school, however, and preferred to play tricks on his teachers, which gained him admiration from his classmates (Neill 11). The aspect of Jimmy’s personality in Quadrophenia that was meant to represent Keith was “a bloody lunatic, I’ll even carry your bags”.

Moon was always seen as “needing the attention of others while keeping up a front of self- containment at the same time” (Barling “Keith Moon”). Keith’s theme is expressed mainly in the song “Bell Boy. ” In this song, Jimmy goes back to Brighton in order to relive the good times he had there. While there, he meets a former Ace Face who now holds a position as a bell boy at the very hotel the Mods tore up earlier in the story. Ace Face looks on Jimmy with a mixture of pity and contempt. The two argue, as Jimmy feels that Ace Face has “sold out”.

Jimmy then feels that everything- even the Mod lifestyle- has let him down. Sung by Keith Moon, “Bell Boy” expresses Jimmy’s, and Keith’s, increasing anger and confusion that finally erupts in the song “Dr. Jimmy”. In “Dr. Jimmy”, Jimmy begins to damage himself so badly on drugs and alcohol that he finally reaches a point of desperation. This song truly shows the lunatic within him and connects him once again to Keith Moon. “The part where he says, ‘What is it, I’ll take it. Who is she, I’ll rape it. ‘ That’s really the way I see Keith Moon in his most bravado sort of states of mind” (“Quadrophenia- The Album”).

The third member of The Who, John Entwistle, was born at Hammersmith Hospital in Acton on October 9, 1944. His father was in the royal navy and his mother worked as a tax clerk. John was an only child whose parents separated when he was just eighteen months. He was taken by his mother to live with his grandparents, where he was raised. This early displacement is said to have contributed to John’s reserved nature (Neill 10). As one of The Detours, Doug Sandom said of Entwistle, “John didn’t like to upset anybody. He was the boy who was quiet, who wouldn’t upset anybody” (Barling “John Entwistle”).

Entwistle’s theme in Quadrophenia was “a romantic, is it me for a moment. ” John, although not giving a full song on the album, is represented in the quiet, reflective, and laconic aspects of Jimmy’s personality (Barling “John Entwistle”). This “romantic” aspect of Jimmy’s personality can be heard throughout the album but is most clearly displayed in the song “Dr. Jimmy”. After the reprise of the chorus, the listener hears Entwistle’s theme of “Is it me? ” which provides a sharp contrast to Moon’s theme of “a bloody lunatic”, which is expressed during most of the song.

The final member of The Who, Pete Townshend, was born on May 19, 1945 at Nazareth House, a convent in Isleworth that had been requisitioned as an annex to the nearby West Middlesex Hospital for use as a maternity ward during the war. Pete was born into a musical family. His grandfather had performed in the Jade Shepard Concert revue and his parents were part of the RAF dance orchestra, later known as the Squadronaires. At five years old, Pete was sent to live with his grandmother for a year in Acton due to the fact that both his parents were absent for long periods of time (Neill 9).

The final song on the album, “Love Reign O’er Me”, was Pete’s theme and is the point at which Jimmy, after contemplating suicide once again, has an epiphany and finally realizes who he is: himself. In Quadrophenia, Townshend is portrayed as “a beggar, a hypocrite, love reign o’er me” (Barling “Pete Townshend”). Like the other themes in Quadrophenia, this aspect of Jimmy’s personality can be heard in the other songs on the album, particularly in “I’ve Had Enough”. In this song, Jimmy has finally snapped and has gone into a desperately self- destructive state after seeing the girl he likes with one of his friends.

Pete’s theme can also be heard in “The Real Me”, the song which, along with “I am the Sea”, introduces the listener to the four different personalities of Jimmy. Townshend’s personality is represented in the lyrics “I went to the holy man, // Full of lies and hate, // I seemed to scare him a little // So he showed me the golden gate. // Can you see the real me preacher? ” (“Quadrophenia- Lyrics). These lyrics show the “beggar” and the “hypocrite” in Jimmy, as he is seeking guidance and yet he refuses to believe, and even scares, the one trying to provide it.

Pete’s theme ultimately culminates in “Love Reign O’er Me” and was similar to the song “Drowned” in meaning. “Love Reign O’er Me” refers to Meher Baba’s comment that rain was a blessing from God and that the thunder was God’s voice. The song was another plea by Jimmy to drown, only this time in the rain (“Quadrophenia- The Album”). The Album Quadrophenia expresses the different personalities of each member of The Who in the guise of a lonely, teenage Mod. This idea of schizophrenia times two creates a large conflict in the actual story of Quadrophenia, meant to center around the protagonist Jimmy.

These four themes wrestle, congeal, and split apart throughout the album creating not only a sense of immense frustration in the main character but also an amazing musical experience for the listener. Works Cited Barling, David M. “John Entwistle. ” Www. thewho. net. Web. 3 May 2010. <http://www. thewho. net/Content/Biographies/John_Entwistle. html>. Barling, David M. “Keith Moon. ” Www. thewho. net. Web. 3 May 2010. <http://www. thewho. net/Content/Biographies/Keith_Moon. html>. Barling, David M. “Pete Townshend. ” Www. thewho. net. Web. 3 May 2010. <http://www. thewho. net/Content/Biographies/Pete_Townshend. tml>. Barling, David M. “Roger Daltrey. ” Www. thewho. net. Web. 3 May 2010. <http://www. thewho. net/Content/Biographies/Roger_Daltrey. html>. Neill, Andy, and Matt Kent, eds. ANYWAY ANYHOW ANYWHERE- The Complete Chronicle of THE WHO 1958-1978. Michael Friedman Group, 2002. Print. “Quadrophenia- Lyrics. ” Quadrophenia. net. Web. 16 May 2010. <http://www. quadrophenia. net/album/lyrics. html>. “Quadrophenia. ” Reference. com. Web. 15 May 2010. <http://www. reference. com/browse/quadrophenia “Quadrophenia- The Album. ” Quadrophenia. net. Web. 2 May 2010. <http://www. quadrophenia. net/>.