The Who by Numbers
|The Who by Numbers|
|Studio album by The Who|
|Released||3 October 1975|
|Recorded||April – 12 June 1975, Shepperton Studios' soundstage using Ronnie Lane's Mobile Studio|
|Producer||Chris Charlesworth, Bill Curbishley, Glyn Johns, Robert Rosenberg|
|The Who chronology|
|Singles from The Who by Numbers|
The Who by Numbers is the seventh album by English rock band 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. It was named the tenth-best album of the year in The Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics poll.1
||This section may contain original research. (November 2012)|
Without the massive structure and ambition of the band's better known works Tommy, Quadrophenia and Who's Next, Pete Townshend's songwriting stands on its own in the sparse and dark The Who by Numbers. Gone are the synthesisers and the massive layers of overdubs. In their places are descriptions of Townshend's alcoholism, lust, and self-loathing, as well as the dark side of creeping "middle age" and the fear of irrelevance.
On "They Are All in Love", Townshend laments: "Goodbye all you punks, stay young and stay high/Hand me my checkbook and I'll crawl off to die". These themes extend from the hopeless refrain of "However Much I Booze" (sung by Townshend, as Roger Daltrey thought it was too personal to sing), "There ain't no way out", to the disillusioned question, "How many friends have I really got?" Fans of The Who have often jokingly dubbed The Who By Numbers as "Pete Townshend's suicide note".
A few tracks stand in contrast, including the playfulness of the top-ten hit "Squeeze Box" and "Blue, Red and Grey's" claim that "I like every minute of the day". But John Entwistle's contribution, "Success Story", returns to display nearly as despairing and cynical a view of stardom as the rest of the record.
"In a Hand or a Face" revisits both lyrical and musical themes of Who songs dating back to the previous decade and offers an unexpectedly fiery ending to the album.
The cover was drawn by Entwistle as he was drawing a cartoon history of The Who.
The Rolling Stone review of The Who by Numbers stated: "They may have made their greatest album in the face of [their personal problems]. But only time will tell".
In an interview from 30 Years of Maximum R&B, Townshend declared "Dreaming from the Waist" and "Sister Disco" (from Who Are You) as his least favourite songs to play on stage. In humorous contrast, Entwistle declared in the same series of interviews that "Dreaming from the Waist" was one of his favourite songs to perform live.
|Robert Christgau||B+ 3|
|Rolling Stone||(very positive) 4|
The 1996 remaster was also remixed by Jon Astley. The end of the song "They Are All In Love" is cross-faded with the beginning of "Blue, Red and Grey". The original mix of the album did not feature this cross-fade.
On 24 December 2011 the album was remastered and reissued in Japan using the original mix of the album. The live bonus tracks from the previous edition were included on the reissue. The packaging replicates the original vinyl release of the album.
All songs written by Pete Townshend, except where noted.
|2.||"However Much I Booze"||5:03|
|4.||"Dreaming from the Waist"||4:08|
|5.||"Imagine a Man"||4:00|
|6.||"Success Story" (John Entwistle)||3:20|
|7.||"They Are All in Love"||3:00|
|8.||"Blue, Red and Grey"||2:47|
|9.||"How Many Friends"||4:06|
|10.||"In a Hand or a Face"||3:25|
|1996 reissue bonus tracks|
|11.||"Squeeze Box (Live)"||4:13|
|12.||"Behind Blue Eyes (Live)"||3:41|
|13.||"Dreaming from the Waist (Live)"||4:52|
|1975||Billboard Pop Albums||85|
|1975||UK Chart Albums||76|
|1976||"Squeeze Box"||Billboard Pop Singles||167|
|1976||"Squeeze Box"||UK Singles Chart||106|
|RIAA – US||Gold||10 December 19758|
|RIAA – US||Platinum||8 February 19938|
- The Who
- Roger Daltrey – lead vocals, percussion
- Pete Townshend – guitars, keyboards, ukulele, accordion, banjo, percussion, backing vocals, lead vocals on "However Much I Booze" and "Blue, Red and Grey"
- John Entwistle – bass guitar (four and eight-string), brass, backing vocals, joint lead vocal on "Success Story"
- Keith Moon – drums, percussion
- Additional musicians
- Nicky Hopkins – piano on "They Are All in Love", "Success Story", "Slip Kid", "Imagine a Man", and "In A Hand or a Face"
- Jon Astley – remixing
- Chris Charlesworth – executive producer
- Bill Curbishley – executive producer
- Richard Evans – remaster album art direction, design
- Glyn Johns – production
- Bob Ludwig – remastering
- Robert Rosenberg – executive producer
- John Swenson – liner notes
- Chris Walter – photography
- "Pazz & Jop 1975: Critics Poll". Robert Christgau. 29 December 1975. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
- "Artist Chart History – The Who". Allmusic. Retrieved 25 November 2009.
- "The Who at". Chartstats.com. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
- "The Who Official Band Website – Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle, and Keith Moon , , The Who By Numbers". Thewho.com. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
- "Gold and Platinum Database Search". Retrieved 29 November 2009.