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Liner Notes › My Generation

MY GENERATION

Roger Daltrey Vocals  
John Entwistle Bass Guitar & Vocals  
Keith Moon Drums  
Pete Townshend Guitar & Vocals  
Nicky Hopkins Piano [the April sessions were the famed session man's first sessions as a hired gun having just finished an 18-month hospital stay that temporarily ended his touring career. He went on to play practically every piano part in late 60's early 70's British rock including The Beatles' "Revolution", The Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street and The Who's Who's Next.]

Original recording and new remix produced by Shel Talmy  
Original engineered by Glyn Johns  
Liner notes by Brian Cady 

 
U.K. cover shot at Surrey Docks, South London by David Wedgbury
November 1965 

 
U.S. cover shot in London, England by David Wedgbury 
March 17, 1965


My Generation was originally released as Brunswick LAT 8616 on December 3rd, 1965. It reached #5 in the U.K. In the U.S. the release was held back until April 1966. The album was retitled The Who Sings My Generation, featured a different front and back cover from the U.K. version and substituted "Instant Party" a/k/a "Circles" for  "I'm a Man." Released as Decca DL4664 (mono). DL74664 (processed "stereo"). The U.S. LP failed to chart. A Deluxe Edition with tracks remixed from existing 3-track masters was released Aug. 27, 2002 in the U.S. and Sept. 9, 2002 in the U.K. A remastered extended mono version of the original British album was issued on CD in Japan August 6, 2008.

Roger Daltrey always told the story that The Who's first album, My Generation, was recorded in one afternoon. Although the individual tracks were recorded quickly, this LP's birth was actually long and difficult. After the Top Ten U.K. success of The Who's first single, "I Can't Explain", their producer Shel Talmy sent them back into the studio on April 12-14 to record a new single and album (an earlier planned album recording session on March 19 came to nothing). That album, intended for release on Decca Records in the U.S. during the summer of 1965, was later shelved after a bad preliminary review in Beat Instrumental (complaining about the lack of original material). Several of the songs would find their way to the finished My Generation album. On June 17, 1965, Melody Maker was reporting that The Who were unhappy with the material they had recorded so far and were turning from R&B to hard pop with an album they would start recording on July 26 although there is no evidence that they did. The album was finished in three more sessions, one on October 13 and two more on November 10 and 13. By this time, Pete had progressed far enough as a writer to provide all but one of the tunes. According to John Atkins, Pete also offered the songs "Do the Strip", "Things Have Changed" (see Pete's LP Scoop) and "Kill My Appetite" for this album, but they were rejected and not recorded by the band. 
  
 

Out in the Street 2'30 (Deluxe Edition stereo version 2'32)
(Pete Townshend) Towser Tunes, Inc./Fabulous Music Ltd./ABKCO Music, Inc. (BMI)
Recorded April 12-14, 1965 at IBC Studios, London.

 

Pete in 1965: "This was going to be a single. I hate that 'no, no, no' bit. It was originally 'show me, show me' but Kit Lambert thought it wasn't very good. He wrote all the new lyrics. I'm not going to take the blame for any of them. It sounds all cut about and edited."
One of Pete's earliest compositions, this was recorded under the title "You're Gonna Know Me." It was released as the B-side of the "My Generation" single in the U.S. as "Out In The Street (You're Going To Know Me)."

I Don't Mind 2'32
(James Brown) Lois Music (BMI)  
Recorded April 12-14, 1965 at IBC Studios, London.

Pete in 1965: "This was going to be on our first LP which never came out. It's just a straight copy, well the best we could do of a James Brown number. It sounds better the way we do it now."
A cover of the song originally recorded by James Brown and The Famous Flames. Brown's original hit the U.S. Billboard charts May 15, 1961. It would have been more familiar to British listeners from its appearance on James Brown's Live at the Apollo LP.


 

The Good's Gone 3'59  
(Pete Townshend) Towser Tunes, Inc./Fabulous Music Ltd./ABKCO Music, Inc. (BMI)  
Recorded November 10, 1965 at IBC Studio A, London.

 

Pete in 1965: "One of mine. I like it. Roger sounds as though he's about six feet tall when he's singing."
Also released in Europe as the B-side of the "La-La-La-Lies" single.
 

La-La-La-Lies 2'12 (Deluxe Edition stereo version 2'18)
(Pete Townshend) Towser Tunes, Inc./Fabulous Music Ltd./ABKCO Music, Inc. (BMI) 
Recorded November 10, 1965 at IBC Studio A, London.

