Saturday, 1 May 2010

The Who Discography

If the rumours are true, then The Who played their last show in March. Then again, these rumours have been circulating ever since the band reformed "permanently" in 1996. The Who were one of those bands that I was desperate to see reform, and after managing to miss their 1996 Hyde Park comeback due to "extreme illness", I finally got to see them at Earls Court later the same year, and at Wembley Arena in 1997. On that occasion, it was Pete Townshend's birthday, and when Roger Daltrey announced this from the stage, Townshend seemed less than impressed, and looked as though he was going to smash his guitar over Daltrey's head! And that tension, that energy, that sheer agressiveness, was what made The Who such an exhilerating band. In 1970, the band's on stage roar was captured on what remains the greatest live LP ever made - "Live At Leeds". So, to celebrate either the band's demise or the 40th anniversary of this LP, this month we look at the band's discography from 1965 onwards.

My Generation

After a one-off 45 on the Fontana label as "The High Numbers", The Who signed to Brunswick and released their debut LP, "My Generation", in 1965. The LP remains the "odd one out" as far as their back catalogue is concerned - not only was it the only Who LP to be released on Brunswick, but various legal issues prevented it from being reissued during most of the 80s and 90s.

In the States, the LP was retitled "The Who Sings My Generation", and came in a different (but very iconic) sleeve depicting the band in front of Big Ben. As often happened with US LPs, there were other changes as well - "The Kids Are Alright" appeared in an edited form (later issued as a 7" in certain countries), whilst the band's cover of "I'm A Man" who removed due to it's 'suggestive nature'. In it's place came "Instant Party", the B-side of the UK 7" "A Legal Matter".

By 1966, the band had signed to Reaction, and decided to re-record "Instant Party", producing the new version themselves. This version was called "Circles", and was to be the B-side of the band's next single, "Substitute". However, the legal issues started to surface, and the band were told that they could use the new recording, as long as it's original title was used. The band agreed, the initial pressings of "Substitute" were withdrawn, and a new "Substitute"/"Instant Party" 7" was issued. However, the legal problems didn't go away, and the band were now told they could not use the track at all. All of the Brunswick material had been produced by Shel Talmy who owned all the master tapes, which precluded the band from using a Brunswick-era song on the flip - and as the band had nothing else ready for use, "Substitute" was subsequently issued with a track by The Graham Bond Organization on the B-side - the first and last Who 45 to be issued with a non-Who flipside.

Brunswick contiued to issue Who singles even after the band had defected to Reaction - the A and B sides, however, were simply recordings that were already on the first LP, so it's difficult to work out what the label were trying to achieve, apart from fleecing the fans. Eventually, Brunswick stopped issuing Who 45's, "Circles" got the green light to appear on the "Ready Steady Who" EP issued on Reaction in 1966, but Talmy still had the masters - this explains why, when the band issued the retrospective "30 Years Of Maximum R&B" boxset in 1994, all of the material included was remixed - with the exception of the Brunswick tunes!

In 1979, Virgin acquired the rights to reissue the UK version of the LP. They did quite a nice job, even including a "Virgin" logo in the Brunswick typeface in the top right on the front cover, as per the original. In 1981, the band's then label, Polydor, reissued the LP again as part of the career-spanning "Phases" box set, which included all of the band's albums issued up until that point. But that was it - "My Generation" remained out of print for over 20 years, although in the US, MCA issued the record on CD, despite not having access to the master tapes either.

By the turn of the century, the legal issues were resolved (it was really down to Talmy and former Who manager Kit Lambert having a "falling out"), and it was Universal who now had the rights to reissue the record. A Deluxe Edition version of the album was issued in 2002, again based around the UK pressing. The 1st disc had the original UK stereo mix, with a series of period "non album" tracks - the band's debut 45 as "The Who", "I Can't Explain" (which according to Wikipedia, "lacks tambourine" - but I can't tell the difference), it's accompanying B-side "Bald Headed Woman", the B-side of "Anyway Anyhow Anywhere", "Daddy Rolling Stone" (but not, for some reason, the A-side), as well as "Instant Party". However, the mix here is completely missing all of the French Horn parts played by John Entwistle - instant rarity time!

Disc 2 tends to be more along the lines of "bits and pieces" - outtakes, other B-sides, as well as the mono single mixes of "A Legal Matter" and "My Generation". The single mixes are actually quite common, and it's actually the stereo versions of these songs on disc 1 that might floor first-time listeners, as Townshend's guitar over-dubs, which are a significant part of both 45s, are absent from the stereo mixes. "Anyway Anyhow Anywhere" appears on disc 2, but in alternate form - the mix here was included, apparently by accident, on a French EP in 1966.

