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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
Genre Rock
Length 37:19
Language English
Label Polydor Records
Producer Chris Charlesworth, Bill Curbishley, Glyn Johns, Robert Rosenberg
Professional reviews
The Who chronology
The Who by Numbers
Who Are You
Singles from The Who by Numbers
  1. "Squeeze Box"
    Released: October 1975
  2. "Slip Kid"
    Released: 7 August 1976

The Who by Numbers is the seventh album by the 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]



Without the massive structure and ambition of the band's better known works Tommy and Quadrophenia, Pete Townshend's songwriting stands on its own in the sparse and dark The Who by Numbers. Gone are the synthesizers 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: "Hey goodbye all you punks, stay young and stay high / Hand me my checkbook while I crawl off to die." These themes extend from the hopeless refrain of "However Much I Booze" (sung by Townshend, as Daltrey thought it too personal to sing), "There ain't no way out", to the disillusioned question, "How many friends have I really got?"

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.

In an interview 30 Years of Maximum R&B, from Pete Townshend declared "Dreaming from the Waist" and "Sister Disco" (from Who Are You) as his least favorite songs to play on stage. In humorous contrast, John Entwistle, declared in the same series of interviews that "Dreaming from the Waist" was one of his favorite songs to perform live.

The cover was drawn by John Entwistle as he was drawing a cartoon history of The Who.

The Who by Numbers peaked at the number 7 position on the UK album chart and number 8 on the Billboard 200 album chart in the United States.

Track listing

All songs written by Pete Townshend, except track 6 (John Entwistle).

Side One
# Title lead vocals Length
1. "Slip Kid"   Roger Daltrey 4:31
2. "However Much I Booze"   Pete Townshend 5:03
3. "Squeeze Box"   Roger Daltrey 2:42
4. "Dreaming from the Waist"   Roger Daltrey 4:09
5. "Imagine a Man"   Roger Daltrey 4:04
Side Two
# Title lead vocals Length
6. "Success Story"   John Entwistle(with Pete Townshend in the bridge) 3:24
7. "They Are All in Love"   Roger Daltrey 3:03
8. "Blue Red and Grey"   Pete Townshend 2:50
9. "How Many Friends"   Roger Daltrey 4:06
10. "In a Hand or a Face"   Roger Daltrey 3:25
1996 reissue bonus tracks
# Title lead vocals Length
1. "Squeeze Box (Live)"   Roger Daltrey 3:13
2. "Behind Blue Eyes (Live)"   Roger Daltrey 4:39
3. "Dreaming From the Waist (Live)"   Roger Daltrey 4:57

Sales chart performance

Year Chart Position
1975 Billboard Pop Albums 8[2]
1975 UK Chart Albums 7[3]
Year Single Chart Position
1976 "Squeeze Box" Billboard Pop Singles 16
1976 "Squeeze Box" UK Singles Chart 10[3]

Sales certifications

Organization Level Date
RIAA – U.S. Gold 10 December 1975[4]
RIAA – U.S. Platinum 8 February 1993[4]


The Who
Additional musicians
  • Jon Astley – remixing
  • Chris Charlesworth – executive producer
  • Bill Curbishley – executive producer
  • John Entwisle – album art
  • Richard Evans – remaster album art direction, design
  • Glyn Johns – production
  • Bob Ludwig – remastering
  • Robert Rosenberg – executive producer
  • John Swenson – liner notes
  • Chris Walter – photography


External links



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