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Guitar and Pen
See Me, Feel Me
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A Legal Matter
A Word about Copyrights
Liner Notes › Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy
MEATY BEATY BIG & BOUNCY
The album's original title was The Who Looks Back and the
front cover was meant to illustrate that. The children are not The Who, but rather four kids rounded up in 1971
and dressed to look like the young Who. One of them is Who manager Bill Curbishley's brother Paul. Meaty Beaty
Big & Bouncy was first released in the U.S. as Decca DL 79184 and entered the charts there on November
20th, 1971. The first editions included a sheet of liner notes. It reached #11 on the Billboard charts.
When The Who broke their contract with record producer Shel Talmy in 1966, they were sued and ultimately had to
accept an agreement by which Talmy got a percentage of every Who album for five years. This album was released
just after the lapsing of that agreement. The U.K. release was held up because The Who and Bill Curbishley had
failed to clear it with manager Kit Lambert. He tried to have the order of tracks changed but failed because too
many copies had been pressed. The LP was released as Track 2406 006 and first entered the U.K. charts December
3rd going to #9.
Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy was not the first collection
of The Who's greatest hits nor was it the last. In fact, The Who have a plethora of hit collections. Britain has
seen 1968's Direct Hits, 1976's The Story of The Who, 1984's The Singles, 1985's The Who
Collection, 1988's Who's Better Who's Best, the 1994 boxset 30 Years Of Maximum R&B and 1996's
My Generation - The Very Best Of The Who. The last three were also released in the U.S. along with 1968's
Magic Bus - The Who On Tour, 1981's Hooligans, 1983's The Who's Greatest Hits, 1999's The
Who: 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection 2002's The Who: The Ultimate Collection and 2004's
The Who All-Time Greatest Hits. I'm not even going to touch on the many collections from other countries,
which were also sold as imports in the U.S. and U.K. In any case, Meaty Beaty Big and
Bouncy is the one collection that has been judged definitive by rock critics and fans around the globe. Unfortunately,
it has not yet been chosen for remastering. The 1996 collection My Generation - The Very Best Of The Who
is the closest to it in the present catalog.
Pete Townshend: "It can't be beat for straightforward Kink copying.
There is little to say about how I wrote this. It came out of the top of my head when I was 18 and a half. It seems
to be about the frustrations of a young person who is so incoherent and uneducated that he can't state his case
to the bourgeois intellectual blah blah blah. Or, of course, it might be about drugs."
This is a version edited by Shel Talmy Oct. 14, 1965 for the U.S. market from the 3'05 original found on the British My Generation LP. Originally released on that album and despite what Pete says above, subsequently released as a single in the U.K. as Brunswick 05965 on August 12, 1966 to compete against The Who's official release of "I'm A Boy" on the Reaction label. At the time a lawsuit was raging between The Who and their ex-producer Shel Talmy. The single reached #41. The B-side was "The Ox." In the U.S. it was released as Decca 31988 with the B-side "A Legal Matter" in July 1966. It reached #106 in the Billboard charts and #85 in Cash Box. It was rarely performed live until The Who revived it in 1999-2000 and improvised new lyrics for it which can be heard on The Who & Special Guests Live at the Royal Albert Hall video (2000). Not included on My Generation - The Very Best Of The Who. The full-length version is available on the boxset 30 Years Of Maximum R&B while the U.S. edited version is on The Who: The Ultimate Collection. A stereo version is available on My Generation: Deluxe Edition.
