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Liner Notes › Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy

MEATY BEATY BIG & BOUNCY

Roger Daltrey: Vocals 
John Entwistle: Bass guitar, brass and vocals. 
Keith Moon: Drums 
Pete Townshend: Guitar, Synthesizers, Piano [except where noted] and Vocals 
 

Sleeve design by Mike Shaw and Bill Curbishley. 
Front and back cover photography by Graham Hughes.

The inside cover shows the exterior of the Railway Hotel. This music venue was run by Pete's friend Richard Barnes and was a major Mod hangout. Starting on Tuesday Nights in June 1964, soon after Keith Moon joined the band, The Who became regulars there. Pete accidentally cracked his guitar neck on the low ceiling and in reaction to laughs from the crowd, smashed his guitar for the first time. The date advertised for The Who, May 18th, was in 1965. However, the picture was taken in 1971. The Railway Hotel burned down March 2000.

The album's original title was The Who Looks Back and the front cover was meant to illustrate that. The children are not The Who, but rather four kids rounded up in 1971 and dressed to look like the young Who. One of them is Who manager Bill Curbishley's brother Paul. Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy was first released in the U.S. as Decca DL 79184 and entered the charts there on November 20th, 1971. The first editions included a sheet of liner notes. It reached #11 on the Billboard charts. When The Who broke their contract with record producer Shel Talmy in 1966, they were sued and ultimately had to accept an agreement by which Talmy got a percentage of every Who album for five years. This album was released just after the lapsing of that agreement. The U.K. release was held up because The Who and Bill Curbishley had failed to clear it with manager Kit Lambert. He tried to have the order of tracks changed but failed because too many copies had been pressed. The LP was released as Track 2406 006 and first entered the U.K. charts December 3rd going to #9.
 

Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy was not the first collection of The Who's greatest hits nor was it the last. In fact, The Who have a plethora of hit collections. Britain has seen 1968's Direct Hits, 1976's The Story of The Who, 1984's The Singles, 1985's The Who Collection, 1988's Who's Better Who's Best, the 1994 boxset 30 Years Of Maximum R&B and 1996's My Generation - The Very Best Of The Who. The last three were also released in the U.S. along with 1968's Magic Bus - The Who On Tour, 1981's Hooligans, 1983's The Who's Greatest Hits, 1999's The Who: 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection 2002's The Who: The Ultimate Collection and 2004's The Who All-Time Greatest Hits. I'm not even going to touch on the many collections from other countries, which were also sold as imports in the U.S. and U.K. In any case, Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy is the one collection that has been judged definitive by rock critics and fans around the globe. Unfortunately, it has not yet been chosen for remastering. The 1996 collection My Generation - The Very Best Of The Who is the closest to it in the present catalog. 
 

I CAN'T EXPLAIN (2'04) 
(Pete Townshend) Fabulous Music, Ltd.
Produced by Shel Talmy at Pye Studios, London in early November 1964.

Lead guitar: Pete Townshend

Additional rhythm guitar: Jimmy Page
Piano: Perry Ford
Backing Vocals: The Ivy League (John Carter, Perry Ford, Ken Lewis)

Pete Townshend: "It can't be beat for straightforward Kink copying. There is little to say about how I wrote this. It came out of the top of my head when I was 18 and a half. It seems to be about the frustrations of a young person who is so incoherent and uneducated that he can't state his case to the bourgeois intellectual blah blah blah. Or, of course, it might be about drugs." 
Released in the U.K. as Brunswick 05926 on January 15, 1965 and after an initial dip eventually reaching #8. Released in the U.S. as Decca 31725 on February 13, 1965 where it reached #97 on the Billboard charts, but #57 in Cash Box. The B-side in both countries was "Bald Headed Woman." "I Can't Explain" is probably the song The Who have most often performed live. Track one on My Generation - The Very Best Of The Who. A stereo version is available on My Generation: Deluxe Edition.


