LOS ANGELES, CA – September 8, 2015 - THE WHO HITS 50! celebrations continue on October 30th with the release of The Track Records Singles 1967 – 1973.
The Track Records Singles 1967 – 1973 is volume three of a four-part set of classic Who singles by labels (Brunswick, Reaction, Track and Polydor). The 15-disc set features classic singles such as “Pinball Wizard,” “I Can See For Miles” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”
“Pictures Of Lily” was The Who’s first release on Track Records, established earlier in the year by their managers Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp. Unlike many subsequent labels set up essentially as vanity projects by artists or their management, Track was a genuine independent label in search of fresh talent and its first signing, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, signalled their intention to seek out innovative new artists. Indeed, Hendrix recorded Track’s first hit, “Purple Haze,” which reached the UK charts in March 1967, beating The Who by one month.
“The Last Time” and “Under My Thumb” - recorded as a gesture of support to Rolling Stones Mick Jagger and Keith Richards who were imprisoned briefly on drugs charges at Chichester Quarter Sessions. The Who released these cover versions of two Stones songs while the trial was in progress, highlighting a cause célèbre of the day that pitched the hedonistic glamour boys of the counter-culture against the stuffy British Establishment.
“I Can See For Miles” is the link in the chain between The Who as a pop group and The Who as a rock band. Although their earlier singles had shown that the quartet was feistier than just about all the other acts that visited the UK charts before 1967, this was the year when everything changed and, happily for them, The Who found themselves perfectly equipped to join the New World Order. This much was certainly evident on “I Can See For Miles,” the highlight of their 1967 album The Who Sell Out, and a record now widely regarded as one of their genuine masterpieces. Pete: “To me that was the ultimate Who record yet it didn’t sell. I spat on the British record buyer.”
Pete Townshend has often been cited as the greatest rhythm guitarist in rock, and no better evidence survives than the furious acoustic strumming which underpins “Pinball Wizard,” the best known song from Tommy and another serious contender for the finest Who song of all time. Recorded towards the end of the Tommy sessions, at Morgan Studios in Willesden, London, on February 7, 1969, “Pinball” is a rock tour de force, brim-full of ideas, power chords, great lyrics and tight ensemble playing from the opening chord descent to the upward key change near the end.
“Overture, from Tommy” - Even rock operas need overtures and like the overtures that preface operas written by Mozart, Verdi and Tchaikovsky this one contains a well arranged mix of instrumental readings of the songs that will follow, most of them linked together by the rumbling, bass-heavy “Go To The Mirror” riff. The guitar parts are mostly played on Pete’s acoustic Gibson J200, which sets the mood for the entire work, but John’s French horn adds interesting melodic touches and, as ever, the choral work and drums are quite superb. Indeed, in many respects Keith Moon’s work on Tommy represents his greatest contribution to The Who’s catalog, the opportunity that enabled him to become an entire orchestra within himself, most notably on the lengthy and breath-taking instrumental track “Underture.” Nevertheless, the best moment in “Overture” comes towards the end when an organ arrives to pound out the “Listening To You” chords from the “See Me, Feel Me” excerpt. At the close, after a “Pinball” fanfare, Pete is left strumming alone for the segue into “It’s A Boy.”
Now a cornerstone of The Who’s repertoire, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” was the key song on Who’s Next, a lengthy call to arms that became the traditional show closer at Who concerts in 1975/76. Recorded on the Rolling Stones’ 16-track mobile studio at Stargroves, Mick Jagger’s Victorian country mansion near Newbury in Berkshire, the song is based around a clattering synthesizer riff that locks the group into a tight, rhythmic performance, classic mid-period Who at their towering best; Roger singing his heart out, Pete’s block chords firmly in place, John swooping up and down his bass and Keith an almighty presence on drums, albeit slightly more disciplined than usual in view of the song’s inflexible structure.
Produced by The Who at The Kitchen, Battersea, June 27, 1973, “5.15” is the best-known song on Quadrophenia, Pete’s second major rock opera and The Who’s sixth original album. Quadrophenia is the story of the journey of a Mod by the name of Jimmy, whose restlessness, frustration and ultimate disillusionment drive him almost to suicide. It takes in many Mod concerns – clothes, style, Brighton trips, pills and even a Who concert – and ends on a note of triumph when Jimmy somehow manages to free himself from the shackles of the cult. It is now probably best known for the 1979 cult film starring Phil Daniels.
- “Pictures of Lily” b/w “Doctor Doctor”
Track 604 002. Released April 21, 1967
- “The Last Time” b/w “Under My Thumb”
Track 604 006. Released June 30, 1967
- “I Can See For Miles” b/w “Someone’s Coming”
Track 604 011. Released October 13, 1967
- “Dogs” b/w “Call Me Lightning”
Track 604 023. Released June 14, 1968
- “Magic Bus” b/w “Dr Jeckyll & Mr Hyde”
Track 604 024. Released October 11, 1968
- “Pinball Wizard” b/w “Dogs Part Two”
Track 604 027. Released March 7, 1969
- “The Seeker” b/w “Here For More”
Track 604 036. Released March 20, 1970
- 8. “Summertime Blues” b/w “Heaven and Hell”
Track 2094 002. Released July 10, 1970
- “See Me, Feel Me” b/w “Overture”
Track single 2094 004 – (Released October 1970 then withdrawn).
- TOMMY (EP)
“See Me, Feel Me,” “Christmas” b/w “Overture,” “I’m Free”
Track 2252 001. Released November 6, 1970
- “Won’t Get Fooled Again” b/w “Don’t Know Myself”
Track 2094 009. Released June 25, 1971
- “Let’s See Action” b/w “When I Was A Boy”
Track 2094 012. Released October 15, 1971
- “Join Together” b/w “Baby Don’t You Do It”
Track 2094 102. Released June 16, 1972
- “Relay” b/w “Waspman”
Track 2094 106. Released December 22, 1972
- “5.15” b/w “Water”
Track 2094 115. Released October 5, 1973
In other Who news: THE WHO have postponed four shows of their fall "THE WHO HITS 50!"North American tour to allow lead singer Roger Daltrey proper time to recover from an unspecified virus he contracted. Based on doctor's orders, the first four dates of the tour launch--September 14 at Valley View Casino Center in San Diego,September 16 at Honda Center in Anaheim, September 19 at Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and September 21 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles--have been postponed. The band regrettably has cancelled their September 18 performance at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas. "THE WHO HITS 50!" tour will resume September 24 at Moda Center in Portland, OR. Details on the rescheduled dates will be announced in the coming weeks.
THE WHO's 2015 Fall North American dates are as follows:
KeyArena at Seattle Center
Pepsi Live at Rogers Arena
BMO Harris Bradley Center
Joe Louis Arena
Air Canada Centre
CONSOL Energy Center
New York, NY
Madison Square Garden
Wells Fargo Center
Air Canada Centre
KFC Yum! Center
St. Louis, MO
Kansas City, MO
Rescheduled dates to be announced:
San Diego, CA Valley View Casino Center
Anaheim, CA Honda Center
Las Vegas, NV Colosseum at Caesars Palace
Los Angeles, CA Staples Center