Song of the Week - 10/06/08: "Magic Bus" - The Who, Live at Leeds, 1970
Without a doubt, Live at Leeds is the greatest live album I've ever listened to. I think the best performance of the concert comes at the end, with "Magic Bus." In its original studio form, "Magic Bus" is a measly 3:17 in length; a cool song, but too short. That version wouldn't do for a Song of the Week. But the live performance was more than doubled to 7:54, and any constrictions of studio recording went out the window. Driven by a classic "Bo Diddley beat" (chuggity, chuggity, chuggity, chug-chug is the best way I can describe it), it rumbles along with an entertaining back-and-forth between Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey about the price of the Magic Bus. The rendition features a couple explosions of sound as harmonica, guitar, and drums erupt at once. The only musician unhappy with the song was probably John Entwistle, whose bass was required to stay on a single note for the entirety of the song.
This song just rocks. I love the beat most of all. It gives you the image of an actual bus puttering down a lonely highway on a hot day, thick black exhaust rising to the sky. It's a fun song, and one that deserves more recognition.