 

THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT (2'42) 
(Pete Townshend) Towser Tunes, Inc./Fabulous Music Ltd./ABKCO Music, Inc. (BMI) 
Produced by Shel Talmy at Pye Studios, London on October 13, 1965.


Pete Townshend: "'The Kids Are Alright' wasn't a single in England; it was in the States. Funnily enough, this broke really well in Detroit, an area where both Decca Records and the local community were a little more hip to The Who than they were elsewhere. Detroit, or at least Ann Arbor, was the first place in the States we played after New York." 

This is a version edited by Shel Talmy Oct. 14, 1965 for the U.S. market from the 3'05 original found on the British My Generation LP. Originally released on that album and despite what Pete says above, subsequently released as a single in the U.K. as Brunswick 05965 on August 12, 1966 to compete against The Who's official release of "I'm A Boy" on the Reaction label. At the time a lawsuit was raging between The Who and their ex-producer Shel Talmy. The single reached #41. The B-side was "The Ox." In the U.S. it was released as Decca 31988 with the B-side "A Legal Matter" in July 1966. It reached #106 in the Billboard charts and #85 in Cash Box. It was rarely performed live until The Who revived it in 1999-2000 and improvised new lyrics for it which can be heard on The Who & Special Guests Live at the Royal Albert Hall video (2000). Not included on My Generation - The Very Best Of The Who. The full-length version is available on the boxset 30 Years Of Maximum R&B while the U.S. edited version is on The Who: The Ultimate Collection. A stereo version is available on My Generation: Deluxe Edition.

 

 

HAPPY JACK (2'14) 
(Pete Townshend) Fabulous Music, Ltd.
Produced by Kit Lambert at Regent Sound Studio, London Nov.8-10, 1966.


Pete Townshend: "It was meant to be based on the Isle Of Man, which is an island where I spent a good part of my childhood, between England and Ireland. It's got its own laws and everything. And my father, as a musician, used to play there a lot. And they have this peculiar beachcomber there, has an image sort of like Moondog, you know. And I spent a lot of time mocking him, and so did most of the kids, but he always seemed to be happy and he didn't mind. I don't even know what his name was. He used to try and come up and lead the donkeys that the kids rode on the beach. He used to try and come up and lead them, and then they'd chase him off. But he used to take everything kindly. Didn't matter. Once he was sleeping on the beach and they actually physically buried him, and he would be suffocating, but he just laughed at them. It taught me something."


Illustration by Ralph Steadman

Pete also tells that the last words of the song came from an attempt to restrain Keith from singing on this track: "Kit had to make [Keith] promise to lay on the floor in the control room down behind the glass so nobody could see him. So he lay there on the ground all the way through the number. And just at the very last few bars, his little head comes up and goes down again. And I shouted out, 'I saw ya!'" Released in the U.K. as Reaction 591010 on December 3, 1966 with B-side "I've Been Away." It reached #3 there. Released in the U.S. as Decca 32114 March 18, 1967 with B-side "Whiskey Man." It reached #24 in Billboard and #13 in Cash Box making it The Who's first Top-Forty single in the U.S. It was performed live 1967-1970 but rarely thereafter. Track 7 on My Generation - The Very Best Of The Who. (2'11)

 

 

I CAN SEE FOR MILES (3'55) 
(Pete Townshend) Fabulous Music, Ltd.
Produced by Kit Lambert. Backing track recorded at CBS Studios, London, May 1967. Vocals recorded at Talentmasters, New York, Aug. 6-7, 1967. Final mix at Gold Star Studios, Los Angeles, Sept. 10, 1967.

Pete Townshend: "The real production masterpiece in the Who/Lambert coalition was, of course, 'I Can See For Miles.' The version here is not the mono, which is a pity because the mono makes the stereo sound like The Carpenters. We cut the track in London at CBS Studios and brought the tapes to Gold Star studios in Hollywood to mix and master them. Gold Star has the nicest sounding echo in the world. And there is just a little of that on the mono. Plus, a touch of home-made compressor in Gold Star's cutting room. I swoon when I hear the sound. The words, which aging senators have called 'drug oriented,' are about a jealous man with exceptionally good eyesight. Honest."

