Posts Tagged ‘John Entwistle’

“When I say ‘I love you,’ you say ‘You better!’” There’s a lot to love on the RSD expansion of The Who’s “Face Dances”.  This 2-LP presentation expands the original 1981 album which was the band’s first with drummer Kenney Jones following the 1978 death of Keith Moon.  The first LP in the RSD reissue is the original album with its nine tracks including “You Better You Bet” and “Don’t Let Go the Coat.”  The second LP, cheekily entitled Face Dances Part 3 as Pete Townshend recorded Part 2 for his solo album “All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes”, has another nine tracks beginning with a clutch of Session Rough Mixes.  These encompass the previously-issued outtakes “I Like Nightmares,” “It’s in You,” and “Somebody Saved Me” as well as the previously-unreleased “Dance It Away” and a take of “Don’t Let Go the Coat” with Townshend rather than Roger Daltrey on lead vocals.  Side Four has a quartet of live performances of Face Dances songs as recorded for Rockpalast in 1981. 

The album was remastered and cut at half speed by Miles Showell at Abbey Road.  LP 1 will be pressed on blue vinyl and LP 2 on yellow.  Four 12 x 12 art prints are also included within the jacket famously designed by Peter Blake.

For Record Store Day 2020, The Who expanded their 1974 rarities collection Odds and Sods for a 2-LP, 25-song deluxe presentation.  This year, the band celebrates 40 years of 1981’s Face Dances with another double-disc, expanded presentation.  It’s due on Drop 1, June 12th, from Geffen Records in a limited edition of 6,500 copies.

Face Dances was the first of two Who studio albums recorded with drummer Kenney Jones following the 1978 death of Keith Moon.  While many missed Moon’s explosive and unpredictable touch, interest remained high and the album (produced by Bill Szymczyk ) peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and No. 2 on the U.K. Albums Chart. 

The shimmering lead single “You Better You Bet” showed that Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, and John Entwistle hadn’t missed a beat in a new decade. 

A tough but poppy tune with an irresistible call-and-response hook (“When I say ‘I love you,’ you say ‘You better!’”) .  Second single “Don’t Let Go the Coat,” a catchy ode to Meher Baba, was moderately successful.  Both songs were bolstered by the emergence of MTV; “You Better You Bet” was one of the first videos aired on the channel and the first to be repeated.

The first LP in the RSD reissue is the original album with its nine tracks. The second album, cheekily entitled Face Dances Part 3has another nine tracks beginning with a clutch of Session Rough Mixes.  These encompass the previously-issued outtakes “I Like Nightmares,” “It’s In You,” and “Somebody Saved Me” as well as the previously-unreleased “Dance It Away” and a take of “Don’t Let Go the Coat” with Townshend on lead vocals. 

Side Four has a quartet of live performances of Face Dances songs as recorded for Rockpalast in 1981.

The album was remastered and cut at half speed by Miles Showell at Abbey Road.  LP 1 will be pressed on blue vinyl and LP 2 on yellow.  Four 12 x 12 art prints are also included within the jacket famously designed by Peter Blake.  The expanded Face Dances will be released for RSD Drop 1 on June 12th. 

“Face Dances” celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2021 with this 2-LP expanded coloured vinyl version, both discs have been mastered by Jon Astley and cut at Half Speed by Miles Showell at the world-famous Abbey Road Studios.

Disc One contains the newly re-mastered version of the album while Disc Two has a side of studio out-takes and four tracks from the bands Rockpalast show in 1981 which appear for the first time on vinyl. The vinyl is housed in a slim line 12” box with 4 bonus art prints of the band members.

The Who, “Face Dances” (Polydor WHOD 5037 (U.K.)/Warner Bros. HS 3516 (U.S.), 1981 – reissued Polydor/UMC, 2021) Record Store Day 2021

When Keith Moon died on September 7th, 1978, The Who were left without the driving force of their rhythm section, a larger-than-life drummer whose thunderous approach on the kit defined the band’s sound and changed the course of rock drumming. Even with this blow, guitarist and principal songwriter Pete Townshend announced the next day that the band “is more determined than ever to carry on.” They’d already signed deals for several projects and would soon be under contract to deliver albums to the label, the first of which would be “Face Dances”, featuring new recruits Kenney Jones on drums and John “Rabbit” Bundrick on keyboards.

But The Who’s first project following Moon’s untimely death wasn’t a forward-looking studio effort, but a pair of retrospectives: the Jeff Stein documentary The Kids Are Alright, which served somewhat as a tribute to Moon-era Who; and the film adaptation of Quadrophenia, itself based on an album that looked back on the band’s first decade, produced by bassist John Entwistle. The band was set to promote the projects with large-scale tours and had brought on ex-Faces drummer Jones to replace Moon.

“I thought that the best thing I could do was to play the way I play. That’s being honest,” Jones reflected decades later. “I tried to take the best of Keith Moon—all his great fills, which you have to do in certain songs—and use them selectively. But the style would finally be me. And that’s all I could do. I couldn’t do no more.”

