News for the ‘The Who’ Category

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #74 – The Who: “I Can See For Miles” b/w “Mary-Anne With The Shaky Hand”– Decca 32206 (G8/H8)

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #74 – The Who: “I Can See For Miles” b/w “Mary-Anne With The Shaky Hand”– Decca 32206 (G8/H8)

The Who have several masterpieces in their canon including Tommy, Who’s Next and Quadrophenia. However, one record that doesn’t get name-checked enough when it comes to The Who’s masterworks is The Who Sell Out which is by far my all-time favorite of all of their albums.

Back in 1967, The Who managed to do what Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys couldn’t. The Beach Boys’ Smile was meant to create a painterly picture of Americana through music and inject a broad sense of humor into the music. The Who’s 1967 album, was a quintessentially British album that was injected it through and through with humor to burn.

The Who took their British concept one step further by building the album around a fake pirate radio station concept, complete with commercials and public service announcements between each song. The album’s release was met with a flurry of law suits because some of the fake jingles were for real products including Heinz Baked Beans and Odorono Deodorant.

Furthermore, the album cover depicted a photo of each band member advertising a product. Pete Townshend is shown applying Odorono Deodorant to his underarm, Roger Daltrey is shown sitting in a bathtub full of Heinz Baked Beans, Keith Moon is shown putting Medac zit cream on his face and John Entwistle is shown with a woman flexing his muscles and holding a teddy bear depicting the album’s Charles Atlas jingle. British first pressings of the album came with a psychedelic poster of a butterfly which was originally considered for the album’s cover art. (Sure wish I had one of those!) Copies of the album with the poster sell for thousands of dollars on eBay.

The album includes the single “I Can See For Miles” which is today’s jukebox classic, and along with “Pictures Of Lily,” is amongst The Who’s very best singles. The song was written by Pete Townshend and it remains the group’s biggest hit reaching #9 on the U.S. singles chart. The track was recorded in both England and the U.S., and the single version differs from the album version featuring an overdubbed second bass track.

The song was said to inspire Paul McCartney who read a review of “I Can See For Miles” that claimed it was one of the heaviest songs ever released. Not being the type to be one-upped, McCartney set out to write an even heavier song (even though he hadn’t heard “Miles”) resulting in “Helter Skelter.” (songfacts.com)

The song features a one-note guitar solo that was a reaction to the arrival of Jimi Hendrix on the scene. Townshend believed that he couldn’t possibly complete with the American axe man, so why bother trying. (songfacts.com) While the record was The Who’s best showing on the charts, Townshend was sure that the song would be their first number one single and was disappointed when it only climbed into the top ten. It has been covered by the likes of Tina Turner, Styx, Marty Stuart and Old Crow Medicine Show and Petra Haden who not only covered the song, but also covered the whole album.

The flip of today’s single is an alternate mix of another Who Sell Out track, “Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand,” which is another essential psychedelic Who track. The song describes a woman who is afflicted with hand tremors, but many believe that the song is their second stab at creating a great song about masturbation (following “Pictures Of Lily”) because of the line “What they’ve done to a man, those shaky hands.”

Several versions of the song exist. The album version included an acoustic guitar part with Latin rhythms on it, while a second version trades the acoustic guitar for an electric and features an organ solo courtesy of Al Kooper. The version on the flip of today’s single is a mono version with the electric guitar and without the organ solo.

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over 14 years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: September 15th, 2015

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #74 – The Who: “I Can See For Miles” b/w “Mary-Anne With The Shaky Hands”– Decca 32206 (G8/H8)

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #74 – The Who: “I Can See For Miles” b/w “Mary-Anne With The Shaky Hands”– Decca 32206 (G8/H8)

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

The Who have several masterpieces in their canon including Tommy, Who’s Next and Quadrophenia. However, one record that doesn’t get name-checked enough when it comes to their greatest masterworks is The Who Sell Out which is by far my all-time favorite of all of their albums.

