Face Dances

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Face Dances
Studio album by The Who
Released 16 March 1981 (1981-03-16)
Recorded July–December 1980, Odyssey Recording Studios, London
Genre Rock, New Wave
Length 40:57
Label Polydor, Warner Bros.
Producer Bill Szymczyk
The Who chronology
Quadrophenia
(1979)
Face Dances
(1981)
Phases
(1981)
Singles from Face Dances
  1. "You Better You Bet"
    Released: 21 March 1981 (1981-03-21)
  2. "Don't Let Go the Coat"
    Released: 5 May 1981 (1981-05-05)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars1
Robert Christgau (B+)2
Rolling Stone 2.5/5 stars3

Face Dances is the ninth studio album by English rock band The Who. It was released in 1981 on Warner Bros. Records in the US (it was the band's first release on that label) and on Polydor Records in the UK. It was one of two Who studio albums with drummer Kenney Jones, who had replaced Keith Moon after his death three years earlier.

Although some jeered at the album, Roger Daltrey went on record saying he liked this album in a 1994 interview. Some critics, notably in the Boston Globe in a review in April 1981, said it was the Who's best album since 1973's Quadrophenia.

The album peaked at #44 on the US Billboard album charts (the chart topper was Styx's Paradise Theatre) and #25 on the UK album charts.

The album cover features paintings of the members by many British painters, who were commissioned by Peter Blake, designer of the cover of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. Artists include Tom Phillips, Richard Hamilton, Allen Jones, David Hockney, Clive Barker, R. B. Kitaj, Howard Hodgkin, Patrick Caulfield, and Blake himself.

In 1997, the album was re-mixed, remastered and re-released by MCA Records with three outtakes as well as two live tracks. The live track "How Can You Do It Alone" is an edited version of the live performance.

"You Better You Bet" was the first single from the album; its music video was one of the first music videos aired on MTV in 1981.

Live performances

Every song on this album, with the exception of "Daily Records", has been performed live by either The Who or one its members' solo projects.

On the band's 1981 tour supporting the album, five songs were performed live: "You Better You Bet", "Don't Let Go The Coat", "The Quiet One", "Did You Steal My Money", and "Another Tricky Day". However, only "You Better You Bet", "The Quiet One" and "Another Tricky Day" were played after the tour.

"You Better You Bet" is one of the band's more famous live songs, being played in almost every tour following 1981, namely 1989, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2013. Live performances of this song did not differ much from the studio arrangement, save for the guitar solo, which was usually played differently.

"Don't Let Go The Coat" was played in every concert of the 1981 tour, but did not last past it.

"The Quiet One" was written by Entwistle to replace "My Wife" on stage, and it did for the years of 1981 and 1982. However, in the proceeding tours, this was never played again and "My Wife" was brought back.

"Did You Steal My Money" was only played four times on the 1981 tour, three of those times as an encore, and usually leading into another song.

"How Can You Do It Alone" was first performed live much earlier than the release date of the album. In fact, all of its live performances came before its release. In 1979, Townshend introduced this song with a different, faster arrangement with different lyrics during the encores of the North American leg of the tour. It was played once more in 1980. A version more similar to the studio version (though still quite different) was played at a concert at the Cornwall Coliseum in St Austell on 30 January 1981. By that time, the lyrics had been more or less set in stone. However, it was never played again after that concert.

"Another Tricky Day" was also performed live first before 1981. Townshend introduced some lyrics of the song during a jam of "Dance It Away" in Los Angeles on the 1980 tour. 1981 performances of this song featured a lengthy jam at its conclusion, and these versions could reach as long as eight minutes. In 2002, this song was brought back for the North American tour as a tribute to Entwistle, who died right before the start of the tour. The song was played a few more times in 2004 as well.

"Cache Cache" and "You" were never performed live by The Who, but Daltrey performed the former once on his 2009 Use It or Lose It tour, while the John Entwistle Band sometimes played the latter during their concerts.

Track listing

All songs written by Pete Townshend except where noted.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "You Better You Bet"   5:36
2. "Don't Let Go the Coat"   3:44
3. "Cache Cache"   3:57
4. "The Quiet One" (John Entwistle) 3:10
5. "Did You Steal My Money"   4:11
Side two
No. Title Length
1. "How Can You Do It Alone"   5:26
2. "Daily Records"   3:27
3. "You" (John Entwistle) 4:31
4. "Another Tricky Day"   4:55
1997 reissue bonus tracks
No. Title Length
1. "I Like Nightmares"   3:09
2. "It's In You"   4:59
3. "Somebody Saved Me" (Also found on Pete Townshends solo album All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes) 5:31
4. "How Can You Do It Alone" (Live, 8 December 1979 at Chicago International Amphitheater) 5:24
5. "The Quiet One" (Live, 13 October 1982 at Shea Stadium) 4:28

Personnel

The Who
Additional musicians
Production
Album artwork

In the order they are presented on the sleeve (left to right, top to bottom), the pictures are painted by:

Pete Townshend: Bill Jacklin, Tom Phillips, Colin Self and Richard Hamilton
Roger Daltrey: Michael Andrews, Allen Jones, David Inshaw and David Hockney
John Entwistle: Clive Barker, R. B. Kitaj, Howard Hodgkin and Patrick Caulfield
Kenney Jones: Peter Blake, Joe Tilson, Patrick Procktor and David Tindle6

Sales chart performance

Album
Year Chart Position
1981 The Billboard 200 47
1981 UK Chart Albums 25
Singles
Year Single Chart Position
1981 "Another Tricky Day" Billboard Mainstream Rock 68
"Daily Records" Billboard Mainstream Rock 368
"Did You Steal My Money" Billboard Mainstream Rock 388
"Don't Let Go The Coat" The Billboard Hot 100 84
"How Can You Do It Alone" Billboard Mainstream Rock 508
"You Better You Bet" Billboard Mainstream Rock 18
The Billboard Hot 100 188
UK Singles Chart 95
"You" Billboard Mainstream Rock 518

Sales certifications

Organization Level Date
RIAA – U.S. Gold 20 May 19819
Platinum 18 September 19819

External links

References