From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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
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
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
All songs written by Pete Townshend, except track 6 (John
||John Entwistle(with Pete Townshend in the bridge)
||"They Are All in
||"Blue Red and
||"In a Hand or a
the Waist (Live)"
||Billboard Pop Albums
||UK Chart Albums
|RIAA – U.S.
||10 December 1975
|RIAA – U.S.
||8 February 1993
- The Who
Daltrey – lead vocals
Entwistle – bass guitar, 8-string bass, brass, keyboards, vocals, lead vocals on
bridge in "Success Story"
- Keith Moon –
Townshend – guitars, keyboards, ukulele, accordion, banjo, vocals, lead vocals on "However Much I
Booze" and "Blue, Red, and Grey"
- 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 –
- Bob Ludwig – remastering
- Robert Rosenberg – executive producer
- John Swenson – liner notes
- Chris Walter – photography