If you want to investigate "My Generation" further, then I suggest you check out White Fang's Who site, which gives a fairly in-depth breakdown of the differing mixes on the different reissues across the years - you will also get to learn about the world of "wide" and "narrow" stereo mixes...something I'd never heard of until I found this site!


After a handful of singles on Reaction, the Who started to release material on an affiliate label, Track, but not before the release of their second LP, "A Quick One", in 1966 (retitled "Happy Jack" in the US, where the single of the same name was included in place of the band's cover of "Heatwave"). The Track imprint eventually got consumed by Polydor in the mid 70s, and the final four Who studio albums before their split in 1983 were issued on Polydor.

In the mid 1990s, all of the albums issued during this period were reissued, each having been completely remixed for the reissues - a fairly unusual step. For albums that were previously the length of a vinyl LP, the reissue would include (where possible) enough alternate material to fill up a whole CD, via the inclusion of B-sides, demos, and unreleased songs. For some of the latter period albums, where the band had stopped "doing" B-sides, the extra material was restricted more-or-less to unissued live recordings, but with only a handful of such songs on each release - the reissue of 1975's "The Who By Numbers", even with it's bonus material, struggled to breach the 50-minute mark.

For the double albums "Tommy" and "Quadrophenia", there was no space on a single CD to add bonus material, so these albums were simply remixed, and included no extra tracks. "Tommy" was notable for featuring a very different version of "We're Not Gonna Take It", but most of the other remixes on this album, and indeed on all of the other ressues, are quite subtle (of the ones I've heard) - again, the White Fang site is where to go for further advice. However, some are notably different. "Sell Out", a genius LP even without bonus tracks, was simply even better with the extra tracks. The last song on the original LP, with all the band members chanting "Track Records" until it fades out, was placed AFTER the bonus tracks - and was a different take at that. It is also worth pointing out that "Rael" featured a previously chopped-out section in the first verse, whilst the clarity on tracks like "Our Love Was" simply sounds that bit sharper. "Run Run Run", the opener on "A Quick One", is also a longer version than that widely available on the reissues that surfaced during the 80s.

The reissue campaign also includes the band's 1974 odds and sods collection, called, er, "Odds And Sods", and the aforementioned "Live At Leeds". The former, as well as including extra songs, was re-sequenced so it appeared in chronological order, whilst "Live At Leeds" was expanded to give more of a "rounded view" of a typical Who gig at the time. As good as the original was, it was a bit strange - half a version of "Substitute", three covers, a prog-rock style version of "My Generation" and a ramshackle take on the already slightly shabby "Magic Bus". The reissue included not only the set opener that evening (the not-yet-released-but-due-to-be-a-B-side, "Heaven And Hell"), but also a couple of songs from "Tommy" - only fair considering the band played virtually the whole album that night.

"Live At Leeds", when originally released, was taken from tapes that were actaully faulty - there were crackles on the masters, but the decision was taken to leave the crackles in, giving the album a "bootleg" feel. This also explains why the front cover was so "low standard", and why the labels on the vinyl issue featured hand written song titles. However, for the 1995 release, the crackles were removed.

Post-millennium, and several of the "Classic" Who albums were given the 2-disc Deluxe treatment, a la "My Generation". In essence, the albums concerned were everything from "Sell Out" to "Who's Next". "Live At Leeds" was the first album to get the "Deluxe" treatment (and was technically a US only import at first), and benefited not only from remixed sound (again), but a whole slab of extra tracks - just like the 1995 version, the tracks were sequenced in the order in which they were played. Sort of. The decision was taken to put all of the "Tommy" material on one disc, and the "non-Tommy" stuff on the other, despite the fact that the "Tommy" material was played midway through the gig. So, if you play the Deluxe edition in order, it's actually not the order in which it was played on the night. I have also heard a rumour that the "non-Tommy" material the band played that night exceeded 80 minutes in length, and that at least one song played and taped that night is missing from the "Deluxe" edition due to a lack of space - does anybody know if this is true?

All of the "Deluxe" editions were done as 2-disc sets, so "Tommy" got bonus tracks this time around. "Sell Out" featured the mono mix on one CD, and the stereo on the other, with extra tracks on each disc. "Who's Next", rather strangely, neglected to include some of the bonus tracks from the 90s reissue, but did include different alternate takes of other songs instead, with Polydor/Universal choosing to put a live gig from the period on CD2 instead.


Despite the death of Keith Moon in 1978, The Who carried on, although it took Daltrey, Entwistle and Townshend a while before agreeing to look for a new drummer. Ex-Faces/Small Faces drummer Kenney Jones was recruited, and the band belatedly toured the "Who Are You" album in 1979. After a pair of studio albums were cut with Jones in 1981/82 respectively, the band set out on what was billed as their last ever tour of the US at the tail end of 1982 (a tour which was captured, eventually, on the 1984 live album "Who's Last").