Pete also tells that the last words of the song came from an attempt to restrain Keith from singing on this track: "Kit had to make [Keith] promise to lay on the floor in the control room down behind the glass so nobody could see him. So he lay there on the ground all the way through the number. And just at the very last few bars, his little head comes up and goes down again. And I shouted out, 'I saw ya!'" Released in the U.K. as Reaction 591010 on December 3, 1966 with B-side "I've Been Away." It reached #3 there. Released in the U.S. as Decca 32114 March 18, 1967 with B-side "Whiskey Man." It reached #24 in Billboard and #13 in Cash Box making it The Who's first Top-Forty single in the U.S. It was performed live 1967-1970 but rarely thereafter. Track 7 on My Generation - The Very Best Of The Who. (2'11)
Pete Townshend: "The real production masterpiece in the Who/Lambert coalition was, of course, 'I Can See For Miles.' The version here is not the mono, which is a pity because the mono makes the stereo sound like The Carpenters. We cut the track in London at CBS Studios and brought the tapes to Gold Star studios in Hollywood to mix and master them. Gold Star has the nicest sounding echo in the world. And there is just a little of that on the mono. Plus, a touch of home-made compressor in Gold Star's cutting room. I swoon when I hear the sound. The words, which aging senators have called 'drug oriented,' are about a jealous man with exceptionally good eyesight. Honest."
"I Can See For Miles" was first released in the U.S. as Decca 32206 and hit the charts on October 7,
1967 reaching #9 on the Billboard charts, the highest ranking for any Who single. In Cash Box, it
went to #8. The B-side was "Mary Anne With The Shaky Hands." In the
U.K., it was released as Track 604011 on October 14, 1967 with the B-side
"Someone's Coming." Pete was certain it would make it to #1, but it only reached
#10, tieing with "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" as their poorest British chart performance
to date. It caused Townshend to undergo a complete lack of confidence in himself as a writer of singles. He soon
after turned to the idea of a full-scale opera. Claiming it was too complex to perform live with just one guitar,
bass and drums, The Who stopped performing this live after a few dates in late 1967, reviving it only after Keith's
death when the band was augmented by keyboards and horns. Track 9 on My Generation - The Very Best Of The Who.
The recording was filmed for Swedish television. Released in the U.K. as Track 604002 on April 22, 1967, it reached #4. Released in the U.S. as Decca 32156 on June 24, 1967. The U.S. radio stations, unlike the U.K. pirate stations, objected to the lyrics and it stalled at #51 in Billboard and #60 in Cash Box. "Doctor, Doctor" was the B-side in both countries. Track #8 on My Generation - The Very Best Of The Who. (2'45)
Released as Brunswick 05944 with the B-side "Shout and Shimmy" on October 29, 1965. It reached #2 on the British charts.It charted there again in 1988 (#68) and 1996 (#31). Released in the U.S. as Decca 31877 with B-side "Out In The Streets" on November 20, 1965 reaching #74 on the Billboard charts and #99 on the Cash Box charts. The set closer for most of their Sixties career where it would be climaxed with an instrument smashup. Track #3 on My Generation - The Very Best Of The Who. A stereo and an instrumental version is available on My Generation: Deluxe Edition.
Released in the U.K. as Track 604036
on March 21, 1970 and reaching #19 in the charts. Released in the U.S. as Decca
732729; it hit the charts there on April 11, 1970 reaching #44 in Billboard and #30 in Cash Box.
And it was performed at a few dates in the U.S., in 1970 and a few times in 2000. B-side in both countries was
"Here For More." Track #12 on My Generation - The Very Best Of The Who. (3'22)
Released as Brunswick 05935 in the U.K. May 21, 1965 with B-side "Daddy Rolling Stone"; it reached #10.
Released in the U.S. as Decca 31801 June 5, 1965 with B-side "Anytime You Want Me"; it failed to chart.
Rarely played live past 1965 until it was revived in 1999. Track #2 on My Generation - The Very Best Of The
Released as a single ahead of the release of Tommy. In the U.K. it was Track 604027 and was released on March 7, 1969 reaching #4 on the charts. The U.S. issue, Decca 732465, came out March 22, 1969 and got to # 19 in Billboard, #15 in Cash Box. It was The Who's first single issued in stereo. In both countries, the B-side was "Dogs Part II." Track #11 on My Generation - The Very Best Of The Who.