 

Pete in 1965: "It wasn't as good as this before I did it with Keith. It's not my favourite one on the LP. It reminds me a bit of Sandie Shaw."
This song was released as a single in Europe without the Who's consent on November 11, 1966. It didn't chart in the U.K. but reached #17 in Sweden. The My Generation: Deluxe Edition stereo remix lacks the original's double-tracked vocals, which may be why it has an abrupt cut-off on the vocals right before the bridge.


 

Much Too Much 2'45  
(Pete Townshend) Towser Tunes, Inc./Fabulous Music Ltd./ABKCO Music, Inc. (BMI)  
Recorded November 10, 1965 at IBC Studio A, London. The My Generation: Deluxe Edition stereo version lacks the original's double-tracked vocals in the intro.

 

Pete in 1965: "I like the beginning of this. Sounds like Barry McGuire, doesn't it? Very sort of folksy, 'Green, Green'."


 

My Generation 3'15 (Deluxe Edition stereo version 3'21)
(Pete Townshend) TRO-Devon Music, Inc. (BMI)  
Recorded October 13th, 1965 at IBC Studio A, London.


Pete in 1965: "The guy who's singing is supposed to be blocked. It's reminiscent in a way because Mods don't get blocked anymore. They get drunk or other things. Pills was a phase...No, he's not blocked. He just can't form his words. [Manager] Chris Stamp was all for it, but the others kept wanting to put their own bits in. The ending is a natural progression of what's come before. It's the way it happens on stage. It was meant to get back more to the general theme at the end, but it doesn't."

This was The Who's fourth (or fifth?) attempt at recording this song over a period of two months. Most evidence points towards it having been written on May 19th as Pete rode a train to Southampton to appear on a television show. Matt Kent and Andy Neill report that the song may have been inspired by the Queen Mum who reportedly had Pete's 1935 Packard hearse towed off a street in Belgravia because the sight of it offended her on her daily drive through the neighborhood. The original was a slow "talking" blues without a stutter. Pete reworked it into its present form with the help of manager Chris Stamp. According to Pete in a 2002 message, the "stutter" was inspired by John Lee Hooker's "Stuttering Blues." As to claims that the stutter was meant to represent the speech pattern of a Mod taking speed pills, Pete called it "an unconscious reference." "My Generation" was released as a single in the U.K. on October 29, 1965 and reached #2. The U.S. single release was November 20, 1965 where it peaked at #74 in the Billboard charts and #99 in the Cash Box charts.

A live version of the song without the stutter and with the background sung as "talkin...talkin." was filmed Aug. 3, 1965 for the U.S. show Shindig. There have been other studio versions of "My Generation", one of which was recorded in 1966 and surfaced on the 1995 A Quick One remaster and another in 1967 for use on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Live versions can be found on The Monterey Pop boxset, Live At Leeds, Live at The Isle Of Wight 1970, Who's Last and The Blues To The Bush. The stereo version on My Generation: Deluxe Edition is missing the original's lead guitar.

 

The Kids Are Alright 3'05 (Deluxe Edition stereo version 3'10)
(Pete Townshend) Towser Tunes, Inc./Fabulous Music Ltd./ABKCO Music, Inc. (BMI)  
Recorded October 13th, 1965 at IBC Studio A, London.

 

Pete in 1965: "This was going to be the B-side to 'Generation'. It's our French EP. Shel Talmy said he'd prefer it as the 'A' side in the States. He doesn't like taking chances, he doesn't like doing anything. I don't know where I got the idea for this one from. It sounds sort of symphonic. This is the favourite number on the LP of John, Keith and me."
Recorded after midnight at the same session that yielded the release version of "My Generation." For the U.S. LP this track had the middle guitar and drum bridge removed. This shortened version (2'42) was released as a single in the U.S. July 1966 and reached #106 in Billboard and #85 in Cash Box. The Who filmed a music video for it showing them performing by the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park. The full-length version was released in Europe as a single without the Who's consent on August 12th, 1966. It reached #41 in the U.K. but #8 in Sweden. The complete mono version is widely in print on The Who's box set30 Years Of Maximum R&B and on the 2008 My Generation Box from Japan.  The stereo mix lacks the original's double-tracked vocals. A live version from 1999 appears on The Blues To The Bush.


 

Please, Please, Please 2'46  
(James Brown and Johnny Terry) Lois Music (BMI)  
Recorded April 12-14, 1965 at IBC Studios, London.

 

Pete in 1965: "This is another one of the old LP, same old crap. We didn't want all this stuff on it. I'm a bit gone on all these electronic toys, these robots we've got. I don't like all this rhythm and blues. Oh, I don't play like that anymore."
A cover of the first single by James Brown and The Famous Flames which entered the Billboard R&B charts April 7, 1956. Also more familiar to British listeners from its appearance on James Brown'sLive at the Apollo LP.