However, it seems that the band were considering a future as a studio only band, as at least one jam session was conducted in 1983. However, the session came to nothing, Townshend decided he couldn't carry on, and quit the band. The remaining trio decided not to carry on without him, and The Who were no more. But in 1985, like many others, the band agreed to get together again for the "Live Aid" gig - despite the fact that, according to reports, Daltrey and Townshend had not spoken to each other for the previous two years. In what some might think was an "act of God", as soon as the band charged into the opening bars of their first number, the TV transmission cut out - bad luck, or the mighty power of The Who proving too much for the BBC?

The Who promptly split again post-Live Aid, but they did not fade into the background. In 1988, to mark the 25th annversary of the formation of The High Numbers (strange how you can find an anniversary for just about anything), a best-of called "Who's Better Who's Best" was released, with a VHS version featuring promos and selected live clips. Townshend soon after was approached with a view to reform the band for a tour the following year to celebrate the 25th anniversary of The High Numbers sole 45, "I'm The Face", and apparently agreed because he "needed the cash". However, Townshend decided that if The Who were to play again, then they should do something special, and given it was 20 years since the release of "Tommy", the band decided to play the album in it's entirety at the start of the set, with additional musicians in an attempt to re-create the "big sound" of the orginal LP. At certain shows, guest singers were also invited to sing parts of the characters on the record.

For the reunion, the expanded band Townshend put together consisted of musicians who had worked with him during his solo career. As such, Kenney Jones was not back in the line up - indeed, The Who have not officially been a four piece ever since. This, it seems, was also the reason why Townshend played only acoustic guitar during the tour, as his "band" already had a lead guitarist - although another explanation he gave for playing acoustic was that "I like it". A further explanation was that he was concerned about damaging his hearing if he played an electric. The set lists, once the "Tommy" material had been played, was quite eclectic. Certain songs from Townshend's solo career were played (including "Dig", from the "Iron Man" LP - Daltrey and Entwistle had actually guested on the studio version, making that LP the genuine point at which the Who reformed), whilst the big hits were sometimes omitted to make way for personal favourites, such as "The Real Me". Don't quote me, but I am led to believe that even "My Generation" was dropped from several shows.

The following year, a live LP culled from the 89 tour was issued ("Join Together") whilst a live video, "Live Tommy", was eventually also issued which included not only footage of the "Tommy" material, but the hours worth of "non-Tommy" material that the band played afterwards. The band didn't quite split up again, but merely went quiet. In 1991, the band reconvened to record a cover of Elton John's "Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)" for a tribute LP, and this turned out to be the most recent track to be included on the "Maximum R&B" box when it was issued some three years later.

In 1995, rumours began to circulate that the band were going to reform for the Glastonbury Festival - the sunday lineup showed a performance by "Roger Daltrey & Friends". But it turned out to be exactly that - Daltrey, friends, and no Entwistle or Townshend. A year later, Townshend was approached by promoter Harvey Goldsmith to see if he could contribute to a huge show Goldsmith was planning to put on in Hyde Park in London. Townshend admitted he wanted to do a "musical" version of Quadrophenia, along the lines of the "expanded line up" version of "Tommy" that the band toured in 1989. Posters were duly printed up advising that the show would include a performance of "Pete Townshend's Quadrophenia". As Townshend started to piece the show together, he realised he needed a singer and a bass player - and it seemed obvious to invite Daltrey and Entwistle along. The Who were back. The Hyde Park gig was a big deal - despite the fact that The Who played mid afternoon, their appearance overshadowed everybody else who played; a friend of mine who went said he stayed to watch Eric Clapton, but after he opened with "Layla", he figured Clapton's performance could only get worse, and that having also seen The Who that afternoon, there was no point in staying around any longer!

Although the Hyde Park show was supposed to be a one off, the band had agreed to put on the show at a set of selected US dates. This then led to a handful of dates in the UK at Christmas, and more shows in 1997. However, once these shows were over, it was all quiet on The Who front once more - until the band returned in 1999 to perform a series of charity gigs in the US and UK. For these shows, the set lists returned to what a typical Who gig used to be - there was no performance of an entire LP this time around, although the band did perform a sizeable chunk of material recorded for (but not necessarily released on) 1971's "Who's Next", the band's other masterpiece aside from "Sell Out".

