YMMV: Tommy


  • Accidental Innuendo: The songs "See Me, Feel Me" and "Sensation".
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: For some reason, a good percentage of the Tommy Fandom seems to treat the Local Lad (especially the Elton John version) like he's a Sissy Villain simply for being Tommy's rival when it came to being a champion at Pinball. As an unfortunate result, he occasionally ends up being treated like either The Scrappy or an Asshole Victim.
    • To be fair, some versions of the musical do feature the Local Lad as something of an antagonist, but they're still pretty harmless in comparison to the other villains.
  • Awesome Music: "I'm Free" for one, which feels a lot harder than it sounds.
    • The entire soundtrack, really.
  • Covered Up: "Eyesight to the Blind" was originally by Sonny Boy Williamson II. The Who had also intended to use Mose Allison's "Young Man Blues" on the album, but couldn't find room for it, and so it had to wait until Live At Leeds to be covered.
    • On top of that, when the Who performed Tommy on tour in 1989, they used Eric Clapton's arrangement of Eyesight, from The Movie, rather than their own arrangement from the album.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Uncle Ernie has a following, despite being a drunken child molester.
    • Cousin Kevin occasionally gets this treatment as well, despite being abusive to Tommy.
  • Ear Worm
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Uncle Ernie, if you can believe it, has a whole host of fans.
    • Same with Cousin Kevin, though not as much as Ernie.
    • Both the Acid Queen and the Local Lad have plenty of fans, too, despite the latter's hatedom calling him The Scrappy.
  • Epic Riff
  • Faux Symbolism: In the film, it's quite apparent that director Ken Russell has never met a piece of symbolism he couldn't beat his viewers over the head with.
  • Grown the Beard: Before this album, The Who were considered a flash-in-the-pan British Invasion act known mostly for joke songs and destroying perfectly good musical instruments. Then along comes this record, really the first of it's kind, featuring rock n roll songs with tight composition and performance and a sophisticated overarching story, sending the band's popularity skyrocketing to the rock legends they are today.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • "Sally Simpson," where a girl is injured during a riot at a speech by Tommy. A real 1979 Who concert had several people killed outside the venue when people rushed to get in.
    • "Fiddle About" is even squickier in light of Pete Townshend being investigated for child porn, and his revelation that he was sexually abused by a relative when he was a child.
  • Heartwarming Moments: Is there anyone who doesn't get choked up listening to "Listening To You"?
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In "Go To The Mirror!" the doctor thinks about the isolation shock caused when/if Tommy's senses return. When he does get them back, he mobilizes his cult of personality. Subverted later when his followers leave him thanks to the unorthodox views he got from his experiences.
  • I Am Not Shazam: A common mistake even among the fans is to call the character who sings "Pinball Wizard", well, the Pinball Wizard (or, in the movie's case, Elton John). He's actually called the Local Lad according to the scripts for the movie and the lyric sheet for the original album.
    • The lyric sheet of the original album also shows that the name of the character singing "The Acid Queen" is actually called The Gypsy.
  • Moment of Awesome: During the band's performance at Woodstock, the climactic moment of See Me, Feel Me happened to coincide precisely with the morning sun breaching the horizon. The group had a lighting rig (then a rarity) constructed to replicate this effect for later performances.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Elton John's appearance as the Champion/Local Lad in The Movie is one of the most talked-about parts of the film (he even got third billing after Daltrey and Ann-Margret), and he barely even gets five minutes of screen-time. It probably didn't help that it was released in the UK the day after his twenty-ninth birthday.
  • Squick/Nightmare Fuel: Every one of the three Villain Songs. What Kevin, the Acid Queen and Uncle Ernie do to Tommy are one after the other on the album (though "The Acid Queen" and "Fiddle About" are separated by a ten-minute long psychedelic instrumental), making things worse.
    • "Fiddle About" has Tommy's Uncle Ernie molesting him. Arguably, it's turned into a very dark Funny Moment by Keith Moon, the band's drummer, in The Movie.
      • Made so much worse in the London Symphony Orchestra recording. Whose idea was it to cast the Beatle who sang all the cute kid's songs as Uncle Ernie? (Warning: may lead to constantly having to lift the needle off The White Album before it gets to "Good Night".)
      • The chorus of "We're Not Gonna Take It" has the line '"We'll forsake you, gonna rape you, let's forget you better still" , which the angry mob sings to Tommy. It's pretty disturbing to say the least
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: The ending to the Broadway version.
  • Tear Jerker:
    See me
    Feel me
    Touch me
    • Tommy's parents being killed by the angry mob at the end of The Movie.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Could very well be part of why a lot of people in The Who Fan Dumb loathe the Elton John version of "Pinball Wizard" with an immense passion. (That, and/or perhaps because at one point his version got almost as popular as the original.) Even though it was Pete Townshend who made most of the real changes.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: For The Movie, you have Roger Daltrey, Ann-Margret, Elton John, Tina Turner, Eric Clapton, Keith Moon, John Entwistle, Pete Townshend...and Jack Nicholson. He does a pretty good job, for not being a singer.
  • The Woobie: Tommy might be the most epic example of this trope in music.