His simpler, more pointed style on the kit nevertheless benefits Townshend, who is restrained in his playing both rhythm and solo guitar. Late bassist John Entwistle (who passed most unexpectedly on the eve of a 2002 tour) is likewise unencumbered by the need for keeping the beat, so his inimitably mobile instrumental work reminds of his crucial, stable presence in the group chemistry. As do his two original songs as both serve the same function his compositions always have on a Who album: to provide pacing.The Quiet One” manifests a light-hearted tone compared to the introspective material of the group’s titular leader, while the savage playing of “You” contrasts its more nuanced surroundings.  

For his part there, and throughout the record, Roger Daltrey completely inhabits the material. His voice and phrasing are particularly forceful on those numbers with which he readily identifies, such as “Daily Records,” and while there’s little if any profundity to be found in  “Another Tricky Day”(or much of trademarked Townshend the angst in a studio outtake titled “I Like Nightmares”), the frontman’s sly delivery suits the tone of that closing tune, indicative of the nuance he can bring to lyrics.

Jones’ first studio recordings with the band were “Get Out and Stay Out,”Quadrophenia outtake resurrected for the soundtrack, and “Joker James,” originally written in 1968. Though it was no easy task, Jones gelled with the band and with nearly constant tour dates stretching from spring of 1979 to summer of 1980—not to mention appearances with the other members of The Who on vocalist Roger Daltrey’s McVicar soundtrack project—he became integrated into a new well-oiled machine: The Who, mk. 2.

In early 1980, Daltrey, Townshend, Entwistle, Jones and Bundrick set up at Odyssey Studios in London to begin recording what would become Face Dances. As was typical, Townshend had already recorded multi-layered home demos to present to the group , so it was down to the band to deliver its best performances, and for famed producer Bill Szymczyk to record and mix.

Sessions with Szymczyk—whose credits included Michael Stanley, Eagles and the J. Geils Band—were bumpy, as The Who felt the spark fading with each take. As Entwistle recalled, “He recorded everything in groups of three. I don’t like playing a backing track too many times. We’d get a really good one and he’d say, ‘Give me three more exactly the same.’ I lost a lot of confidence worrying about being brainwashed by the song, so I didn’t play as loosely as I might have.” And any momentum was stalled by more tour dates and Szymczyk’s commitment to mixing Eagles Live. Tracking for Face Dances continued at the end of the year and the band was pleased with what it played.

But final mixing was carried out by Szymczyk in Florida without the full band’s input, which led to unsatisfactory, glossy results. While the band blamed each other for what they felt was sub-par material, the album, released on March 16th, 1981, was nevertheless successful. 

While the magic of the Moon era might be missing in many spots, “Face Dances” still satisfies, with Daltrey delivering some fine interpretations of Townshend’s increasingly personal lyrics. And its sound, which lies somewhere between classic Who power-pop (“Daily Records”), punk (“Cache Cache”) and Police-like rhythms (“Don’t Let Go the Coat,” “Did You Steal My Money”), managed to reach audiences worldwide.

The flirtatious pop gem “You Better You Bet” was an early MTV staple and became the band’s last Top 20 single, featuring Entwistle’s self-referential “The Quiet One” on its B-side. In the U.K., the band appeared on the BBC’s Top of the Pops to promote the single. There, it reached #9. The breezy “Don’t Let Go The Coat,” inspired by Townshend’s spiritual mentor Meher Baba, Meanwhile, “Another Tricky Day” became a live staple for decades.

In all, Face Dances sees every member of The Who pouring all their energy into their music. In the fallout of Moon’s death, they were overwhelmed—not just by the tragedy of losing a friend and core member of the group, but also by a gruelling tour schedule, continuous side projects and a variety of personal issues. Somehow, they were able to direct all this energy into a fine studio effort that explores new and varied styles. It may not have hit the heights of their past glories, with the occasional belaboured performance and a certain studio sheen unusual for The Who, but it was a success and is far from the worst material The Who would scrape together.

As Townshend and Daltrey continue to look back on their albums with in-depth reissue campaigns (the most recent being a super-deluxe edition of 1967’s The Who Sell Out), one wonders what a deep-dive into 1979-1981 might look like and how it might reshape the narrative of Face Dances as a tired album.

On stage, the band was energized, and unreleased gems and jams show they still meshed. Might revealing monitor mixes exist showing an un-futzed-with Face Dances? Or compelling unreleased songs from Townshend’s library? Perhaps The Who will dust off such rarities in time and give the era its due with all the bells and whistles. Maybe it will give fans a new look at this relentlessly creative period. Until then, Face Dances serves as a document of The Who’s somewhat shaky reinvention just before things really crumbled.

It was reissued in expanded form in 1997 around the same time as other items in the iconic British band’s discography, but apart from a handful of the previously-unreleased studio and live tracks, it was hardly presented with the same discerning hindsight the group, in particular its titular leader Pete Townshend, has afforded other titles,  All the more reason, then, to crank up the volume when going back for a retrospective listen to this somewhat forgotten LP and thus at least simulate the accurately visceral punch: then, in a very practical way, it will foreshadow the healthy maturity and adherence to the style that reappeared thirty-eight years later on 2019’s WHO, the 2019 album that, perhaps not coincidentally, sported cover images by the very same graphic artist who commissioned the sixteen paintings on its predecessor. 