In the years that followed, The Who became something of a touring-only band, although there were discussions about making a new LP. Live CDs from these shows were issued, including the release of a handful of songs that had not appeared in studio form on a Who album, and the second of these CDs, "Live At The Royal Albert Hall", would turn out to be Entwistle's epitaph - he passed away in 2002, with the CD being issued the following year. Most of the material on it was from 2000, but a "bonus" CD EP was included with four tracks from his last ever show in 2002. The new two-man Who continued to tour and release "web only" live CDs, before finally including two new songs on a 2004 Singles Box Set. In 2006, the band released their first "proper" album since 1982's "It's Hard" - "Endless Wire" was regarded as a stunning return, and the band now had new material to slot into their live set. Meanwhile, there have continued to be additions to the back catalogue, with the likes of "Live At Kilburn", filmed way back in 1977, only now getting a release in the 21st century. Given that "Endless Wire" is now an "old" Who album, the band's most recent live tours have seen them freeing up the set list again - that so-called final show from March 2010 saw the band play the whole of "Quadrophenia" from start to finish - with no encore.

More Odds And Sods

Although the band's discography technically consists of eleven LPs, the band released two "one-offs" in 1979. The first of these was "The Kids Are Alright" - a soundtrack to a film about the band, of the same name. Originally, the film was being conceived to tie in with the 15th anniversary of "I'm The Face", but following Keith Moon's death, it doubled up as a tribute to the charismatic sticksman. The LP featured a couple of tracks that were not in the film, although one of these, a live version of "My Wife" recorded in Kilburn, is now widely available on the aforementined "Kilburn" DVD. The other track, a live take of "I Can See For Miles" on the Smothers Brothers show, is (supposedly) unavailable anywhere else, although again, according to Wikipedia, this performance is over-dubbed with a studio version of the track, and appeared on the "Who's Better Who's Best" video - I believe this is the same "mix" as the one on this LP.

1979 also saw "Quadrophenia" made into a film, and an accompanying soundtrack was issued. The Who songs included were a mix of old and new, with some of the older tracks being remixed for this release. The original LP included a number of non-Who tracks as well, but a 1993 CD pressing included Who/High Numbers material only.

Also worth a mention is the 1975 film version of "Tommy", which is often listed in Who discographies as a Who album. To be honest, it's not - only a handful of songs feature the Who both performing and singing, although they do provide "back up" for other singers on several occasions. There are also one or two "solo" tracks by the likes of Keith Moon, but if you do need to own this, I would suggest you try and track down the original film, rather than just buy the soundtrack.

Singles and Compilations

Given that The Who had effectively shut up shop by the time multi-formatting became big business where singles were concerned, the band's 45s discography is relatively simple. Up until 1977, all Who singles, in the main, were NOT housed in picture sleeves. The only ones that were, were the "Ready Steady Who" EP and the first pressings of "Won't Get Fooled Again". Track releases were odd in that Track didn't have a company sleeve, but the singles were simply issued in plain die cut bags, although different colours were used for different releases. The first 45 to be issued in a non-limited picture sleeve was 1978's "Who Are You", catalogue number WHO1.
If you want to try and get all the Who singles on some kind of singles format, a good starting point is to get the 2004 "Singles Box Set Vol 1", which, despite it's title, has not spawned a Volume 2. Consisting mostly of "classic" singles, rather than the first 12, it's based around UK pressings but in mostly exotic sleeves. Only the repressing of "Substitute" looks like it's original UK release, and all of the other singles in the set except one are housed in foreign sleeves (although the "Won't Get Fooled Again" sleeve is similar to the limited UK one).

Who aficionados, however, will tell you that musically, the set has it's faults. In some cases, the original mono mixes have not been used where they should have been, but the biggest error is that "Substitute" is coupled with the 'Shel Talmy' version of "Instant Party" as opposed to the 'Who' version of "Circles" - I can only assume that this was done to placate people upset by being given the "French Horn-less" mix of the track that appeared on the Deluxe "My Generation".

What makes the discography more interesting, is the fact that, up until the mid 70s The Who were very adept at putting non-album B-sides on their singles, or released stand-alone A sides. As such, the various "Greatest Hits" sets that the band have put out are not just a collection of tracks that are otherwise available on album. There are plenty of Best-ofs around, but some are more worthy of a mention than others. 1971's "Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy" was not the first compilation, but is one of the more famous. It pretty much includes all of the band's A-sides issued up to that point, but is notable for featuring a previously unissued take of "I'm A Boy". Original vinyl pressings also included an extended version of "Magic Bus". Subsequent CD pressings replaced this with the standard 7" version. There are also two different sleeve designs in existence, one with the band sitting on a flight of steps, the other with the band looking out of a window.

