In a nutshell, the story of Tommy is about how the infant Tommy Walker is rendered deaf, dumb, and blind through witnessing, in a mirror, the murder of his mother´s lover by his father. Having impregnated his wife before he went off to fight in World War 1, and now believed dead. Tommy´s father´s return is as unexpected as it is evidently traumatic. Bullied and abused, he thereafter exists in an impenetrable shell while his partents seek cure for his deisabillities, among them expose to a gypsy who predescribes psychedelic drugs. He comes to life only when confronted by pinball machines, on which he displays remakable profiency due to his inflated sense of touch. Miraculously cured when a mirror into which he is gazing is abrubtly smashed. Tommy ascends to a position of celebrity as a Messiah-like figure who preaches spiritual enlightenment to his many followers.
- Chris Charlesworth
Tommy is treated as an outcast in “Christmas” by his immediate family, and in the next song, “Cousin Kevin,” by his peers. His first self-consciousness comes when his father yells at him “Tommy can you hear me?” And his name sinks in. The name Tommy moves the boy more powerfully than any experience he can remember and in his joy he sings “See Me, Feel Me.”
There are many interpretations for these events. The dialogue in Tommy is sugestive rather than discursive. The characters react to each other only in single-line statements or cameos. Tommy´s relationship cannot be portrayed in words, thus giving the music added importance.