The Who by Numbers pretends to be a series of ten unconnected songs, it’s really only a pose; there’s not a story line here, but there are more important unities — lyrical themes, musical and production style, a sense of time and place.
Townshend has now pulled the fastest one of all, disguising his best concept album as a mere ten-track throwaway.
– Dave March (Rolling Stone Magazine, 1975)
The Who by Numbers is the seventh studio album by The Who, released on 3 October 1975 in the United Kingdom through Polydor Records, and on 25 October 1975 in the United States by MCA Records.
“There’s no easy way to be free.”
– Pete Townshend (Slip Kid)
This is Pete Townshend’s journal, his confessions about drinking, women and his other ordeals in life (+ one great song from John Entwistle, Success Story). I like this record a lot, it stands out as a bit different in The Who’s discography, but it has great tunes and an intimate quality. No anthems this time, but great anyway. Some critics saw it as Townshend’s “suicide note” at the time.
“It’s a song I made the night I stopped drinking” (Pete Townshend):
Continue reading October 3: The Who released The Who By Numbers in 1975
It’s Hard is the tenth studio album by English rock band The Who. It is the last Who album to feature bassist John Entwistle and drummer Kenney Jones, as well as the last to be released on Warner Bros. Records in the US. It was their last album until 2006’s Endless Wire. It was released in 1982 on Polydor in the UK, peaking at #11,] and on Warner Bros. in the US where it peaked at #8 on the Billboard Pop Albums charts. It got mixed reviews on its release, but I find it interesting. It’s a bit different, but I love Townshend’s playfulness and willingness to seek new challenges.
The Rolling Stone Magazine’s Parke Puterbaugh gave the album a rave review and said it was their best album since Who’s Next:
“The key to the album is “I’ve Known No War,” a song that could become an anthem to our generation much the way “Won’t Get Fooled Again” did a decade ago.
The entire album is vibrant with the palpable energy of rekindled bonds and rediscovered group values.
It’s a long road the Who have traveled from the bristling, bare-knuckled fury of their early days to the present. They rank among a handful of vanguard rock musicians who show signs of pushing through the age barrier and creating a viable adult vocabulary for rock, one that faces up to the moral responsibilities of middle age and allows them to use their craft to effectively shape consciousness. It must seem especially ironic to Townshend that this is true of the band that sang “hope I die before I get old” back in 1965, but there you go: always the group that delivers the unexpected. “
Eminence Front (Live, official video):
Continue reading September 4: The Who released It’s Hard in 1982
August 23: The late great Keith Moon was born in 1946
We lived the life with Keith Moon. It was all Spinal Tap magnified a thousand times.
— Roger Daltrey
||Keith John Moon
||23 August 1946
Wembley, Middlesex, England
||7 September 1978 (aged 32)
||Rock, art rock, hard rock,power pop
||Musician, songwriter, producer, actor
||Drums, percussion, vocals,bugle, trumpet, tuba
||The Who, Plastic Ono Band, Jeff Beck Group
Keith John Moon (23 August 1946 – 7 September 1978) was an English musician, best known for being the drummer of the English rock group The Who. He gained acclaim for his exuberant and creative drumming style, and notoriety for his eccentric and often self-destructive behaviour, earning him the nickname “Moon the Loon”. Moon joined The Who in 1964. He played on all albums and singles from their debut, 1964’s “Zoot Suit”, to 1978’s Who Are You, which was released three weeks before his death.
Continue reading August 23: The late great Keith Moon was born in 1946
With its acoustic guitars and drumless bits, this triumph of hard rock is no more a pure hard rock album than Tommy. … And… it uses the synthesizer to vary the power trio format, not to art things up.
On Who’s Next, the band crossed that line with power and grace. The album spawned the concert classics “Baba O’Riley” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again”; the great Daltrey vocal vehicles “Bargain” and “Song Is Over”; Entwistle’s scorching, anxiety-ridden “My Wife”; and Townshend’s most delicate song on record, “Behind Blue Eyes.” On Who’s Next, Townshend unleashed the power of the synthesizer as a rock & roll instrument, to be used like guitar or bass rather than as a special-effects novelty.
~The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (rollingstone.com)
#9 – Won’t Get Fooled Again:
Continue reading August 14: The Who released “Who’s Next” in 1971
Ever since I was a young boy I’ve played the silver ball.
From Soho down to Brighton, I must have played them all.
But I ain’t seen nothing like him in any amusement hall.
That deaf, dumb and blind kid, Sure plays a mean pinball!
It is 46 years ago that the rock opera, Tommy was released, one of the first attempts at treating rock as an art form. The artists were The Who.
It’s a double album telling a loose story about a “deaf, dumb and blind kid”, Tommy was the first musical work to be billed overtly as a rock opera. Released in 1969, the album was mostly composed by Pete Townshend. In 1998, it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for historical, artistic and significant value.
Continue reading May 23: “Tommy” by The Who was released in 1969