The Who have announced expanded editions of their 1967 album, The Who Sell Out. The new releases include 2-CD and 2-LP sets, as well as a 7-disc Super Deluxe Edition composed of 5 CDs and two 7-inch singles. The latter features the album in both mono and stereo plus previously unheard Pete Townshend demos, studio sessions, outtakes, unheard jingles and more. All arrive April 23rd, 2021, via Geffen/UMe.

The box set also features nine posters*, replica ephemera, and an 80-page hardbound book with rare photos and new liner notes by Townshend. There are 112 tracks in all, 46 of which are previously unreleased.  It also includes nine posters & inserts, including replicas of the 20″ x 30″ original Adrian George album poster, a gig poster from The City Hall, Newcastle, a Saville Theatre show 8-page program, a business card for the Bag o’ Nails club, Kingly Street, a Who fan club photo of group, a flyer for Bath Pavilion concerts including The Who, a crack-back bumper sticker for Wonderful Radio London, Keith Moon’s Speakeasy Club membership card and a Who Fan Club newsletter.

From the February 26th announcement: The Who Sell Out was originally planned by Townshend and the band’s managers Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp, as a loose concept album including jingles and commercials linking the songs stylized as a pirate radio broadcast. This concept was born out of necessity as their label and management wanted a new album and Townshend felt that he didn’t have enough songs.

The ground breaking original plan for Sell Out was to sell advertising space on the album but instead the band opted for writing their own jingles paying tribute to pirate radio stations and to parody an increasingly consumerist society. Pete Townshend demos of “Pictures of Lily,” “Kids! Do You Want Kids” and “Odorono” .

The homage to pop-art is evident in both the advertising jingles and the iconic sleeve design created by David King who was the art director at the Sunday Times, and Roger Law, who invented the Spitting Image TV show. The sleeve features four advertising images, taken by the renowned photographer David Montgomery, of each band member: Odorono deodorant (Pete Townshend), Medac spot cream (Keith Moon), Charles Atlas (John Entwistle) and Roger Daltrey and Heinz baked beans. The story goes that Daltrey caught pneumonia from sitting in the cold beans for too long.

“We were hoping to get free Jaguars,” said Townshend last year. “We got 50 free tins of baked beans!”

The Who‘s third album followed 1965’s My Generation (released in 1966 as The Who Sings My Generation in the U.S.) and 1966’s A Quick One (released in 1967 as Happy Jack in the U.S.). Those first two achieved top 5 sales in the U.K. Despite the band’s success on the singles chart, with five top 5 U.K. hits under their belts, The Who Sell Out peaked at just #13 there. It reached just #48 in America. The album’s “I Can See For Miles” made it to #10 in England and #9 in the U.S. It remains their biggest American pop hit.

The homage to pop-art is evident in both the advertising jingles and the iconic sleeve design created by David King who was the art director at the Sunday Times, and Roger Law, who invented the Spitting Image TV show. The sleeve features four advertising images, taken by the renowned photographer David Montgomery, of each band member: Odorono deodorant (Pete Townshend), Medac spot cream (Keith Moon), Charles Atlas (John Entwistle) and Roger Daltrey and Heinz baked beans. The story goes that Daltrey caught pneumonia from sitting in the cold beans for too long.

Those lackluster sales would change in May 1969 with the release of the rock opera, Tommy, a 2-LP set which reached #2 in the U.K. and #4 in the U.S.

A deluxe edition of The Who Sell Out was previously released in 2009

Buy Online The Who  - Live 1970 Limited Edition Red

The Who, live from the Tanglewood Music Centre, Lenox, MA on 7th July 1970. The Who toured North America in the summer of 1970 playing 22 dates in medium and major markets to capacity crowds. They had just released their now iconic live album, “Live At Leeds” on May 23, culled from a performance just three months prior. It was a simple affair compared to the complex “Rock Opera” Tommy and would stand as a bench mark for what a live album was, and standard bands still strive for today. The final date on the tour was at the Music Shed at the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, MA. The venue had been sporadically used by concert promoter Bill Graham, who was known for his eclectic bills that would blend different musical genres. The bill for this concert was rather straight forward, The Who was the headline act over Jethro Tull and It’s A Beautiful Day. Graham would also video record many of the acts that appeared at his venues, the recording of this performance by The Who is one of the most vivid documents of the band from this era, surprisingly it has never seen a full official release.

The audio portion of this concert is the subject of this new release. The sound is a perfect soundboard recordings, if one did not known you would think it’s an official release. Perfect balance, perfect frequency range, virtually no hiss or signs of over mastering, just incredible sound that’s even better at loud volumes, the one word that sums it up is stunning. There has been one previous release of this material, “Tangled Up In Who” (Hiawatt CE9802/3), being pressed way back in 1998, long out of print. This new release is promoted as being from a better source so an audio upgrade is certain.

A great Bill Graham intro starts the proceedings, “For us it’s always a privilege…on bass Mr. John Entwistle…on vocals Mr. Roger Daltrey…on drums Mr. Keith Moon…on vocals and lead guitar Mr. Peter Townsend, The Who”… Bill, the pleasure is all ours. The set list is standard to this era, Entwistle’s fabulous Heaven And Hell is the opener, with I Can’t Explain, the new (and as of then unreleased) song Water and “Young Man Blues£ are all regulars. “I Don’t Even Know Myself” made its debut June 16th in Berkeley and by this point it’s also a regular, taking the spot previously held by The Seeker.