Back in 1967, The Who managed to do what Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys couldn’t. The Beach Boys’ Smile was meant to create a painterly picture of Americana through music, and inject a broad sense of humor into the music. The Who’s 1967 album, was a quintessentially British album that was injected through and through with humor to burn.

The Who took their British concept one step further by building the album around a fake pirate radio station concept, complete with commercials and public service announcements between each song. The album’s release was met with a flurry of law suits because some of the fake jingles were for real products including Heinz Baked Beans and Odorono Deodorant.

Furthermore, the album cover depicted a photo of each band member advertising a product. Pete Townshend is shown applying Odorono Deodorant to his underarm, Roger Daltrey is shown sitting in a bathtub full of Heinz Baked Beans, Keith Moon is shown putting Medac zit cream on his face and John Entwistle is shown with a woman flexing his muscles and holding a teddy bear depicting the album’s Charles Atlas jingle. British first pressings of the album came with a psychedelic poster of a butterfly which was originally considered for the album’s cover art. Copies of the album with the poster sell for thousands of dollars on eBay.

The album includes the single “I Can See For Miles” which is today’s jukebox classic, and along with “Pictures Of Lily,” is amongst The Who’s very best singles. The song was written by Pete Townshend and remains the group’s biggest hit reaching #9 on the U.S. singles chart. The track was recorded in both England and the U.S., and the single version differs from the album version featuring an overdubbed second bass track.

The song was said to inspire Paul McCartney who read a review of “I Can See For Miles” that claimed it was one of the heaviest songs ever released. Not being the type to be one-upped, McCartney set out to write an even heavier song (even though he hadn’t heard “Miles”) resulting in “Helter Skelter.”

The song features a one-note guitar solo that was a reaction to the arrival of Jimi Hendrix on the scene. Townshend believed that he couldn’t possibly complete with the American axe man, so why bother trying. While the record was The Who’s best showing on the charts, Townshend was sure that the song would be their first number one single and was disappointed when it only climbed into the top ten. It has been covered by the likes of Tina Turner, Styx, Marty Stuart and Old Crow Medicine Show and Petra Haden who not only covered the song, but also covered the whole album a capella.

The flip of today’s single is an alternate mix of another Who Sell Out track, “Mary Anne With The Shaky Hands,” which is another essential psychedelic Who track. The song describes a woman who is afflicted with hand tremors, but many believe that the song is their second stab at creating a great song about masturbation (following “Pictures Of Lily”) because of the line “What they’ve done to a man, those shaky hands.”

Several versions of the song exist. The album version included an acoustic guitar part with a rhythmic percussion track, while a second version trades the acoustic guitar for an electric and features an organ solo courtesy of Al Kooper. The version on the flip of today’s single is a mono version with the electric guitar and without the organ solo.

Edited: February 9th, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 1/29/13

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by The Who

Psychedelic Ox from an album reviled by the band, but truly loved by fans.

Today’s Song Of The Day was originally a 1968 B-side written by Who bassist John Entwistle.  The song ended up on the album “Magic Bus: The Who On Tour”, which contrary to its title was not a live recording, but a compilation of studio off tracks from other releases. The 1968 album, which was compiled for American and Canadian markets only, included tracks from EPs (primarily the 1966 EP, “Ready Steady Who”) and stray singles, with a dash of a few already available cuts from the group’s first two albums.

While the group didn’t approve of the album at all, North American fans who grew up listening to the Who cherish the tune stack and album’s highly listenable sequence. When the group posed for the bus photo that was used on the cover, they had no idea that the photo would end up being the cover of their next American album release. Sadly, the album has been out of print in the U.S. since the early ‘90s, with its tracks either released as bonus tracks to the CD version of the “A Quick One” album, or returned to the original albums from where they came from.