2002's "Ultimate Collection" fills in most of the gaps left by "Meaty". Aimed at the US audience, it includes singles that were issued as stand alone A-sides in the 70s, such as "Let's See Action" and "Join Together", as well as the US only "Call Me Lightning" (only a B-side in the UK, appearing on the flip of "Dogs"). The version of "I'm A Boy" on this set is the normal 7" mix. The album was a double-CD affair, meaning that there is a bit of padding with album tracks to fill up both discs. Initial pressings came with a 3rd CD of 'rarities' - the US single mix of "Substitute" with different lyrics was included, as was the "UK Single Mix" of "Magic Bus", which sounds fairly similar the US one. The UK edition, as well as being housed in a different sleeve, included some bonus live CD-Rom material, with at least one track still being unavailable anywhere else, as far as I can make out. The US edition was notable for housing the 3rd CD in it's own card sleeve that was shrinkwrapped to the front of the set, but featured no CD-Rom material, and also removed some of the album tracks from the other two CDs.

For some of the stray a-sides, like "Relay", and the b-sides, Polydor released a pair of "Rarities" albums in 1983 that covered most of the missing material. Each LP was devoted to a particular period of the band's career, with the first album covering 66-68, and the second material from the 70s. The first LP therefore had all five tracks from the "Ready Steady Who" EP, both sides of the "The Last Time"/"Under My Thumb" and "Dogs" 7"'s, the US only 'alternate' take of "Mary Anne With The Shaky Hands" (issued on the flip of "I Can See For Miles"), plus five other B-sides from the period. The second LP featured all three stand alone A-sides the band issued from 1972 and 1973, plus all of the B-sides they issued from 1970 to 1974.

In 1985, Polydor issued "Who's Missing", a further rarities set aimed to fill in some more of the gaps - b-sides from the Brunswick era, and a previously unissued version of "Bargain" taped in 1971. In 1987, the brilliantly titled "Two's Missing" featured more rarities, such as the "Pinball Wizard" b-side "Dogs Part 2", and more live material from 71 - including a live version of a track called "Going Down", of which not even a studio version was released. Again, these sets were released with an eye on the US market, so songs that had been issued in the UK but not the US were included ("Heatwave", "I'm A Man") but the mixes on these sets of material that had been released in the UK are, at times, different - again, check out the White Fang site which has a page devoted to 'rare mixes' and how to find them. Effectively, by getting hold of these four "rarities" sets, a couple of greatest hits packages, and any of the 1990s/DeluxeEdition reissues of the band's LP's, they should provide you with everything the band originally released between 1965 and 1982.

Even before the band's split, some singles had started to be "reissued". The first 45 to appear twice was "Substitute", issued by Polydor in 1976 to tie in with the "Story Of The Who" compilation. It appeared on both 7" and 12" in a Polydor bag, but the label design was different for each format. Unlike the Reaction original, it included two B-sides, "I'm A Boy" and "Picures Of Lily". WHO2 was the catalogue number of a 1979 7" that was not strictly a reissue, but "Long Live Rock" dated from 1974's "Odds And Sods" - the reason for it's release was that the track was used over the end credits of the "Kids Are Alright" film. WHO3 was a reissue of "5.15", to tie in with the "Quadrophenia Soundtrack" LP, whilst 1983 saw the "Ready Steady Who" EP reissued in it's original picture cover. The first "true" posthumous Who 7" was 1984's "Twist And Shout", lifted from the "Who's Last" LP.

In 1988, to tie in with the "Who's Better..." set, "My Generation" was re-released, and was housed in a picture sleeve this time around. The single was issued on various formats, with slightly different sleeves for each, but the B-sides on all were just previously released Who recordings. More interesting was the reissue of "Won't Get Fooled Again" - issued in a different sleeve to the 1971 original, the 12" and CD editions featued previously unreleased live versions of "Boney Maronie" and "Dancing In The Street", both taped in the 70s. Whilst "Boney Maronie" appeared in remixed and edited form on the "Maximum R&B" box, this version of "Dancing In The Street" remains exclusive to this single.

In 1990, a live version of "Join Together" was issued to plug the LP of the same name, whilst in 1996, "My Generation" was issued again after it's use in an advert, which then resulted in the release of another best of called "My Generation - The Very Best Of The Who". The 7" was pressed on yellow vinyl, backed with an at-the-time unreleased version of "Pinball Wizard" taped at the "Live At Leeds" show. This track has subsequently been issued on the 'Deluxe' "Live At Leeds", albeit in remixed form. The CD Single added a "Deep Love Remix" of the a-side, which whilst intersting, is obviously terrible - if it ain't broke, etc. A 12" promo, with, confusingly, another WHO1 catalogue number, features three extra mixes that have never been commercially released.

