Tommy is the first of The Who's two full-scale rock operas (the second being Quadrophenia), and the first musical work explicitly billed as a rock opera. In some older publications it is called Tommy (1914–1984). Released in 1969, the opera was composed by Who guitarist Pete Townshend, with two tracks contributed by Who bassist John Entwistle and one fictitiously attributed to Who drummer Keith Moon, though actually written by Townshend. An earlier song by blues artist Sonny Boy Williamson II was also incorporated into the opera.
In 2003, the album was ranked number 96 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The album was also ranked #90 on VH1's 100 Greatest Albums of Rock & Roll and appears in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. NME named it the 16th on "NME Writers All Time Top 100" in 1974. Q ranked it 9th on their list of "The Music That Changed The World: Part One 1954-1969" in 2004.