Some of Pete’s greatest songs are on this album, especially “Disguises” and “Run, Run, Run” (from the “Happy Jack” album), plus “Pictures Of Lily,” “Call Me Lightning” and, of course, the album’s title track. And two of Entwistle’s greatest songs are also here, including “Boris The Spider,” which was written after a night out drinking at a bar with Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones, and today’s Song Of The Day, “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” which gives Sid Barrett-era Pink Floyd a run for its money in the Psychedelia department.

“Magic Bus: The Who On Tour” is one of many albums that make up the sub-genre of rock era records, that were compiled for U.S. markets only, and don’t exist in the artist’s country of origin. And there are numerous examples including “Yesterday And Today”,” The Early Beatles” and “The Beatles’ Second Album” by The Beatles, “Meaty, Beaty, Big And Bouncy” and “Odds And Sods” also by The Who, “Kink-Size” and “Kinkdom” by The Kinks, “England’s Newest Hitmakers,” “December’s Children (And Everybody’s)” and “Flowers” by The Rolling Stones, “Black Market Clash” by The Clash, “Taking Liberties” by Elvis Costello and many others.

I’ve named a few, now you name the rest…

Edited: January 28th, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 12/19/12 – Top Albums Of 2012 by Eric Berman

1. Deerhoof: Breakup Song (Polyvinyl)
Emanating from San Francisco (Greg Saunier & John Dieterich) by way of Japan (Satomi Matsuzaki), Deerhoof have released 12 albums of unpredictable music with a sound that would have made Yoko Ono proud and John Lennon jump for joy. It has finally come to pass that the ingredients of Yoko Ono’s recordings circa “Double Fantasy” that were championed by John Lennon have somewhat reached the mainstream with Deerhoof and their brand new release Breakup Song. Part electro-crunch, part sing-song melodies, part twee vocals and completely infectious in the dance rhythm department.

 

 

2. Divine Fits: A Thing Called Divine Fits (Merge)
When I first started playing Divine Fits’ debut album, I immediately gravitated to the songs that featured Britt Daniels on lead vocals. Daniels formed the band with Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade and Sam Brown of New Bomb Turks while on hiatus from his band Spoon. In fact, it was Britt Daniels and the Spoon connection that led me to this album in the first place. What I found was that this record is chock full of terrific glam-infused tunes written by each band member with a heaping helping of ‘80s synth-pop and punk rock thrown in for good measure.

 

 

 

3. Ian Hunter: When I’m President (Slimstyle)
Ian Hunter is making records today that stand ever so tall in a catalog that includes classics by Mott The Hoople and solo staples like his eponymously titled debut album from 1975 and 1979’s classic You’re Never Alone With A Schizophrenic. The 73-year old and his current Rant Band have been on a roll, releasing several killer albums in a row, culminating in this year’s When I’m President. Hunter is supplied with pliant backing by the Rant Band featuring James Mastro (of Bongos fame) on guitar, Steve Holley (Elton John, Paul McCartney) on drums, Paul Page on bass, Mark Bosch on guitar, Andy Burton (Tiny Lights) on piano, Mark Rivera on sax and Andy York (Jason & The Scorchers) on backing vocals. Together they make a MOTTly sound on this solid collection packed with full-on Mott rockers with the brand of Dylanesque wordplay we’ve come to expect from Ian Hunter.

 

 

4. Japandroids: Celebration Rock (Polyvinyl)
Two Guys! No, not the department store from the 1960s, and not The White Stripes or Black Keys either. I’m talkin’ about two Canadian guys, Brian King on guitar and vocals and David Prowse on drums, who brought a firestorm of fury onto these shores with their aptly titled second full-length record Celebration Rock. Having seen these guys in action, I’m here to tell you that once they leave the stage, they leave a cadre of spent bodies with bleeding ears in their wake. And that’s a good thing, if your thing is high-powered, adrenaline producing walls of sound (think Husker Du) with the kind of chant-along hooks that haven’t been heard since U2 last fired up stadiums around the world.