“Tommy”still makes up a major portion of the set list, the band dropped Sally Simpson from the piece and is the better for it. By this point they had been playing “Thomas” since May 1969 and were very fluent in their delivery. During the intro Pete references playing New York’s Metropolitan Opera House and those concerts being the last performances of “Tommy”, when in fact they had been playing it this entire tour. This concert at Tanglewood would be the last performance in the United States for 19 years. Being the last concert in the states the band turn a very powerful version, quite focused and the “See Me, Feel Me” finale brings down the Shed. Pete gives a nice farewell speech at the “Opera’s” conclusion, telling the audience it’s been “THE most enjoyable tour we’ve done of this country” and then they hammer out a devastating version of “My Generation”, frickin blistering ending to the concert, if this doesn’t get you moving, my friend, nothing will.

The packaging is basic colour inserts with live shots of The Who in action, all very dynamic looking. This is classic Who, Golden haired Daltry, Townsend in his jump suit, Entwistle in his tailored outfits, and a young fit and trim Moonie all over the place. This is an essential Who recording, a very easy listen and a typical 1970 performance, the band were in their stride as a live act cementing this fact for the next decade, and beyond.

Following relentless touring, a triumphant appearance at Woodstock and the release of Live At Leeds, by mid-1970 the Who were widely regarded as the greatest live rock’n’roll band in the world. Originally performed for broadcast on WBCN-FM, the explosive set presented here from Tanglewood Music Centre, Lenox, MA on 7th July 1970, finds them tearing through “Tommy” and other live favourites, and is accompanied by background notes and images.

Release Date: 26/03/2021

 

One of the very first ‘rarities’ collections, released to try and defeat the bootleggers, the original 11-track album was released on the Track Records label in September 1974.Compiled in band down-time by bass guitarist John Entwistle, it includes the single ‘Long Live Rock’, the unedited unreleased version of ‘The Seeker’, the studio version of ‘Young Man Blues’, alternative versions of ‘Dogs Part Two’ and ‘Water’, amongst many other gems. This reissue includes the original LP sequence on disc one and adds 14 bonus tracks – B-sides, rarities & extras on disc two, ‘Odds & Sods Too’ – to create a definitive, 25-track double LP.

The stunning artwork and design restore the original ‘die-cut’ front sleeve and includes all Pete Townshend’s original track annotation. Graham Hughes shot the cover for Odds and Sods – “I’d stayed up the night before with Letterset, designing the letters on the American football helmets with each of the band’s names printed on. When I finally managed to get them together in one place, which happened to be the bathroom, Pete and Roger’s helmets didn’t quite fit so that’s why their wearing each other’s. That Quadrophenia tour wasn’t very pleasant and the band were arguing a lot. When I showed Pete the blow-up of the cover, he didn’t like it and told me so. I was so frustrated by this time, I started ripping it up . . . That’s when he decided he liked it! I stuck it back together with adhesive tape and Roger said, ‘call it a bunch of odds and sods.”

Tracklisting:

LP1 / SIDE A –
1. Postcard, 2. Now I’m A Farmer, 3. Put The Money Down, 4. Little Billy, 5. Too Much Of Anything, 6. Glow Girl

LP1 / SIDE B –
1. Pure And Easy, 2. Faith In Something Bigger, 3. I’m The Face, 4. Naked Eye, 5. Long Live Rock

LP2 / SIDE A –
1. Zoot Suit (remix with fade), 2. Here Tis (only previously released on 30 Years… box set), 3. Leaving Here (from ‘Pye’ acetate), 4. Baby Don’t You Do It (from ‘Pye’ acetate), 5. Young Man Blues (alternate studio version, included on 1998 CD), 6. Dogs Part Two (B-side, the single mix; included on Tommy SDE), 7. Here For More (B-side single mix), 8. The Seeker (long unedited version; unreleased)

LP2 / SIDE B –
1. Heaven And Hell (B-side single mix), 2. Don’t Know Myself (B-side single mix), 3. When I Was A Boy (B-side single mix), 4. Waspman (B-side single mix), 5. We Close Tonight (included on 1998 CD), 6. Water (B-side single mix

recordstore day

The Who’s American Album Chart Debut

The American market wasn’t fully ready for The Who when they made their album debut with ‘My Generation’ at the end of 1965. Second time around, they cracked it, winning their first appearance on the US album chart 48 years ago today, on May 20th, 1967 — but only after a delayed release and a title change.

With the US release coming five months after the UK, The Who’s American label, Decca Records, decided that the band’s second LP ‘A Quick One’ should be renamed there for their song that was climbing the Hot 100 at the time. ‘Happy Jack’ had been a top three UK hit in January, but wasn’t included on the album ‘A Quick One.’ That wouldn’t do for Decca, who removed the album’s one cover a nod back to their soul and R&B roots with a cover of Martha Reeves & the Vandellas ‘Heat Wave’ — and replaced it with ‘Happy Jack,’ which would become The Who’s first US top 30 hit in early June. The song features Roger Daltrey on lead vocals with John Entwistle singing the first verse, making it one of the few songs composed by Pete Townshend to feature Entwistle on lead vocals. Author Mike Segretto describes Daltrey’s vocal as “imitating Burl Ives”. At the tail end of “Happy Jack”, Townshend can be heard shouting “I saw you!”; it is said that he had noticed drummer Keith Moon trying to join in surreptitiously to add his voice to the recording, something the rest of the band would try to prevent (Moon had a habit of making the other members laugh). critic Dave Marsh calls this line “the hippest thing” about the song.

