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The Who Sell Out

Release Date: 12/1/1967
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Track List

  1. ARMENIA CITY IN THE SKY
  2. HEINZ BAKED BEANS
  3. MARY ANNE WITH THE SHAKY HAND
  4. ODORONO
  5. TATTOO
  6. OUR LOVE WAS
  7. I CAN SEE FOR MILES
  8. I CAN’T REACH YOU
  9. MEDAC
  10. RELAX
  11. SILAS STINGY
  12. SUNRISE
  13. RAEL 1
  14. RAEL 2
  15. GLITTERING GIRL
  16. MELANCHOLIA
  17. SOMEONE’S COMING
  18. JAGUAR
  19. EARLY MORNING COLD TAXI
  20. HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN KING
  21. GIRL’S EYES
  22. MARY ANNE WITH THE SHAKY HAND (Alternative Version)
  23. GLOW GIRL

Backgrounder

The Whos third album was produced by Kit Lambert and released by Track Records in December 1967 (Track 612 002 [mono] & 613 002 [stereo]). The first CD version was issued by Polydor in the early 1980s (835 727-24) and a remastered version came out in 1995. The remastered version was produced by Jon Astley. In the US THE WHO SELL OUT was released in January 1968 (Decca DL 4950 [mono], DL 74950 [stereo]) followed by the CD (MCA MCAD-31332) in the 1980s and remastered CD (MCAD-11268) in 1995. Accurately predicting the modern-day trend for commercial sponsorship of rock, the songs on the first side of THE WHO SELL OUT are linked together by spoof commercials similar to those heard on contemporaneous offshore pirate radio stations. The eye-catching sleeve design also enforced the sell out concept, with the members of the group promoting some of the products referred to on the record: Roger sits in a tub of baked beans (he caught mild pneumonia sitting in the cold tub during the shoot), Pete uses an underarm deodorant, Keith applies spot cream, and John extols the virtues of a body building course. (The basic cover was sometimes altered: in Canada, legal complications initially blocked the use of Charles Atlas and the caption for John was changed to Isometrics and in Australia, Keith was given a large tube of Clearasil to hold instead of Medac.) The original sleeve design was by David King and Roger Law and photographed by David Montgomery.
 
For all its imagination THE WHO SELL OUT reached only a disappointing #13 in the UK LP charts, and failed completely in the US despite the heavy touring schedule that the band were undertaking there. Because of the touring, the album was recorded variously in London, New York, Los Angeles, and there were even some sessions in Nashville. The CD versions have used the stereo mixes of the tracks, with the mono mixes still unavailable officially in this format.
 
1. ARMENIA CITY IN THE SKY (John Keene) Recorded at IBC, London, October 1967 John Speedy Keen was first the drummer and then guitarist and occasional songwriter for Thunderclap Newman, the band for whom Pete produced the number one hit single SOMETHING IN THE AIR in 1969.
 
2. HEINZ BAKED BEANS (Entwistle) Recorded at De Lane Lea, London, October 1967 The first of several spoof commercials on THE WHO SELL OUT is devoted to the traditional English teatime dish beloved of children.
 
3. MARY ANNE WITH THE SHAKY HAND (Townshend) Recorded at De Lane Lea, October 1967 This was actually The Who third attempt at recording MARY ANNE. They tried an electric version first at Talentmasters Studios in New York on 6 August 1967, and again, also electric, the following day. In the end it was the final version which was released first on THE WHO SELL OUT.
 
4. ODORONO (Townshend) Recorded at IBC, October 1967
 
5. TATTOO (Townshend) Recorded at IBC, October 1967 This song became a stage favourite in the late Sixties, usually prefaced by FORTUNE TELLER, and The Who returned to it many times over the years.
 
6. OUR LOVE WAS (Townshend) Recorded at De Lane Lea, July 1967
 
7. I CAN SEE FOR MILES (Townshend) Recorded at CBS, London, May 1967, Talentmasters, New York, August 1967, and Gold Star, Los Angeles, September, 1967 The only track to be taken off the album as a single, it was released on 14 October 1967, and reached #10 in the UK, and #9 in the US. Pete: To me that was the ultimate Who record yet it didn sell. I spat on the British record buyer.
 
8. I CANT REACH YOU (Townshend) Recorded at De Lane Lea, July, 1967
 
9. MEDAC (Entwistle) Recorded at De Lane Lea, October 1967
 
10. RELAX (Townshend) Recorded at De Lane Lea, July 1967; completed at Talentmasters, 6-7 August 1967
 
11. SILAS STINGY (Entwistle) Recorded at De Lane Lea, October 1967
 
12. SUNRISE (Townshend) Recorded at IBC, November 1967 A Townshend solo on which Pete accompanies himself on acoustic guitar.
 
13. RAEL 1 (Townshend) Recorded at Talentmasters, July 1967 The chord progression in the second half of RAEL is best known for its appearance as a central theme of TOMMY, where it becomes the instrumental passage in both SPARKS and the longer UNDERTURE. Bonus tracks on remastered CD (all produced by Kit Lambert).
 
14. RAEL 2 (Townshend) Recorded at Talentmasters, July 1967
 
15. GLITTERING GIRL (Townshend) Recorded at De Lane Lea, circa March 1967
 
16. MELANCHOLIA (Townshend) Recorded at Advision, London, 29 May 1968
 
17. SOMEONES COMING (Entwistle) Recorded in London May 1967; brass arrangements recorded at Bradley Barn, Nashville, August 1967 First released as the B-side of the UK single of I CAN SEE FOR MILES, it was the first time Roger sang lead vocals on a song written by John.
 
18. JAGUAR (Townshend) Recorded at IBC, October 1967 Astonishing drums lead into one of the heaviest tracks The Who ever recorded, and as the track develops there are traces of themes that would later wind up in UNDERTURE on TOMMY. The vocals, which may have been added as an afterthought, extol the virtues of the luxury car of the same name.
 
19. EARLY MORNING COLD TAXI (Langston/Daltrey) Recorded at CBS, London, May 1967 Cyrano Langston is a guitarist who also worked with The Who road crew.
 
20. HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN KING (Greig/arr. The Who) Recorded at De Lane Lea, April 1967 Previously unreleased prior to 1995, this instrumental, whose theme is borrowed from Greig’s PEER GYNT SUITE, was originally recorded by various UK based instrumental bands in the early Sixties.
 
21. GIRLS EYES (Moon) Recorded at Sound Techniques, London, May 1967 A rare Keith Moon song with vocals by The Who’s drummer.
 
22. MARY ANNE WITH THE SHAKEY HAND (Alternative Version) (Townshend) Recorded at Talentmasters, New York, 7 August 1967 This was the Who second attempt at recording an electric version of the song (see above).
 
23. GLOW GIRL (Townshend) Recorded at De Lane Lea, January and February 1968 The concluding lines of this song also appear rewritten in ITS A BOY in TOMMY.