 

It's Not True 2'34  
(Pete Townshend) Towser Tunes, Inc./Fabulous Music Ltd./ABKCO Music, Inc. (BMI)  
Recorded November 10, 1965 at IBC Studio A, London.

 

Pete in 1965: "This is everyone else's favourite track. I hate it. Yes, I'm thinking of giving this one to a country and western group, actually. They're called the New Faces."

 

I'm a Man 3'18 (Deluxe Edition stereo version 3'23)
(Ellas McDaniel) Arc Music, Corp. (BMI) 
Recorded April 12-14, 1965 at IBC Studios, London.

 

Pete in 1965: "We recorded this years ago. I hate this as well. I don't actually like the LP. It strikes me as weird that there are so many different numbers from different stages of our career. I only hope they don't expect us to do it onstage. It's great how I get that piano sound out of my guitar. This is probably our best recorded feedback."
John in 1987: "We have performed better versions of this song but they were never recorded. So, here it is - recorded at IBC Studios in all its glory. Yardbirds eat ya heart out!"  
Cover of the B-side of Bo Diddley's first single which hit the Billboard R&B charts May 7, 1955. The song was best known to British listeners from the 1964 LP Roadrunner. The Who's version was not legally released in the U.S. until 1987 when a stereo version awkwardly shortened to excise three lines of lyric was released on the LP Two's Missing. The complete mono version was not released on CD until the 2008 My Generation Boxreleased in Japan. A live version from 1989 is available on the 30 Years of Maximum R&B boxset.


 

A Legal Matter 2'47 (Deluxe Edition stereo version 2'54)
(Pete Townshend) Towser Tunes, Inc./Fabulous Music Ltd./ABKCO Music, Inc. (BMI)  
Recorded November 12, 1965 at IBC Studio A, London.

 

Pete in 1965: "I'm singing on this one. Put that it's a similar voice to Paul McCartney."
After The Who broke with Shel Talmy and Decca/Brunswick to release their single "Substitute," Brunswick rush-released "A Legal Matter" backed with "Circles" retitled "Instant Party," on March 7, 1966. This was a Monday, an unusual day to release a single, but it was done to compete with "Substitute" and damage its ultimate chart position. In the U.K. "A Legal Matter" reached only #32 while "Substitute" hit #5. In the U.S. "A Legal Matter" appeared on the flip side of "The Kids Are Alright," The Who's first single on Decca after restoring their ties with the label. This is the first release with a Pete Townshend lead vocal. There was an apocryphal story that Roger didn't sing it because he was getting divorced from his first wife at the time. The divorce did not actually occur until five years after this album but they were separated at the time. The stereo version on My Generation: Deluxe Edition is missing the original's lead guitar but does feature previously unheard drums and bass performance during the outro.


 

The Ox 3'49 (Deluxe Edition stereo version 3'57)
(Pete Townshend, Keith Moon, John Entwistle, Nicky Hopkins) Towser Tunes, Inc./Fabulous Music Ltd./ABKCO Music, Inc. (BMI)  
Recorded November 12, 1965 at IBC Studio A, London.

 

Pete in 1965: "This is the lead track on the LP. We all wrote it except Roger. In a way, I suppose it's a surfing sound. It's an American sound like something you get from the Wailers. I got out of this something I've always wanted to get out of a piece of music. I like that piano break. Actually it's John getting a piano sound out of his guitar. Nicky Hopkins is on this, he used to be with Cyril Davis. This session went on much longer and at the end we were all falling about."
Nicky Hopkins (from Julian Dawson's And On Piano...Nicky Hopkins): "That was just a one-off. There were five minutes left on the clock at the end of one session and Shel just said, 'OK boys, play!' I wish we'd had time to re-do it actually; I had no idea they were going to break and didn't know if I was supposed to keep playing or what!"

The title came from John Entwistle's nickname but this instrumental remains most famous for Keith's contribution. According to Tony Fletcher, this song is based on The Surfaris' "Waikiki Run" with a lower guitar line and a more sinister melody. Released in Europe as the B-side of "The Kids Are Alright." On the U.S. album this track came before "A Legal Matter."  The 2002 stereo version has a hard ending eight seconds after the original mono fade out.





BONUS TRACKS 
  
 

Circles 3'05 (Deluxe Edition stereo version 3'13)  
(Pete Townshend) BMI  
Recorded January 12, 1966 at IBC Studios, London.