"I Can See For Miles" was first released in the U.S. as Decca 32206 and hit the charts on October 7, 1967 reaching #9 on the Billboard charts, the highest ranking for any Who single. In Cash Box, it went to #8. The B-side was "Mary Anne With The Shaky Hands." In the U.K., it was released as Track 604011 on October 14, 1967 with the B-side "Someone's Coming." Pete was certain it would make it to #1, but it only reached #10, tieing with "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" as their poorest British chart performance to date. It caused Townshend to undergo a complete lack of confidence in himself as a writer of singles. He soon after turned to the idea of a full-scale opera. Claiming it was too complex to perform live with just one guitar, bass and drums, The Who stopped performing this live after a few dates in late 1967, reviving it only after Keith's death when the band was augmented by keyboards and horns. Track 9 on My Generation - The Very Best Of The Who. (4'21)
 
 

PICTURES OF LILY (2'37) 
(Pete Townshend) Fabulous Music, Ltd. 
Produced by Kit Lambert at IBC Studios on April 5, 1967.


Pete Townshend: "Merely a ditty about masturbation and the importance of it to a young man. I was really diggin' at my folks who, when catching me at it, would talk in loud voices in the corridor outside my room. 'Why can't he go with girls like other boys?'" 

The recording was filmed for Swedish television. Released in the U.K. as Track 604002 on April 22, 1967, it reached #4. Released in the U.S. as Decca 32156 on June 24, 1967. The U.S. radio stations, unlike the U.K. pirate stations, objected to the lyrics and it stalled at #51 in Billboard and #60 in Cash Box. "Doctor, Doctor" was the B-side in both countries. Track #8 on My Generation - The Very Best Of The Who. (2'45)

 


MY GENERATION (3'15) 
(Pete Townshend) Fabulous Music, Ltd. 
Produced by Shel Talmy at IBC Studios, London October 13, 1965.


Pete Townshend: "The hymn. The patriotic song they sing at Who football matches. I could say a lot about this. I suppose I should say what hasn't been said, but a lot of what has been said is so hilarious. I wrote it as a throwaway naturally. It was a talking blues thing of the 'Talking New York' ilk. I had written the lines of 'My Generation' without thinking, hurrying them, scribbling on a piece of paper in the back of a car. For years, I've had to live by them, waiting for the day someone says, 'I thought you hoped you'd die before you got old. Well, you are old. What now?' Of course most people are too polite to say that sort of thing to a dying pop star. I say it often to myself."

Released as Brunswick 05944 with the B-side "Shout and Shimmy" on October 29, 1965. It reached #2 on the British charts.It charted there again in 1988 (#68) and 1996 (#31). Released in the U.S. as Decca 31877 with B-side "Out In The Streets" on November 20, 1965 reaching #74 on the Billboard charts and #99 on the Cash Box charts. The set closer for most of their Sixties career where it would be climaxed with an instrument smashup. Track #3 on My Generation - The Very Best Of The Who. A stereo and an instrumental version is available on My Generation: Deluxe Edition.


 

THE SEEKER (3'12) 
(Pete Townshend) Fabulous Music, Ltd.
Produced by The Who at IBC Studios, London Jan. 19, 1970.
Engineered by Damon Lyon-Shaw.


Pete Townshend: "I suppose I like this least of all the stuff. It suffered from being the first thing we did after Tommy, and also from being recorded a few too many times. We did it once at my home studio, then at IBC where we normally worked then with Kit Lambert producing. Then Kit had a tooth pulled, breaking his jaw, and we did it ourselves. The results are impressive. It sounded great in the mosquito-ridden swamp I made it up in, Florida at three in the morning drunk out of my brain with Tom Wright and John Wolf. But that's always where the trouble starts, in the swamp. The alligator turned into an elephant and finally stampeded itself to death on stages around England. I don't think we even got to play it in the States."