In more recent years, even after the release of "The Ultimate Collection", Universal obviously thought it wasn't Ultimate enough, and have issued several more best of's. 2004's "Then And Now" included the two new tracks from the Singles boxset - although edited versions of both tracks had been issued on a promo, the versions here were the same as those on the box set. "Then And Now" was later re-issued post-"Endless Wire" to include a song from that LP. Intriguingly, it was not the one song issued as a commercial single in the UK, but a track called "It's Not Enough", which was only issued as a promo. The actual single "from" the album was a lengthy track known as "Wire & Glass" - issued before the album was released, it was a mini-opera consisting of edited highlights of several tracks from "Endless Wire". In 2009, "Then And Now" was issued as a 3 CD box set including a CD reissue of the "BBC Sessions" and a DVD reissue of "Who's Better Who's Best" - with each disc being housed in it's own individual picture sleeve. The BBC album had been released some years previously, and featured recordings made by the BBC during the 60s and 70s, incuding a 60s-era rendition of "Dancing In The Street". "Who's Better Who's Best" had extra tracks in comparison to it's 1988 VHS counterpart, but seemed to include a different mix - I am convinced that during the performance of "Won't Get Fooled Again", Townshend's "Do Ya!" shout in the middle has been edited out...

Most recently, 2009 saw the release of "Greatest Hits", with a double-disc edition also released called "Greatest Hits And More". The "And More" disc is full of live tracks - despite a claim that most of these tracks had been released before, they had only been released on iTunes before, so this LP is an essential purchase if, like me, you think iTunes is evil. The album is notable for featuring several tracks from the Hull University gig from February 1970 - this show was taped with a view to releasing a live album, but when listening back to the tapes, all of the bass parts were missing, so another gig taped at Leeds was used instead...the rest, as they say, is history. Still, I'm not sure why after all these years the Hull performance is now deemed to be fit for release - has somebody added these bass parts on, or were they not all missing in the first place?

The Discography

What follows is a beginners guide to collecting The Who. I have split it up into sections to try and make it clearer. For the original albums, I have listed at least one of the original pressings for all the releases, whilst for the albums issued between 1965 and 1973, the list will also show at least of the reissues that was available during the 80s, as these are likely to be easier to get hold of than the originals if you want a version without all the bonus tracks. I have then listed the 1990s reissues, and where relevant, any "Deluxe" reissues, on the basis that the mixes on the originals are different to the 90s reissues, which are also different to the Deluxe Editions!

For the singles, I have listed all of the band's original singles issued between 1965 and 1984, and from 2006. Where a 45 was reissued, this is listed beneath the entry for the original pressing, so you can decide which "version" you are interested in. It's worth noting that, following on from the multitude of reissues over the years, some of the original pressings feature what is now "non-rare" material, but some of the 80s and 90s reissues actually include more hard-to-find B-sides.

Thereafter, I have identified most of the compilation albums that you should consider tracking down, but bear in mind that this is not a 100% complete list, but consists of "selected" items.


My Generation (1965, LP, Brunswick LAT8616)
My Generation (1965, 1979 reissue, LP, Virgin V2179)
My Generation (1965, 2002 reissue, 2 x CD, MCA 088 11292-2)
The Who Sings My Generation (1965, 1980s reissue, CD, MCAD-31330)

A Quick One (1966, LP, Track 593 002)
Backtrack 9 (1970, LP, budget reissue of "A Quick One" in plain sleeve, Track 2407009)
A Quick One (1966, 1980s reissue, Cassette, Polydor SPEMC 114)
A Quick One (1966, 1995 reissue, US Cassette, MCA MCAC 11267, includes longer version of "Run Run Run", all other tracks remixed, also available on CD in UK and US)

The Who Sell Out (1967, LP, mono or stereo, Track 612002/3)
The Who Sell out (1967, 1980s reissue, Cassette, includes short version of "Rael" and comes in different sleeve to original LP, Polydor SPEMC 115)
The Who Sell Out (1967, 1995 reissue, US CD, with different mixes of "Our Love Was" and "Track Records" and extra tracks, remaining tracks remixed, MCA MCAD 1168, also issued in UK)
The Who Sell Out (1967, 2009 "Deluxe" reissue, 2 x CD, includes previously unreleased material, Universal 531 5336)

Tommy (1969, 2 x LP, Track 613013/4)
Tommy Vol 1 (1969, Cassette, plays sides 1 and 2 only, Track 613013)
Tommy Vol 2 (1969, Cassette, plays sides 3 and 4 only, Track 613014)
Tommy Part 1 (1969, 1972 pressing, LP, plays sides 1 and 2 only with alternate mix of "Eyesight To The Blind", Track 2406007, unique p/s)
Tommy Part 2 (1969, 1972 pressing, LP, plays sides 3 and 4 only, Track 2406008, unique p/s)
Tommy (1969, 1973 reissue, LP, most copies include alternate mix of "Eyesight To The Blind", Track 613013/4)
Tommy (1969, 1980s reissue, Cassette, Track 3526 002)
Tommy (1969, 1996 reissue, remixed CD with different version of "We're Not Gonna Take It", Polydor 531 043-2)
Tommy (1969, 2004 "Deluxe" reissue, 2 x CD, B-sides and alternate takes on disc 2, Polydor 9861011)