The first Who song recorded with brass performed by John Entwistle: "When we recorded our first LP and wanted a bit of a different sound, Pete told our manager, Kit Lambert, that I could play trumpet. He thought Pete was joking at first but then said he'd give it a try. I showed him I could play the trumpet and in the end we used French horn." "Circles" is the last Who recording produced by Shel Talmy. It was scheduled to be released on Brunswick records as an A-side single on February 18, probably with the unreleased track "Instant Party Mixture" as the B-side, but was withdrawn when it became clear that The Who intended to break their contract with Shel Talmy. It eventually appeared on the B-side of the "A Legal Matter" single in Europe where it was retitled "Instant Party" then retained that title when it appeared as the last track on the U.S. LP. The mono version is available on CD on the Canadian import The Who Sings My Generation and the My Generation remaster released in Japan in 2008. The stereo version from My Generation: Deluxe Edition is missing John's horn part.

 

I Can't Explain 2'04
(Pete Townshend) Fabulous Music, Ltd.
Produced by Shel Talmy at Pye Studios, London in the second week of November 1964.

Lead guitar: Pete Townshend

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


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. The stereo mix on My Generation: Deluxe Edition is missing the tambourine that is present on the mono version.


Bald-Headed Woman 2'09 (Deluxe Edition stereo version 2'32)
(Traditional, arranged by Shel Talmy) ASCAP  
Recorded second week of November 1964 at Pye Studios.
Lead fuzz guitar: Jimmy Page

Rhythm guitar: Pete Townshend


John: "The Fuzz guitar droning throughout is played by Jimmy Page; the reason being, he owned the only Fuzz Box in the country at that time. The words express my sentiments exactly - a bald headed woman would make me pretty mean, too. My favorite part of this track is the opening of the harmonica solo, where Roger puts the harmonica into his mouth the wrong way around."

As with the Talmy-produced Kinks, the Who were persuaded to record this so that Shel Talmy could get publishing royalties. It was the B-side of the single "I Can't Explain.". Although credited to Talmy, it is actually a traditional African-American chain-gang song that is in the public domain. For a version similar to this arrangement see Odetta's 1963 LP My Eyes Have Seen.

 

Daddy Rolling Stone 2'49  
(Otis Blackwell) MCA Music Publishing, A Division of MCA, Inc., ASCAP  
Recorded April 12-14, 1965 at IBC Studios, London.


John: "This was one of our favorite stage songs. We played this on and off right up to the end. It grew into something far more powerful than this version."  
A cover of the song originally released by Otis Blackwell in 1953. Blackwell left recording in 1955 to become a songwriter and wrote a few tunes you may have heard of like "Don't Be Cruel," "All Shook Up," "Return To Sender" and "Great Balls Of Fire." However, the version from which The Who got their arrangement was the 1963 cover version by Derek Martin. The Who's version appeared on the B-side of the European release of "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" and was not released in the U.S. (in a stereo mix probably prepared in 1965) until the Two's Missing LP in 1987. This stereo mix is currently available on The Who's box set 30 Years Of Maximum R&B. Often performed live in The Who's first few years and a live version recorded for the U.S. show Shindig is available on bootleg videotapes.  The stereo version on My Generation: Deluxe Edition features different backing vocals from the original version and is missing Roger's tambourine. The mono mix is on the 2008 My Generation Box released in Japan.

 

Leaving Here 2'49
(Edward Holland Jr./Lamont Dozier/Brian Holland) ©1963 Stone Agate Music, BMI  
Produced by Shel Talmy at IBC Studios, London April 12-14, 1965.


The Who recorded several different versions of "Leaving Here" in April 1965 intending one to be on the follow-up single to "I Can't Explain." None were released commercially until this track came out on the U.S. LP Who's Misssing in 1985. After all this effort, it was fellow Mod band The Birds who had the hit with their cover of this song originally recorded by Eddie Holland. The track also appears on the 30 Years Of Maximum R&B boxset, a different stereo mix with a different vocal is on My Generation: Deluxe Edition and a mono mix is on the 2008 My Generation Boxreleased in Japan.

 

Lubie (Come Back Home) 3'38
(Paul Revere, Mark Lindsay) BMI  
Recorded April 12-14, 1965 at IBC Studios, London.

 
A cover of the song by Paul Revere and the Raiders released as "Louie, Go Home" on a single in 1964. Unavailable in the U.K. at the time except as an import until it was released on an LP in 1966. This track was originally released on the 1985 LP Who's Missing. A different stereo mix is on My Generation: Deluxe Edition and a mono mix is on the 2008 My Generation Box released in Japan.