Released in the U.K. as Track 604036 on March 21, 1970 and reaching #19 in the charts. Released in the U.S. as Decca 732729; it hit the charts there on April 11, 1970 reaching #44 in Billboard and #30 in Cash Box. And it was performed at a few dates in the U.S., in 1970 and a few times in 2000. B-side in both countries was "Here For More." Track #12 on My Generation - The Very Best Of The Who. (3'22)
 

ANYWAY ANYHOW ANYWHERE (2'35) 
(Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey) Fabulous Music, Ltd. 
Produced by Shel Talmy April 13-14, 1965 at IBC Studios, London.
Piano by Nicky Hopkins


Pete Townshend: "Roger helped a lot with the final arrangement and got half the credit. Something he does today for nothing, bless him. I was lying on my mattress on the floor listening to a Charlie Parker record when I thought up the title. (It's usually title first with me.) I just felt the guy was so free when he was playing. He was a soul without a body, riding, flying, on music. Listening to the compulsory Dizzy Gillespie solo after one by Bird was always a come-down, however clever Gillespie was. No one could follow Bird. Hendrix must have been his reincarnation, especially for guitar players. The freedom suggested by the title came restricted by the aggression of our tightly-defined image when I came to write the words. In fact, Roger was really a hard nut then, and he changes quite a few words himself to toughen the song up to suit his temperament. It is the most excitingly pig-headed of our songs. It's blatant, proud and, dare I say it, sassy."

Released as Brunswick 05935 in the U.K. May 21, 1965 with B-side "Daddy Rolling Stone"; it reached #10. Released in the U.S. as Decca 31801 June 5, 1965 with B-side "Anytime You Want Me"; it failed to chart. Rarely played live past 1965 until it was revived in 1999. Track #2 on My Generation - The Very Best Of The Who.
 
 

PINBALL WIZARD (3'00) 
(Pete Townshend) Fabulous Music, Ltd. 
Produced by Kit Lambert. Completed and mixed at Morgan Studios, London on February 7, 1969.


Pete Townshend: "'Pinball Wizard' is, quite simply, quite pimply, from Tommy. It's my favorite song on the album and was actually written as a ploy to get Nik Cohn, who is an avid pinball player to be a little more receptive to my plans for a Rock Opera. Nik writes on and off for the New York Times. I know which side my Aronowitz is buttered, mate!"

Released as a single ahead of the release of Tommy. In the U.K. it was Track 604027 and was released on March 7, 1969 reaching #4 on the charts. The U.S. issue, Decca 732465, came out March 22, 1969 and got to # 19 in Billboard, #15 in Cash Box. It was The Who's first single issued in stereo. In both countries, the B-side was "Dogs Part II." Track #11 on My Generation - The Very Best Of The Who.


 

A LEGAL MATTER (2'47) 
(Pete Townshend) Towser Tunes, Inc./Fabulous Music Ltd./ABKCO Music, Inc. (BMI) 
Produced by Shel Talmy November 12, 1965 at IBC Studio A, London.
Piano by Nicky Hopkins.


Pete Townshend: "'Legal Matter' is about a guy on the run from a chick about to pin him down for breach of promise. What this song was screaming from behind lines like, 'It's a legal matter baby, marrying's no fun, it's a legal matter baby, you got me on the run,' was 'I'm lonely, I'm hungry, and the bed needs making.' I wanted a maid I suppose. It's terrible feeling like an eligible bachelor but with no women seeming to agree with you." 