According to some sources, Townshend reported the song is about a man who slept on the beach near where Townshend vacationed as a child. Children on the beach would laugh at the man and once buried him in the sand. However, the man never seemed to mind and only smiled in response. According to Marsh, “the lyric is basically a fairy tale, not surprisingly, given the links to Pete’s childhood”.

Daltrey reportedly thought the song sounded like a “German oompah song”. But Chris Charlesworth praised the “high quirky subject matter” and “fat bass and drums that suspend belief”. Charlesworth particularly praised Moon’s drumming for carrying not just the beat, but also the itself, in what he calls “startlingly original fashion”.

The album also featured one of John Entwistle’s best-loved songs, ‘Boris The Spider’ (a title that he and Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman came up with after a night out drinking); two Keith Moon compositions, ‘I Need You’ (his first-ever song for the band) and the highly percussive ‘Cobwebs and Strange’; and a mod favourite that the band are currently reviving on their ‘Who Hits 50’ anniversary tour, ‘So Sad About Us.’

Happy Jack back

After ‘A Quick One’ reached No. 4 in the UK in January, the ‘Happy Jack’ version opened on Billboard’s Top LPs at No. 184, in between albums by Jimmy Ruffin and Dean Martin. It climbed steadily for the next nine weeks, peaking at No. 67 in June.

 

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When you think about the most important rock bands in history, The Who is undoubtedly in the conversation for many different reasons. One of those reasons is their incredible live performances – which they are still doing to this day.

Take a trip in the Iconic by Collectionzz time machine all the way back to 1970. The Who were looking for a way to follow up their 1969 album TommyThey had recorded several shows for a live album on tours supporting Tommy in the United States, but didn’t like the sound on any of the recordings. The Who decided to book two shows in early 1970 (on Valentines Day weekend) to record the live album. The first show at University of Leeds on February 14th, 1970 was planned to be the warm up show; and the second show at City Hall in Hull on February 15th, 1970 was planned to be the record. The recording equipment was rolling for both shows though, just in case.

According to The Who’s sound engineer, John Entwistle’s bass was not recorded for the first few tracks at Hull, and Pete Townshend didn’t even listen to the whole recording once he realized that. It didn’t matter though, they had made history the night before at the University of Leeds in front of 2,000 ravenous fans. Pete Townshend called it “the greatest audience we’ve ever played to.”

The Who released part of concert at University of Leeds on February 14th, 1970 as their now legendary live album “Live at Leeds.” It was the only live album that was released while the group were still actively recording and performing with their best known line-up of Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle and Keith Moon.

If Tommy announced the Who’s ascent to rock-band immortality, Live at Leeds was the headline’s exclamation point. The live album cemented their distinction as one of the world’s most powerful acts, yet it came together almost by accident.
The 1969 Tommy tour saw the Who performing to massive audiences across the globe, including a historic stop at Woodstock. Keenly aware of its popularity, and having seen the success of live albums from many rock contemporaries, the band decided to record its performances during the trek. By the end of 1969, the Who had recorded 30 shows in the U.S. and an additional eight in the U.K.

While the abundance of material seemed like a blessing at first, it was actually too much of a good thing. Poring through all the hours of music was a daunting task, one the band could not feasibly do considering the amount of time it would necessitate. Frustrated, Pete Townshend took a scorched earth approach; the guitarist instructed his audio engineer to burn all of the concert recordings. The Who would instead book two shows from which a live album would be constructed. Without the previous tapes to fall back on, the band was bravely performing without a net.

The group wanted to capture the ferocity of its live shows, something Tommy’s high-art concept had briefly taken them away from. “We were better known for doing Tommy than we were for all the rest of the stuff,” bassist John Entwistle noted in the book The Complete Chronicle of the Who. “I mean, all the guitar smashing and stuff went completely out of the window. We’d turned into snob rock. We were the kind of band that Jackie Onassis would come and see.”

The band planned one concert for February 14th, 1970, at the University of Leeds, with a second the following day in Hull. As fate would have it, the Hull performance was plagued with technical problems. Thankfully, the Who needed only the first show to make history.

The Leeds concert saw the band play more than 30 songs, including the earlier hit “My Generation” and almost all of the songs from Tommy. More than 2,000 students – many of whom had been lining up since 6AM that day – filled the capacity of the University’s refectory. Their energy was palpable.

“The students there were a great audience for us,” Roger Datrey later recalled to the BBC. “It was packed to the rafters and then some more. I heard there was a thousand fans on the roof!”

Keith Moon echoed similar sentiments. “We fed on the audience as much as they fed on us,” the drummer explained to the University’s student newspaper. “They were just too incredible.”

Though the Who initially planned on releasing a double live album from the set, they honed Live at Leeds to a powerful six-song LP. The track listing would go as follows: “Young Man Blues,” “Substitute,” “Summertime Blues,” “Shakin’ All Over,” “My Generation” and “Magic Bus.”