Originally released on the first Who album My Generation and subsequently in the U.K. on March 7, 1966 to compete against The Who's single "Substitute" which was their contract-breaking release. A legal matter, indeed! It managed to get only to #32. The B-side was "Instant Party" a/k/a "Circles." (the Shel Talmy produced version). "A Legal Matter" was Pete's first lead vocal with The Who. In the U.S., in addition to the album, it appeared on the B-side of "The Kids Are Alright." Not included on My Generation - The Very Best Of The Who. It is presently available on the boxset 30 Years Of Maximum R&B, The Who: The Ultimate Collection and stereo and mono versions appear on My Generation: Deluxe Edition.
It was released on the U.K. LP A Quick One (December 3, 1966) and the U.S. LP Happy Jack (May 1967). The closest it ever got to a single was as the B-side of "Whiskey Man" in Japan and on the CD single of "My Generation" in 1996. Track #6 on My Generation - The Very Best Of The Who. A true stereo version is available on the U.S. collection The Who: The Ultimate Collection and recent issues of A Quick One.
Pete Townshend: "When I wrote 'Magic Bus,' LSD wasn't even invented as far as I knew. Drug songs and veiled references to drugs were not part of The Who image. If you were in The Who and took drugs, you said, 'I take drugs,' and waited for the fuzz to come. We said it but they never came. We very soon got bored with drugs. No publicity value. Buses, however! Just take another look at Decca's answer to an overdue Tommy; The Who, Magic Bus, On Tour. Great title, swinging presentation. Also a swindle as far as insinuating that the record was live. Bastards. This record is what that record should have been. It's The Who at their early best. Merely nippers with big noses and small genitals trying to make the front page of The Daily News."
This song was originally written by Pete sometime in late 1965
and was mentioned by manager Chris Stamp in the Christmas 1965 issue of
Melody Maker as a possible follow-up single to "My Generation." The Who did
not, however, get around to recording it, so "Magic Bus" first appeared when the group The Pudding released it
as a single in April 1967. It failed to chart. Pete recalled in 1969: "It was recorded at a time when we had just returned
from our first trip to America having been conned left, right and center and no one really wanted to make a single
except Kit Lambert whose job was to see that we did. We all got absolutely paralytic drunk one lunch time
and by the time we arrived at the studio no one cared what we did. 'Magic Bus' was just a lot of fun -- Keith
bashing about and 'Jes' [Jess Roden] from the Alan Bown Set singing in that Stevie Winwood-type voice on the record." According
to engineer Damon Lyon-Shaw, this happened at the May 29, 1968 sessions and the recording was taken and never returned
by Kit Lambert.
It was by a group who later wrote to thank me for saying nice things about their record in the feature. The article is set up so that pop stars hear other people's records without knowing who they are by. They say terrible things about their best mates' latest and it all makes the pop scene even snottier and more competitive. Great. The record I said nice things about wasn't a hit, despite an electrifying riff. I pinched it, we did it, you bought it."
Released as Reaction 591001 on March
4, 1966 with B-side "Circles" but was soon withdrawn when producer Shel Talmy
threatened an injunction and reissued a week later with the B-side now cleverly retitled "Instant Party"
as a tribute to the same-named 1962 album by The Everly Brothers. Talmy's injunction still held, so this
single was withdrawn and issued with the non-Who B-side "Waltz For A Pig." Despite all this, it still managed to climb the charts to #5. In the
U.S. it was issued as Atco 45-6409 on April 2, 1966 in a shorter version (2'58) with the line "I look all
white but my dad was black" replaced with "I try going forward but my feet walk back." (This alternate
was also issued on Polydor in Canada and South Africa). The new vocal was almost certainly recorded at the same time as the
original vocal. This version has appeared on a bonus CD included with the first issues of The Who: The Ultimate
Collection. The U.S. single failed to chart, was re-released by Atco as 45-6509 in August 1967 and again failed
to chart. The B-side was "Waltz For A Pig." "Substitute" was re-released as a single in the
U.K. on 7 October 1976 where, a decade after its original release, it went to #7. It almost ties with "I
Can't Explain" as The Who's most-often performed song live. Track #4 on My Generation - The Very Best Of
The original single was produced by Kit Lambert and engineered by Paul Clay at IBC Studios July 31-Aug. 1, 1966. Released in the U.K. as Reaction 591004 on August 26, 1966 and charting at #2 (#1 in Melody Maker). The U.S. release, on Decca 32058, was delayed until December 10, 1966. It failed to chart. The version on Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy was intended for an early version of the A Quick One album and has been issued on CD only on the U.S./Canadian Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy. An edited mono version also appears on a bonus disc included with the first run of The Who: The Ultimate Collection.