Originally released on the first Who album My Generation and subsequently in the U.K. on March 7, 1966 to compete against The Who's single "Substitute" which was their contract-breaking release. A legal matter, indeed! It managed to get only to #32. The B-side was "Instant Party" a/k/a "Circles." (the Shel Talmy produced version). "A Legal Matter" was Pete's first lead vocal with The Who. In the U.S., in addition to the album, it appeared on the B-side of "The Kids Are Alright." Not included on My Generation - The Very Best Of The Who. It is presently available on the boxset 30 Years Of Maximum R&B, The Who: The Ultimate Collection and stereo and mono versions appear on My Generation: Deluxe Edition.


 

BORIS THE SPIDER (2'26) 
(John Entwistle) New Ikon Music, Ltd.
Produced by Kit Lambert at Pye Studios, London Oct. 4, 1966.


Pete Townshend: "The only non-Townshend track on the album is also a non-single. Politics or my own shaky vanity might be the reason, but 'Boris The Spider' was never released as a single and should have been a hit. It was the most-requested song we ever played on stage, and if this really means anything to you guitar players, it was Hendrix's favorite Who song. Which rubbed me up well the wrong way, I can tell you. John introduced us to 'Boris' in much the same way as I introduced us to our 'Generation;' through a tape recorder. We assembled in John's three by ten-foot bedroom and listened incredulously as the strange and haunting chords emerged. Laced with words about the slightly gruesome death of a spider, the song had enough charm to send me back to my pad writing hits furiously."

It was released on the U.K. LP A Quick One (December 3, 1966) and the U.S. LP Happy Jack (May 1967). The closest it ever got to a single was as the B-side of "Whiskey Man" in Japan and on the CD single of "My Generation" in 1996. Track #6 on My Generation - The Very Best Of The Who. A true stereo version is available on the U.S. collection The Who: The Ultimate Collection and recent issues of A Quick One.


 

THE MAGIC BUS (4'28) 
(Pete Townshend) Fabulous Music, Ltd.
Produced by Kit Lambert.
Claves and backing vocals: Bobby Pridden (as "Ben Pump")
Backing vocals: Jess Roden
Recorded early June at IBC Studios, London.

Pete Townshend: "When I wrote 'Magic Bus,' LSD wasn't even invented as far as I knew. Drug songs and veiled references to drugs were not part of The Who image. If you were in The Who and took drugs, you said, 'I take drugs,' and waited for the fuzz to come. We said it but they never came. We very soon got bored with drugs. No publicity value. Buses, however! Just take another look at Decca's answer to an overdue Tommy; The Who, Magic Bus, On Tour. Great title, swinging presentation. Also a swindle as far as insinuating that the record was live. Bastards. This record is what that record should have been. It's The Who at their early best. Merely nippers with big noses and small genitals trying to make the front page of The Daily News."

This song was originally written by Pete sometime in late 1965 and was mentioned by manager Chris Stamp in the Christmas 1965 issue of Melody Maker as a possible follow-up single to "My Generation." The Who did not, however, get around to recording it, so "Magic Bus" first appeared when the group The Pudding released it as a single in April 1967. It failed to chart. Pete recalled in 1969: "It was recorded at a time when we had just returned from our first trip to America having been conned left, right and center and no one really wanted to make a single except Kit Lambert whose job was to see that we did. We all got absolutely paralytic drunk one lunch time and by the time we arrived at the studio no one cared what we did.  'Magic Bus' was just a lot of fun -- Keith bashing about and 'Jes' [Jess Roden] from the Alan Bown Set singing in that Stevie Winwood-type voice on the record." According to engineer Damon Lyon-Shaw, this happened at the May 29, 1968 sessions and the recording was taken and never returned by Kit Lambert.
Released first in the U.S. as Decca 32362 on July 27, 1968 with the B-side "Someone's Coming", it reached #25 in the Billboard charts but went all the way to #10 in the Cash Box charts. The U.K. release, on Track 604024 with B-side "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," followed on 18 September 1968 and went to #26. One of The Who's most-often performed songs, usually during encores. The version on the Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy LP is a rare long version in mono. All the 1990's reissued CD's have a shorter mono version. The shorter true stereo version which first appeared on the U.S. LP Magic Bus - The Who On Tour, was also used on the U.S. CD of Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy and is now available on The Who: The Ultimate Collection. The long version is only available on CD on the 1985 U.K. issue The Who Collection, as a bonus track on the Japanese issue of 2004's Then and Now and the 2007 Japanese issue of Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy. Track #10 on My Generation - The Very Best Of The Who. (3'15)


 

SUBSTITUTE (3'47) 
(Pete Townshend) Fabulous Music, Ltd. 
Produced by Pete Townshend at Olympic Sound Studios, London February 12, 1966.