Originally released on May 23rd, 1970,Live at Leeds was quickly hailed as a triumph and has sealed its legacy as one of the Who’s best albums and one of the greatest live records ever made. The complete Leeds and Hull shows were eventually released on various expanded editions of the album.

In celebration of Live at Leeds’ 50th anniversary, Collectionzz is releasing officially licensed concert posters for the University of Leeds concert. The images feature the faces of Daltrey, Townshend, Moon and Entwistle cloaked by the Union Jack. The design also includes the Who’s trippy logo, psychedelic trim and original concert details. Two versions of the poster are available: a glow-in-the-dark edition and a black metallic edition. They go on sale May 15th exclusively through the Collectionzz website.

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Released just over 45 years ago, The Who “By Numbers” has some of Pete Townshend’s most personal and saddest lyrics and is hence a passionate and emotional album with the help of Roger John and Keith. Their last classic album? maybe.

After releasing two of the greatest rock concept albums of all time in Tommy and Quadrophenia, the Who had nowhere to go but down, at least in terms of overweening ambition, anyway. The result released in 1975 The Who by Numbers, proved a critical and commercial triumph in the face of personal adversity.

At the time, the band were battling demons on two fronts. On one hand, they felt somewhat boxed in after setting the template for rock concept records. As singer Roger Daltrey complained, fans and critics expected the band’s albums to come with a certain amount of heft, to the point that they sometimes weren’t willing to give non-concept efforts their proper due. Grumbling that “nobody wanted to listen to what [else] we were doing” after Tommy came out, Daltrey argued  “Who’s Next” holds up much better, but nobody wanted to take it seriously because it was just nine songs.

Further complicating things was the band members’ increasingly critical view of where the Who stood — or should stand in a turbulent musical landscape that had grown to encompass styles that seemed to exist in contrast to the growing complexity and maturity of the band’s own work. For guitarist Pete Townshend, who wrote the bulk of the material, the question proved particularly vexing.

“Before the emergence of punk, the Who were the only band who actually sat round a table to decide ‘Should we go on or not?’ Would we be doing music a favour if we just f—ing stopped? We actually considered that,” Townshend told NME Magazine.

“Around the time of The Who by Numbers we used to have really quite heavy conversations about where music was going to go – particularly in this country – and whether we should be involved in it, and the problem with [drummer Keith Moon] living in America and living that Hollywood lifestyle and whether we should try and force him to come back to England … all those kind of things. Whether our music should change, whether we should let the Who tradition just bash on until it got really boring, whether we should try and force change by starting labels and working with other bands.”

As Who fans are well aware, the band opted to forge ahead with their seventh studio album, The Who by Numbers, which arrived in stores on October. 3rd, 1975 . It was nearly two years after Quadrophenia, and a relative eternity during the speedier release cycle that was the norm at the time. Realizing their rather chaotic state would make recording more of a slog than normal, they enlisted producer Glyn Johns to help wrangle the sessions into shape, and as the weeks dragged into months, Johns earned every penny of his paycheck even though the album’s aesthetics were less intricate and synthesizer-driven than the recordings that had preceded it.

Glyn worked harder on The Who by Numbers than I’ve ever seen him. He had to, not because the tracks were weak or the music poor but because the group was so useless,” Townshend’s quoted as saying in Alan G. Parker and Steve Grantley’s The Who by Numbers. “We played cricket between takes or went to the pub. I personally had never done that before. I felt detached from my own songs, from the whole record. Recording the album seemed to take me nowhere. Roger was angry with the world at the time. Keith seemed as impetuous as ever, on the wagon one minute, off the next. [Bassist John Entwistle] was obviously gathering strength throughout the whole period; the great thing about it was he seemed to know we were going to need him more than ever before in the coming year.”

The end result, unsurprisingly, was a collection of moody, introspective, and fairly dark songs; although tracks like the opening cut “Slip Kid” and double entendre-laden “Squeeze Box” went down easy enough, The Who by Numbers is more strongly defined by self-critical Townshend compositions like “However Much I Booze” and “Dreaming from the Waist”; even the lighter-sounding “Blue, Red and Grey,” which found Townshend strumming a ukulele on top of a brass section overdubbed by Entwistle, was later described by Townshend in a Numbers reissue’s liner notes as “me wanting to kill myself.”

Between the subject matter and the rumors of band strife that pervaded the music press at the time, the popular opinion was that The Who by Numbers offered a sort of grim personal manifesto from Townshend as he approached middle age  and although he’s more or less confirmed that point of view a number of times over the years, he’s also cautioned that listeners shouldn’t try to read too much into the songs, insisting what he was really trying to do was put himself in his audience’s shoes.

“There are a couple of really politically incorrect lines on Quadrophenia, but I thought I could get away with it because I was writing for a character. But on By Numbers, everybody took everything really literally. I don’t know. It’s interesting,” Townshend . “I certainly didn’t feel a lack of friendship and I certainly didn’t feel suicidal. I think I may have been a bit angry occasionally. I think I need to go to the great journalistic psychiatrist and have it explained to me, why I was wrong and they were right.”

Perhaps more importantly, according to Townshend, Daltrey was actually more responsible for the overall theme of the album. “The songs are about being older, feeling lost, losing your way,” Townshend has said. “Changing fashions, being sentimental, looking at the sunrise. What’s that got to do with being a young man? You don’t start looking at the sunrise until you’re dying. But,” he added, “Roger picked those songs from my demos.”

