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November 18, 2022

Keith Moon in Drag: Outtakes for the Original Cover Shoot of 1971’s “Who’s Next”

The Who, 1971’s Who’s Next cover shoot with Keith Moon, by Ethan Russell. Keith in lingerie was obviously abandoned for the cover. Although not used for the album cover, many shots from this session were used for ads for the album and the “Won’t Get Fooled Again” single.

Who’s Next is the fifth studio album by the Who. It developed from the aborted Lifehouse project, a multi-media rock opera conceived by the group’s guitarist Pete Townshend as a follow-up to the band’s 1969 album Tommy. The project was cancelled owing to its complexity and to conflicts with Kit Lambert, the band’s manager, but the group salvaged some of the songs, without the connecting story elements, to release as their next album. Eight of the nine songs on Who’s Next were from Lifehouse, the lone exception being the John Entwistle-penned “My Wife.” Ultimately, the remaining Lifehouse tracks would all be released on other albums throughout the next decade.

The album was an immediate success when it was released on August 14, 1971. It has since been viewed by many critics as the Who’s best album and one of the greatest albums of all time. It was reissued on CD several times, often with additional songs originally intended for Lifehouse included as bonus tracks.

The cover photo was shot by Ethan Russell; it made reference to the monolith in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, as it featured group members standing by a concrete piling protruding from a slag heap in Easington Colliery, County Durham, apparently having urinated against it.


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