Pete Townshend: "'Substitute' was written as a spoof of [The Rolling Stones'] 'Nineteenth Nervous Breakdown.' On the demo I sang with an affected Jagger-like accent which Kit obviously liked, as he suggested the song as a follow-up to 'Generation.' The stock, down-beat riff used in the verses I pinched from a record played to me in 'Blind Date,' a feature in Melody Maker [the song was "Where Is My Girl" by Robb Storme and the Whispers].

It was by a group who later wrote to thank me for saying nice things about their record in the feature. The article is set up so that pop stars hear other people's records without knowing who they are by. They say terrible things about their best mates' latest and it all makes the pop scene even snottier and more competitive. Great. The record I said nice things about wasn't a hit, despite an electrifying riff. I pinched it, we did it, you bought it."

Released as Reaction 591001 on March 4, 1966 with B-side "Circles" but was soon withdrawn when producer Shel Talmy threatened an injunction and reissued a week later with the B-side now cleverly retitled "Instant Party" as a tribute to the same-named 1962 album by The Everly Brothers. Talmy's injunction still held, so this single was withdrawn and issued with the non-Who B-side "Waltz For A Pig." Despite all this, it still managed to climb the charts to #5. In the U.S. it was issued as Atco 45-6409 on April 2, 1966 in a shorter version (2'58) with the line "I look all white but my dad was black" replaced with "I try going forward but my feet walk back." (This alternate was also issued on Polydor in Canada and South Africa). The new vocal was almost certainly recorded at the same time as the original vocal. This version has appeared on a bonus CD included with the first issues of The Who: The Ultimate Collection. The U.S. single failed to chart, was re-released by Atco as 45-6509 in August 1967 and again failed to chart. The B-side was "Waltz For A Pig." "Substitute" was re-released as a single in the U.K. on 7 October 1976 where, a decade after its original release, it went to #7. It almost ties with "I Can't Explain" as The Who's most-often performed song live. Track #4 on My Generation - The Very Best Of The Who.
 
 

I'M A BOY (3'42) 
(Pete Townshend) Fabulous Music, Ltd. 
Produced by Kit Lambert in London the week of Oct. 3, 1966.


Pete Townshend: "This is a longer and more relaxed version of the single which was edited and had fancy voices added. The song, of course, is about a boy whose mother dresses him up as a girl and won't let him enjoy all the normal boyish pranks like slitting lizards' tummies and throwing rocks at passing cars. Real Alice Cooper syndrome. Of course Zappa said it all when he wrote the original Rock Opera. Nobody noticed, so he had to write a satire on the one Rock Opera people did notice. 'I'm A Boy' was my first attempt at a Rock Opera. Of course the subject matter is a little thin, then what of Tommy?"

The original single was produced by Kit Lambert and engineered by Paul Clay at IBC Studios July 31-Aug. 1, 1966. Released in the U.K. as Reaction 591004 on August 26, 1966 and charting at #2 (#1 in Melody Maker). The U.S. release, on Decca 32058, was delayed until December 10, 1966. It failed to chart. The version on Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy was intended for an early version of the A Quick One album and has been issued on CD only on the U.S./Canadian Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy. An edited mono version also appears on a bonus disc included with the first run of The Who: The Ultimate Collection.