 

 

 

5. Alabama Shakes: Boys And Girls (ATO)
Not your garden variety genre exercise. The Alabama Shakes’ debut record is a fine old-school, STAX-inspired soul record with sturdy songs sung by newcomer powerhouse vocalist Brittany Howard. They’re not just emulating a sound here, it’s totally genuine.

 

 
 

6. Bettye LaVette: Thankful N’ Thoughtful (Anti)
After over 40 years of obscurity, Bettye LaVette has come back, and since 2005 she’s recorded four excellent albums for the Anti record label, mostly consisting of well-chosen covers by her and her producer Craig Street. Her latest, and greatest, features inventive takes of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy,” Bob Dylan’s “Everything Is Broken,” The Pogues’ Dirty Old Town” and Neil Young’s “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere.” It takes a big set of pipes to take on a song like Gnarls’ “Crazy,” but like the other tracks on this record, LaVette makes them all her own.

 

 

 

7. Jimmy Cliff: Rebirth (UME)
It would be easy to report that Rebirth is a return to form for Jimmy Cliff, but A. Cliff never left for me to proclaim he’s returned, and B. since you could always count on Cliff for the kind of sturdy Reggae album he released this year, he remains in very fine form. That said, the state of Reggae is alive and well in the hands of Jimmy Cliff who released one for the ages this year.

 

 

 

 
8. Jack White: Blunderbuss (Third Man)
He may have changed his color schemes from red and white to blue for his first solo record, but this album isn’t a White of a different color musically…and that’s a good thing! Mr. White looks at love from all sides now on Blunderbuss and has come up with a collection featuring biting lyrics and songs that get under your skin and stay there. With a tune stack that includes the White Stripe-ean bluster of “Sixteen Saltines,” the Led Zep folk of “Love Interruption” and the loosey-goosey rockabilly of “I’m Shakin’,” a new color scheme and not one, but two backing bands (one female one male), White has proven that even though he likes to lean on visual themes and shticks, his music speaks the loudest.

 

 

 

9. Frank Ocean: channel Orange (Def Jam)
I saw OFWGKTA perform at the Pitchfork Music Festival several years ago and utterly disliked their set. So when I began hearing the pre-release hype surrounding the album channel Orange by one of the members of Odd Future, I pretty much dismissed it in turn. That, my friends, was a big mistake. Upon finally hearing this record, my ears weren’t prepared for the pure soulful sounds (think Talking Book era Stevie Wonder or the “Superfly” sound of Curtis Mayfield) packed into superb tracks like “Sweet Life,” “Thinkin’ ‘Bout You,” “Super Rich Kids,” and “Crack Rock” which is both ethereal and gritty at the same time. Like too many of the hip hop records that come out today, the songs are surrounded by brief skits that, if anything, take away from the blissful experience of Ocean’s performances throughout this essential record. There’s a reason why this album is on everyone’s top albums of the year list this year (including mine), and the proof surely is in the grooves!

10. Animal Collective: Centipede Hz (Domino)
In a musical world where little is truly ever new, Animal Collective consistently tap into the past to create a sound that’s wholly their own. Like a wigged out Yes or a Beach Boys on acid, the sound of Animal Collective is like nothing else you’ve ever heard. Coming in on the heels of their breakthrough record, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Animal Collective took a left turn away from the bright lights of fame and has offered up a far denser platter that gives it up in spades upon repeated listening.