Live At Leeds (1970, LP, "black" ink p/s, Track 2406 001)
Live At Leeds (1970, 1983 reissue, LP, "red ink" p/s, Polydor SPELP 50)
Live At Leeds (1970, 1995 reissue, Cassette, "blue ink" p/s, remixed wih extra tracks, Polydor 527 169-4, also available on CD)
Live At Leeds (1970, 2001 "Deluxe" reissue, 2 x CD, remixed again with full gig but in wrong order, MCA 088 11261802)

Who's Next (1971, LP, Track 2408 102)
Who's Next (1971, 1980s reissue, CD, Polydor 813 651 2)
Who's Next (1971, 1995 reissue, remixed with extra tracks from "Lifehouse" sessions, US Cassette, MCA MCAC 11269, also issued on CD in UK and US)
Who's Next (1971, 2003 "Deluxe" reissue, 2 x CD, remixed with notably alternate mix of "Won't Get Fooled Again", different bonus tracks on CD1, MCA 088 113 056-2)

Quadrophenia (1973, 2 x LP, Track 2657 013)
Quadrophenia (1973, 1980s reissue, Cassette, Track 3526 001)
Quadrophenia (1973, 1996 reissue, remixed, Polydor 531 971-2)

Odds And Sods (1974, LP, Track 2406 116)
Odds And Sods (1974, 1998 reissue, CD, remixed and altered tracklisting, Polydor 539 791-2)

The Who By Numbers (1975, LP, Polydor 2490 129)
The Who By Numbers (1975, 1996 reissue, fully remixed with extra tracks, CD, Polydor 533 844-2)

Who Are You (1978, LP, Polydor, WHOD 5004)
Who Are You (1978, 1992 "Original Master Recording" reissue, US CD, includes two versions of "Guitar And Pen", MCA)
Who Are You (1978, 1996 reissue, fully remixed with extra tracks, diff version of "Guitar And Pen" to original LP, CD 533 845-2)

Face Dances (1981, LP, Polydor WHOD 5073)
Face Dances (1981, 1997 reissue, fully remixed with extra tracks, CD, Polydor 537 695-2)

It's Hard (1982, LP, Polydor WHOD 5066)
It's Hard (1982, 1997 reissue, fully remixed with extra tracks, CD, Polydor 537 696-2)

Endless Wire (2006, 2 x CD, with free "Live At Lyon" CD, Polydor 1712230. UK edition includes extra "extended mixes" at end of CD1. Canadian copies show this expanded track listing, but with final two tracks "blacked out" on rear of sleeve)