 

ADDITIONAL NON-ALBUM SINGLES

THE LAST TIME (2'59) 
(Mick Jagger and Keith Richards) ABKCO Music, Inc. BMI
Produced by Kit Lambert at De Lane Lea Studios June 29, 1967.


"Special Announcement: The Who consider Mick Jagger & Keith Richard have been treated as scapegoats for the drug problem and as a protest against the savage sentences imposed on them at Chichester yesterday. The WHO are issuing today the first of a series of Jagger/Richard songs to keep their work before the public until they are again free to record themselves."

This act of rock 'n' roll solidarity started after the 28 June 1967 guilty verdict against Mick Jagger for drug possession. That night Pete had The Who's secretary call John, who was then aboard the QEII on his honeymoon, to get permission for Pete to play bass in his place on an emergency support single. (John, when called for an emergency message, thought someone in his family had died. Told what it was, he said "The Who can release LSD into the nation's water supply for all I f***ing care!") The next morning Pete, Roger and Keith went into De Lane Lea Studios in London to record this. That same day Keith Richards was given a guilty verdict for cannabis possession. Richards was given a year in jail and Jagger 3 months. The record was rush produced by Kit Lambert and released as Track 604006 as a double A-side with "Under My Thumb" on June 30, 1967. On the same day, Jagger and Richards were released on bail. Widespread protests over the severity of the sentences led to their overturn on appeal. The Who's single reached #44 in the charts and they never recorded another Stones single. The single was also released in Europe and Japan but not in the U.S. until Two's Missing in 1987. "The Last Time," on the reissued CD's, appears only on the boxset 30 Years Of Maximum R&B.

 


CALL ME LIGHTNING (2'20) 
(Pete Townshend) Towser Tunes, Inc./Fabulous Music, Ltd./ABKCO Music, Inc. BMI
Produced by Kit Lambert. Recorded at IBC Studio A Feb. 11, 1968 with completion and mixing at Gold Star Studios, Los Angeles Feb. 26, 1968.


Pete Townshend: "This song is a very clear example of how difficult it was for me to reconcile what I took to be Roger's need for macho, chauvinist lyrics and Keith Moon's appetite for surf music and fantasy sports car love affairs."

John Entwistle: "The worst thing I ever did, that bass solo. They decided that they wanted to repeat the bass solo idea from 'My Generation,' but 'Call Me Lightning' wasn't the right tempo for a bass solo, so it had to be simplified. I thought it was crap."

"Call Me Lightning" was played, along with "I Can't Explain," for producer Shel Talmy as part of their audition for a recording contract in November 1964. It might also have been in The Who's set lists at that time. Pete, suffering in 1968 from writer's block caused by the chart disappointment of "I Can See For Miles," dusted off the three year-old track to give The Who a new single to promote during their early 1968 North American tour. At the time it was decried for not being "progressive" but, as with The Beatles' "Lady Madonna" and The Rolling Stones' "Jumpin' Jack Flash," it marked a return to basic rock & roll values after psychedelia. Released in the U.S. as Decca 32288, it entered the charts on March 3, 1968 reaching #40 in Billboard and #38 in Cash Box. The B-side was an early mix of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." "Call Me Lightning" was also released as an A-side in Europe, Japan and Australia; in the U.K. it was the B-side of "Dogs." On the 1990's reissue CD's, this appears only on the boxset 30 Years Of Maximum R&B. A bizarre fake stereo version is on The Who: The Ultimate Collection.


 

DOGS (3'01) 
(Pete Townshend) Towser Tunes, Inc./Fabulous Music, Ltd./ABKCO Music, Inc. BMI
Produced by Kit Lambert at Advision Sound Recording Studios, London May 22, 1968.
Piano: Pete Townshend
.


John Entwistle: "Chris Morphet, who is the harp player, and I are very interested in greyhound racing. We took Pete along several times to the White City Stadium where there is dog racing in London. He really was knocked out and spent quite a lot of money betting, jumping up in the stands, shouting and getting thoroughly excited." [Pete's friend Richard Stanley says, however, that it was he and Chris Morphet who took Pete to the dog track adding that John "was only interested in Irish Wolfhounds."]