ADDITIONAL NON-ALBUM SINGLES
This act of rock 'n' roll solidarity started after the 28 June 1967 guilty verdict against Mick Jagger for drug possession. That night Pete had The Who's secretary call John, who was then aboard the QEII on his honeymoon, to get permission for Pete to play bass in his place on an emergency support single. (John, when called for an emergency message, thought someone in his family had died. Told what it was, he said "The Who can release LSD into the nation's water supply for all I f***ing care!") The next morning Pete, Roger and Keith went into De Lane Lea Studios in London to record this. That same day Keith Richards was given a guilty verdict for cannabis possession. Richards was given a year in jail and Jagger 3 months. The record was rush produced by Kit Lambert and released as Track 604006 as a double A-side with "Under My Thumb" on June 30, 1967. On the same day, Jagger and Richards were released on bail. Widespread protests over the severity of the sentences led to their overturn on appeal. The Who's single reached #44 in the charts and they never recorded another Stones single. The single was also released in Europe and Japan but not in the U.S. until Two's Missing in 1987. "The Last Time," on the reissued CD's, appears only on the boxset 30 Years Of Maximum R&B.
John Entwistle: "The worst thing I ever did, that bass solo. They decided that they wanted to repeat the bass solo idea from 'My Generation,' but 'Call Me Lightning' wasn't the right tempo for a bass solo, so it had to be simplified. I thought it was crap."
"Call Me Lightning" was played, along with "I Can't Explain," for producer Shel Talmy as part of their audition for a recording contract in November 1964. It might also have been in The Who's set lists at that time. Pete, suffering in 1968 from writer's block caused by the chart disappointment of "I Can See For Miles," dusted off the three year-old track to give The Who a new single to promote during their early 1968 North American tour. At the time it was decried for not being "progressive" but, as with The Beatles' "Lady Madonna" and The Rolling Stones' "Jumpin' Jack Flash," it marked a return to basic rock & roll values after psychedelia. Released in the U.S. as Decca 32288, it entered the charts on March 3, 1968 reaching #40 in Billboard and #38 in Cash Box. The B-side was an early mix of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." "Call Me Lightning" was also released as an A-side in Europe, Japan and Australia; in the U.K. it was the B-side of "Dogs." On the 1990's reissue CD's, this appears only on the boxset 30 Years Of Maximum R&B. A bizarre fake stereo version is on The Who: The Ultimate Collection.
Released in the U.K. as Track 2094012 October 15, 1971 with B-side "When I Was A Boy." It reached #16 in the charts. Also released as a single throughout the world except for the U.S. where it wasn't released until the Hooligans album in 1981. Track 15 on My Generation - The Very Best Of The Who.
Later that year, the song
was selected as the anthem of The United States Council For World Affairs. It
has been said that their is a version running three minutes longer than this in
The Who's vaults. Track 17 on My Generation - The Very Best Of The Who. This version ends with
a flute-like synthesizer part that was not on the original release. The Who: The Ultimate Collection has
the original version. Pete's demo was released on his 1999 album Lifehouse Chronicles. According to R. Rowley,
the beginning is played on a combination of an ARP synthesizer and a Lowrey organ. Click
here for more details.
It was played live during 1972 and was revived a few times after that reaching full prominence in The Who Canon during the 2000 tour after reviews of Pete's 1999 boxset Lifehouse Chronicles (which has Pete's demo version) noted the song seemed to forecast the rise of the Internet. On the 1990's reissued CD's, this appears only on the boxset 30 Years Of Maximum R&B where the beginning is crossfaded with the ending of "Join Together." According to R. Rowley the background music is Pete playing his guitar through his ARP 2600 synthesizer. To find out more, click here.
If you want to contact me about something on this page, click on my name. I want corrections! Brian Cady