The end result, pointed out Townshend, was an album of songs in which one artist interpreted the words of another  which were themselves interpretations of Townshend’s efforts to put music to what his audience was going through. “Roger’s an actor,” he argued. “I don’t think he realized that what he was doing all the time with my work was interpreting, acting and I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t be an actor and he could.”

Daltrey, for his part, still believes the album is more autobiographical than Townshend would perhaps like to admit. “Who by Numbers is very dark because Pete was going through some terrible agonies, but I didn’t realize this at the time,” he told Uncut. “We thought, if he wants space, we’ll give him some space – when what we should have done was been there saying, ‘You all right, Pete?’ But that’s just the way he was and still is. There’s a side to him that is like a stone wall and what he really wants you to do is knock down the f—ing wall and come through it, which takes a lot of effort all the time. I understand it now but I didn’t understand it then. So it led to this brooding, deep, introspective album. He was boozing a lot and I think he was having problems with his marriage, trying to balance that family life with rock’n’roll, ’cause they don’t balance. But I love that album.”

However you take the songs’ meaning, “The Who by Numbers” proved yet another hit for the Who, with “Squeeze Box” entering heavy rotation on both sides of the Atlantic while the album hit the Top 10 in the U.S. and U.K. on its way to RIAA certification for half a million in sales. And while Townshend may have sweated the songwriting during this period, other members of the band seemed perfectly content — including Entwistle, whose hand-drawn album art reflected the record’s scaled-down sensibilities.

“Squeeze Box” is a slang term for an accordion, but it is also slang for the vagina. The band just wanted to see if they could get away with singing about the joys of explicit sex.

In the liner notes to Pete Townshend’s compilation album Scoop, he wrote that he recorded the song for fun one day when he had bought himself an accordion. The accordion gave the song a polka-esque rhythm and the lyrics were “intended as a poorly aimed dirty joke.” Townshend had no thought of it ever becoming a hit.

The song is about an accordion (sort of), but there is hardly any of the instrument in the song. You can hear some in the section about 90 seconds in that goes, “squeeze me, come on and squeeze me,” but the subsequent instrumental section is mostly banjo. Pete Townshend played both instruments.

“The best we’ve done since the last one,” chuckled Entwistle when asked for his thoughts on The Who by Numbers in a 1976 interview with Sounds. “I like the cover. That’s pretty good.”

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The Who were scheduled as the second to last act (before Jefferson Airplane) to play on Saturday, August 16th. When they actually started playing it was already Sunday morning around 5:00. They played their exceptional Tommy album, a Rock Opera dealing with the struggle of a deaf, dumb and blind boy who later finds a cure and gains stardom with his messianic movement. The finale of this performance took place during sunrise which occured at 6:05 am, The story of a deaf, dumb, and blind boy who is cured of his ailments and gains stardom became a legendary performance. Although not an apex performance in the Who’s career, Woodstock helped solidify the band’s place in rock history.

In 1969 The Who performed most of the songs from “Tommy” with some modifications due to time constraints. During the set Abbie Hoffman took the stage and protested the imprisonment of MC5 member and White Panther leader John Sinclair on charges of marijuana possession. Hoffman was met with a few unfriendly words from Townshend as well as a guitar to the head. A clip of this can be heard the Who compilation “Thirty Years of Maximum R&B”. While Townshend has some rather strong words expressing dissatisfaction with the performance, it is still seen as a historical in the rock and roll world.  Townshend, angry that someone took the stage, yelled: “Fuck off! Fuck off my fucking stage!”, hit him with his guitar and sending him off stage again. Townshend then added: “I can dig it!”; And after the song “Do You Think It’s Alright?”: “The next fuckin’ person that walks across this stage is gonna get fuckin’ killed! [crowd cheers] You can laugh, I mean it!”  A 16 second sound bite of the incident can be heard on The Who compilation set entitled Thirty Years of Maximum R&B (Disc 2, Track 20, “Abbie Hoffman Incident”).

The lone highway that led to Woodstock was jammed with traffic, so the Who left the hotel early to play its Saturday night show. When the group arrived, word was out that bands weren’t getting paid; the promoters had decreed it a free show and stopped trying to collect tickets because so many people had turned up. The Who refused to go on until it received a cashier’s check, but all the banks were closed.

The Who have long expressed disdain for their Woodstock performance, and in a new interview, singer Roger Daltrey noted that a series of delays and equipment problems prevented them from playing until 5AM.

“You’ve got to remember, by the time we went onstage, we’d been standing in the mud for hours,” he told The New York Times. “Or laying in it, or doing whatever in it. It wasn’t actually that muddy backstage, but it wasn’t comfort, let’s put it that way. … That’s all you could do. Waiting, waiting, waiting. We were young, and life is a lot easier when you’re young. I wouldn’t do that show now. Sod that. I’d walk away from it. I’m joking. No, I’d walk away and come back 10 hours later.”

Daltrey said he has never listened to the Who’s set to reassess it with years of detachment. But, after noting it was the band’s worst gig, he still has vivid memories of what went wrong.