 

Shout and Shimmy 3'16
(James Brown) Lois Music (BMI)  
Recorded April 12-14, 1965 at IBC Studios, London.


A cover of the song originally released by James Brown and the Famous Flames in July 1962 on both sides of the Atlantic. The Who's version appeared as the B-side of the European single of "My Generation." It was not released in the U.S. until Who's Missing in 1985. A stereo mix is available on My Generation: Deluxe Edition. As with all the James Brown covers here, it was a staple of The Who's live act at the time but was dropped with the rest by 1966. Live versions are available in The Kids Are Alright movie and the video Ready Steady Go! Vol. 2.

 


Heatwave 2'40
(Edward Holland Jr., Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland) Stone Agate Music (BMI)  
Recorded April 12-14, 1965 at IBC Studios, London.


Another cover of a song originally released by Martha and the Vandellas in August 1963. The Who saw them perform it at the Motown Show at Finsbury Park, Astoria, March 20, 1965. For most of this period this song was The Who's set opener. Another Who recording was used for the A Quick One LP. This take was originally released in a stereo mix on the 1987 Two's Missing LP. A different stereo mix is on My Generation: Deluxe Edition and a mono mix is on the 2008 My Generation Box released in Japan.

 

Motoring 2'50
(William Stephenson) Stone Agate Music (BMI)  
Recorded April 12-14, 1965 at IBC Studios, London.


John: "Boy, were we relieved when we finally had our own material to record, but this was before then. I can still remember the day Keith bought a real drum kit, and threw away the biscuit tins he used on this track."  
A cover of the Martha and the Vandellas song which was the B-side of the single "Nowhere To Run" released in the U.K. in March 1965. This track was originally released on the 1987 LP Two's Missing. A different stereo mix is on My Generation: Deluxe Edition and a mono mix is on the 2008 My Generation Box released in Japan.

 

Anytime You Want Me 2'38  
(Jerry Ragavoy, Garnet Mimms) BMI  
Recorded April 12-14, 1965 at IBC Studios, London.


A cover of the song "Any Time You Need Me" by Garnet Mimms and the Enchanters who released the original on an LP November 1963. The Who's version was released on the B-side of the U.S. and Australian single "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere." Its first release in the U.K. was on the 1985 Who's Missing LP. A stereo mix is on My Generation: Deluxe Edition.

 

 

Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere(alternate vocal) 2'43
(Pete Townshend) TRO-Devon Music, Inc. (BMI)  
Recorded at IBC Studios April 12-14, 1965.


An alternate-vocal version of the Who single which was released on a French EP (Brunswick 10 668) around June 1, 1965. A stereo mix is on My Generation: Deluxe Edition. The master tape with the original vocal, oddly enough, appears to be missing.


Instant Party Mixture 2'43
(Pete Townshend) TRO-Devon Music, Inc. (BMI)  
Recorded January 12, 1966 at IBC Studios, London.


A previously unreleased track on My Generation: Deluxe Edition originally intended as the b-side of The Who's planned but unreleased follow-up single to "My Generation," "Circles." Until its 2002 release this song was known only in bootleg copies of Pete's demo version known as "Party & Lies" or "Partyin' Pete." It has no connection with the two renamed recordings of "Circles" released as "Instant Party."

 

I Don't Mind (extended version) 3'43  
(James Brown) Lois Music (BMI)  
Recorded April 12-14, 1965 at IBC Studios, London.


The complete recording cut short on the original album. A previously unreleased track on My Generation: Deluxe Edition.

 

The Good's Gone (extended version) 4'29
(Pete Townshend) Towser Tunes, Inc./Fabulous Music Ltd./ABKCO Music, Inc. (BMI)  
Recorded November 10, 1965 at IBC Studio A, London.


The complete recording cut short on the original album. A previously unreleased track on My Generation: Deluxe Edition.

 

My Generation (instrumental version) 3'27
(Pete Townshend) TRO-Devon Music, Inc. (BMI)  
Recorded October 13th, 1965 at IBC Studios, London. A previously unreleased track on My Generation: Deluxe Edition

 

Anytime You Want Me (a capella version) 2'29  
(Jerry Ragavoy, Garnet Mimms) BMI  
Recorded April 12-14, 1965 at IBC Studios, London.


Vocals only from the above recording. A previously unreleased track on My Generation: Deluxe Edition.

 

Circles (alternate take) 3'13

(Pete Townshend) BMI  
Recorded January 12, 1966 at IBC Studios, London.

An alternate take of the same track as above, first released on the 2008 My Generation Box released in Japan.

 



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

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