 

 

 

Runners Up
11. Dr. John: Locked Down (Nonesuch)
12. Ravi Coltrane: Spirit Fiction (Blue Note)
13. dBs: Falling Off The Sky (Bar None)
14. G.O.O.D. Music: Cruel Summer (Kanye West) (Island/Def Jam)
15. Branford Marsalis: 4 MF’s Playin’ Tunes (Marsalis Music)
16. Bob Dylan: Tempest (Columbia)
17. Aimee Mann: Charmer (Superego)
18. Neil Young & Crazy Horse: Americana (Reprise)
19. Leonard Cohen: Old Ideas (Columbia)
20. Grimes: Visions (4AD)

Best Of The Rest
21. Bela Fleck/Marcus Roberts Trio: Across The Imaginary Divide (Rounder)
22. Green Day: Dos (Reprise)
23. Flaming Lips: Flaming Lips & Heady Fwends (Warner Bros.)
24. Redd Kross: Researching The Blues (Merge)
25. Dwight Yoakam: 3 Pears (Reprise)
26. Kelly Hogan: I Like To Keep Myself In Pain (Anti)
27. Rhianna: Unapologetic (Island/Def Jam)
28. M. Ward: A Wasteland Companion (Merge)
29. Various Artists: Chimes Of Freedom – The Songs Of Bob Dylan (Amnesty International)
30. Beach Boys: That’s Why God Made The Radio (Capitol)

Reissues
1. Merle Saunders/Jerry Garcia: Keystone Companions – Complete 1973 Fantasy Recordings (Fantasy)
2. Johnny Cash: The Complete Albums Collection (Columbia)
3. Billy Bragg & Wilco: Mermaid Avenue – The Complete Sessions (Nonesuch)
4. Velvet Underground: Scepter Acetate LP (UME)/Velvet Underground: Verve/MGM Albums (Sundazed)
5. Captain Beefheart: Bat Chain Puller (Zappa Family Trust)
6. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – Catalog Reissues (Hellcat)
7. Carole King: Legendary Demos (Hear Music)
8. The English Beat: Complete Beat (Shout Factory)
9. The Who: Live At Hull
10. Paul McCartney: RAM (Hear Music)

Edited: December 18th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 10/20/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “I’m The Face” by The High Numbers

The Who formed out of the ashes of two bands. Pete Townshend and John Entwistle had a Dixieland Jazz band called The Confederates while Roger Daltry had a blues band called The Detours. One day, Daltry saw Entwistle walking down the street with his bass and asked him to join The Detours. Entwistle joined and brought Townshend along with him. By 1964, and the addition of Keith Moon on drums, the quartet began calling themselves The Who. But for a brief period in 1964, they changed their name to The High Numbers and released their first single aimed at the burgeoning British Mod scene featuring “Zoot Suit” as the A-side and “I’m The Face” on the B-side. “Face” was written by then-manager Peter Meaden and is a total rip of Slim Harpo’s “Got Love If You Want It.” Listening to it now, you can hear how the band’s sound that they termed “Maximum R’n’B” was already fully-formed and wholly their own. Shortly after the single bombed, the band changed their name back to The Who and began to write their own material at the insistence of their new manager, Kit Lambert, who wisely began molding them after The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. But with Keith Moon as their not-so-secret weapon, The Who stood tall amongst their peers, and far above all of the rest in the music scene of the early 1960s.

Edited: October 19th, 2012

Song Of The Day – 11/27/11

Song Of The Day – “5:15″ by The Who

Since it recently received the deluxe reissue treatment, I revisited the Who’s “Quadrophenia” album on Spotify for the first time in years. I’ve got to admit that the album holds up better than most of the other Who albums and this clip from Top Of The Pops just before its 1973 release shows the band when they were indeed a powerhouse. The two discs of demos that augment the reissue not only show how Townshend had the whole thing worked out before he ever delivered it to The Who, but that there are several songs that didn’t make the cut that would’ve pushed the story along in different directions.

Edited: November 26th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 8/21/11

Song Of The Day – “Run Run Run” by The Who

Back when Pete Townshend and company had credibility. Their “A Quick One” album is still killer 45 years later and when played today it still sounds fresh. It’s a shame about Keith and The Ox…it’s more a shame for what they left behind with their faux reunion tours. Does anyone really care about “The Two” anymore?

Edited: August 21st, 2011