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):
The Who – However much I booze (The Summit, Houston Texas 20 November 1975)
A few The Who’s most beautiful songs are on this album, maybe not instantly recognizable, but intimate, touching lyrics combined with The Who’s honesty makes for a very potent combination.
Highlights for me are: However much I booze, They are all in love, How many friends and Blue, red and grey
Fun fact: John Entwistle made the drawing on the cover.
The Who – Dreaming from the waist down (The Summit, Houston, Texas, 20th November 1975):
The Who by numbers (Spotify):