“It was a particularly hard one for me, because of the state of the equipment,” he said. “It was all breaking down. I’m standing in the middle of the stage with enormous Marshall 100-watt amps blasting my ears behind me. [Keith] Moon on the drums in the middle. I could barely hear what I was singing.”

While promoters scrambled to find money and the wait stretched out, the band found trouble, as it often did. The drummer Keith Moon and the bassist John Entwistle dropped acid and partied in the back of a station wagon with a pair of young female fans. The guitarist and chief songwriter Pete Townshend drank a cup of coffee backstage, and realized it was spiked with acid. When the singer Roger Daltrey took a break from his bottle of Southern Comfort to drink some tea, he, too, began to hallucinate.

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Finally, after a wait that totaled 14 hours, the Who went on early Sunday morning and played its new album, the epochal rock opera “Tommy.” Moments after the set finished, the activist-prankster Abbie Hoffman, also high on LSD, crashed the stage, and said, into Townshend’s microphone, that the focus shouldn’t be on music, but on the MC5 manager John Sinclair, who was in prison on a minor marijuana charge. Townshend, according to his memoir, “Who I Am,” “knocked Abbie aside” with his guitar. The crowd roared at Townshend’s act of non-nonviolence. After years of struggling commercially in the United States, the Who had found a way to establish who it was.

The Who have long expressed disdain for their Woodstock performance, and in a new interview, singer Roger Daltrey noted that a series of delays and equipment problems prevented them from playing until 5AM.

Of all the shows on The Who’s legendary “Quardrophenia” tour in 1973, none stands out more than the penultimate show in Philadelphia on December 4th.  Parts of this show were broadcast on the King Biscuit Flower Hour and titles surfaced almost immediately taped directly from the radio broadcast.

The first is the famous “Tales From The Who” (TMOQ) which featured one of William Stout’s most well known covers featuring the band in cages a la a box of animal crackers cookies. Over half of this two-record set is devoted to selections from the then-new Quadrophenia, and there’s an amusing story about this recording. Normally when the King Biscuit producers put out live concerts for commercial broadcasts, they carefully bleeped out any obscenities, but in this case they overlooked some. The New Orleans radio station that aired this program was unaware, like the show’s producers, that “Dr. Jimmy” contained a four-letter word, and it was duly broadcast. However, whichever station provided the broadcast that served as the source material for this bootleg had a station manager or program director familiar with the song, so they duly dubbed the KBFH disc to reel-to-reel tape and spliced out the offending word prior to airing the program (producing the bizarre line “Her fella’s gonna kill me/Aww, f-ill he”), but even they missed another one slipped into “My Generation.” The bootleg label’s claim that this is a quadraphonic release was a bit laughable, because it couldn’t been taped off the radio in quadraphonic, and trying to convert it after the fact would have had all the success of the pseudo-stereo records of the 1960s. According to William Stout, who designed the colorful cover that was a knockoff of classic horror comic book covers, only 120 copies of this two-record set were released, as the operators of TMOQ knew that the FBI was on their trail and, in a fit of panic, they destroyed all other copies of the release (as quoted in Bootleg: The Secret History of the Other Recording Industry by Clinton Heylin).

Like most King Biscuit broadcasts, the sound isn’t quite as good as typical commercial live rock records, but this collectable is far better-sounding than any other bootlegs featuring the Who, and its extreme rarity makes it a very valuable recording to own, superseded only by the original King Biscuit Flower Hour LPs distributed to the network radio stations for the broadcast.

This release was copied on “Who Are You” (Ruthless Rhymes), copy of the TMQ release with five songs from a 1971 audience recording.  The Ruthless Rhymes release was copied on the German release “Mods & Rockers”(Ruthless Rhymes) and on another German title called Mods & Rockers (Slipped Disc) in 1974.

The final vinyl release  was Decidedly Belated Response (TAKRL). This new release contains the recently surfaced, more complete version of the Spectrum show for the first time ever. “Substitute,” “The Punk And The Godfather,” “5:15,” “Drowned,” “Naked Eye” are new to on this release with only “Love, Reign O’er Me” being the only song missing from the setlist.

The sound quality on this release is nothing short of phenomenal.  Given the phenomenal performance, this is  simply a fantastic release.  The set begins with a few older numbers to warm up the audience.  After a moment of audience buzz the band launch into “Substitute” and “I Can’t Explain.”

The Band:

Roger Daltrey: Vocals, Harmonica
John Entwistle: Vocals, Bass
Keith Moon: Vocals, Drums
Pete Townshend: Guitar, Vocals

The Setlist 00:01:00 “I Can’t Explain” 00:03:29 “Summertime Blues” (Eddie Cochran, Jerry Capehar) 00:07:32 “My Wife” (John Entwistle) 00:14:50 “My Generation/My Generation Blues” 00:21:46 Pete Introduces Quadrophenia 00:23:00 “I Am the Sea” 00:24:52 “The Real Me” 00:30:42 “The Punk and the Godfather” 00:36:47 “I’m One” 00:39:355:1500:46:28 “Sea and Sand” 00:53:35 “Drowned” 01:03:43 “Bell Boy” 01:09:05 “Doctor Jimmy” 01:17:43 “Won’t Get Fooled Again” 01:26:36 “Pinball Wizard” 01:29:32 “See Me, Feel Me/Listening to You” 01:43:14 Encore 01:43:33 “Naked Eye”