Postcard — The Who
“Postcard” is a bit of an oddity in The Who’s catalog. Released as the lead track on the 1974 compilation album “Odds & Sods”, it came as a surprise to fans who thought of the band as forerunners to the contemporary heavy-metal sound of bands like Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. But “Postcard” sounded more like mid-’60s psychedelic rock than anything contemporary at the time of its release.
The album “Odds & Sods” was a collection of outtakes from deep in the band’s catalog. Meant to offer fans an alternative to bootleg recordings of unreleased songs, this may explain why a song like “Postcard” can sound so out of step with the time it was released.
The song, written by bassist John Entwistle, contrasts a sunny, upbeat instrumental sound with sarcastic lyrics about the troubles of traveling and touring. It describes a world in which playing Rock & Roll was still a little dangerous, as when the lyrics describe the band’s arrival as bad news.
As much as the popular bands of 1974 continued to push the envelope in finding new sounds and styles, they were playing in an era during which Rock music became a solid part of the American cultural landscape. By the mid-’70s, Rock & Roll was two decades old. There were young parents who’d listened to Rock & Roll all their lives. This growing social acceptance of the music took some of the edge off Rock’s rebellious image.