The Who have always considered this single their nadir; Roger called it part of The Who's "wanking off period."  Pete Townshend blamed its release on the fall of the pirate radio stations and the monopoly of BBC Radio One that refused to play hard rock: "[It] inhibits what you write and you have to ask yourself if they will play it. That was why we released 'Dogs,' because we knew they would pass it as fit for human consumption."  Released in the U.K. as Track 604023 on June 15, 1968. It reached #25 in the charts. The B-side was "Call Me Lightning." It was also released in Europe, Australia and Japan but not in the U.S. until the Two's Missing LP in 1987. On the 1990's reissue CD's, this appears only on the boxset 30 Years Of Maximum R&B in a stereo mix.

LET'S SEE ACTION (4'02) 
(Pete Townshend) Fabulous Music, Ltd. 
Produced by The Who and associate producer Glyn Johns during the sessions for the Who's Next album at Olympic Studios, London in May/June 1971.
Piano: Nicky Hopkins


The first of three singles which came from the aborted Lifehouse film (for more information go to
Who's Next Liner Notes). Pete's demo version, which appears on his solo album Who Came First as "Nothing Is Everything (Let's See Action)" contains the additional lines, "Rumor has it minds are open. Then rumors fill them up with lies. Future passing, nothing lasting. I try to scream as nothing dies."

Released in the U.K. as Track 2094012 October 15, 1971 with B-side "When I Was A Boy." It reached #16 in the charts. Also released as a single throughout the world except for the U.S. where it wasn't released until the Hooligans album in 1981. Track 15 on My Generation - The Very Best Of The Who.



JOIN TOGETHER (4'22) 
(Pete Townshend) Fabulous Music, Ltd. 
Produced by The Who and associate producer Glyn Johns at Olympic Studios, London May 22, 1972.


Another Lifehouse track originally titled "Join Together With The Band." Released in the U.K. as Track 2094102 on June 17, 1972; it reached #9 in the charts. Released in the U.S. as Decca 32983 on July 8, 1972 and topping at #17 in Billboard and #17 in Cash Box. In both countries, the B-side was a live version of "Baby Don't You Do It."

Later that year, the song was selected as the anthem of The United States Council For World Affairs. It has been said that their is a version running three minutes longer than this in The Who's vaults. Track 17 on My Generation - The Very Best Of The Who. This version ends with a flute-like synthesizer part that was not on the original release. The Who: The Ultimate Collection has the original version. Pete's demo was released on his 1999 album Lifehouse Chronicles. According to R. Rowley, the beginning is played on a combination of an ARP synthesizer and a Lowrey organ. Click here for more details.
 

RELAY (3'52) 
(Pete Townshend) Towser Tunes, Inc./Fabulous Music, Ltd./ABKCO Music, Inc. BMI 
Produced by The Who and associate producer Glyn Johns at Olympic Studios, London May 26, 1972.


The third and most unjustly neglected Lifehouse single. Released first in the U.S. as "The Relay" as Track/Decca 33041 on November 25, 1972. It reached #39 in Billboard and #33 in Cash Box. It was released in the U.K. as Track 2094106 on December 23, 1972 and reached #21. The B-side in both countries was Keith Moon's composition "Waspman."

It was played live during 1972 and was revived a few times after that reaching full prominence in The Who Canon during the 2000 tour after reviews of Pete's 1999 boxset Lifehouse Chronicles (which has Pete's demo version) noted the song seemed to forecast the rise of the Internet. On the 1990's reissued CD's, this appears only on the boxset 30 Years Of Maximum R&B where the beginning is crossfaded with the ending of "Join Together." According to R. Rowley the background music is Pete playing his guitar through his ARP 2600 synthesizer. To find out more, click here.


If you want to contact me about something on this page, click on my name. I want corrections! Brian Cady

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