I Can't Explain/Bald Headed Woman (7", Brunswick 05926)
Anyway Anyhow Anywhere/Daddy Rolling Stone (7", Brunswick 05935)
My Generation/Shout And Shimmy (7", Brunswick 05944)
My Generation/Substitute/Baba O'Riley/Behind Blue Eyes (1988 reissue, 12", Polydor POSPX907, p/s, also available on 7" and 12" in different sleeves but with less tracks)
My Generation (Regeneration Mix)/(Aphrodisiac Mix)/(Deep Love Mix)/(Deep Love Instrumental) (1996 reissue, promo-only 12", Polydor WHO 1)
My Generation/Pinball Wizard (Live at Leeds Uni 14.2.1970) (1996 reissue, Yellow Vinyl 7", Polydor 863 918-7, "new" p/s)
My Generation/Pinball Wizard (Live at Leeds Uni 14.2.1970)/Boris The Spider/My Generation (Deep Love Mix) (1996 reissue, CD, Polydor 854 637-2, same p/s as yellow vinyl version)
Substitute/Circles (7", Reaction 591001, later withdrawn and replaced with "Waltz For A Pig" on b-side)
Substitute/I'm A Boy/Pictures Of Lily (1976 reissue, 12", Polydor 2058 803, also available on 7")
A Legal Matter/Instant Party (7", Brunswick 05956)
The Kids Are Alright/The Ox (7", Brunswick 05965)
I'm A Boy/In The City (7", Reaction 591004)
Ready Steady Who EP (7", Reaction 592001, p/s)
La La La Lies/The Good's Gone (7", Brunswick 05968)
Happy Jack/I've Been Away (7", Reaction 591010)
Pictures Of Lily/Doctor Doctor (7", Track 604002)
The Last Time/Under My Thumb (7", Track 604006)
I Can See For Miles (7" Mix)/Someone's Coming (7", Track 604011)
Dogs/Call Me Lightning (7", Track 604023)
Magic Bus/Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde (7", Track 604024)
Pnball Wizard/Dogs Part 2 (7", Track 604027)
The Seeker/Here For More (7", Track 604036)
Summertime Blues/Heaven And Hell (7", Track 2094 002)
See Me Feel Me/Overture (Edit) (7", Track 2094 004)
Overture/Christmas/I'm Free/See Me Feel Me (7", Track 2252 001, p/s)
Won't Get Fooled Again/Don't Even Know Myself (7", Track 2094 009, initial copies in p/s)
Won't Get Fooled Again/Boney Maronie (Live)/Dancing In The Street (Live)/Mary Anne With The Shaky Hands (US B-side mix) (1988 reissue, 12", Polydor 887 576-2, also issued on CD, p/s)
Let's See Action/When I Was A Boy (7", Track 2094 012)
Join Together/Baby Don't You Do It (7", Track 2094 102)
Join Together (Live)/I Can See For Miles (Live)/Behind Blue Eyes (Live)/Christmas(Live) (1990 reissue, CD, Virgin VSCDT 1259, also available on 7" with one track less or on 12", p/s)
Relay/Waspman (7", Track 2094 106)
5.15 (7" Mix)/Water (7", Track 2094 115)
5.15 (Remix)/I'm One (1979 reissue, 7", Polydor WHO3)
Squeeze Box/Success Story (7", Polydor 2121 275)
Who Are You/Had Enough (7", Polydor WHO1, p/s)
Long Live Rock/I'm The Face/My Wife (Live At Kilburn 1977) (7", Polydor WHO2, p/s)
You Better You Bet/The Quiet One (7", Polydor WHO4, p/s)
Don't Let Go The Coat/You (7", Polydor WHO5, p/s)
Athena/A Man Is A Man (7", Polydor WHO6, p/s, also issued as 7" and 12" picture discs in clear sleeves)
Twist And Shout/I Can't Explain (Live) (7", MCA 927, p/s)
Wire & Glass (1-sided 12" in clear sleeve, Polydor 1703112, also available on CD in "full" p/s)

The Singles Box Set includes reissues of these 11 singles, originally issued on Brunswick/Reaction/Track/Polydor - "I Can't Explain", "My Generation", "Substitute", "I'm A Boy", "Happy Jack", "Pictures Of Lily", "I Can See For Miles", "Pinball Wizard", "Won't Get Fooled Again", "5.15", "Who Are You", and includes the exclusive release "Real Good Looking Boy".


Magic Bus - The Who On Tour (US/Canadian only CD, includes unique mix of "Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde", MCA MCBBD 31333)
Who/Hendrix: Backtrack 5 (UK LP, one side Who, one side Hendrix, Track 2407005)
Backtrack 14 (UK LP, consists purely of John Entwistle penned material, Track 2407014)
Pop History (German 2 x LP, split equally between The Who and Golden Earring, Polydor 2488 034/2335 030)
Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy (LP, includes all A-sides from "I Can't Explain" to "The Kids Are Alright", "Happy Jack", "Pictures Of Lily", "The Seeker", and alternate mixes of "Magic Bus" and "I'm A Boy" - "The Kids Are Alright" is the US 7" edited version, Track 2406006, available in "Who On Steps" p/s)
Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy (US CD reissue, includes standard 7" version of "Magic Bus", MCA MCBBD 37001, in "Who At Window" p/s)
The Kids Are Alright (Video, BMG 74321 10087 3. LP/CD exists with extra tracks. although version of "I Can See For Miles" is actually the 7" mix presented in simulated stereo)
Songs From Quadrophenia - Original Soundtrack (CD, new songs and remixes of "Quadrophenia" material, Polydor 519 999-2)
Rarities Vol 1 1966-1968 (LP, includes "Ready Steady Who" EP, "The Last Time", "Dogs", and all non-album B sides from "In The City" to "Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde, plus "US b-side" version of "Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand", Polydor SPELP 9)
Rarities Vol 2 1970-1973 (LP, includes "Let's See Action", "Join Together" and "Relay", and all seven "non LP" b-sides from the period, Polydor SPELP 10. Both Vol 1 and Vol 2 were subsequently packaged together on Cassette and CD, some of which feature edited mixes of "Water" and "Baby Don't You Do It".)
Disque D'Or The Who (French LP, Impact 6886 551)
The Best From Tommy (German LP, Polydor 2482 588)
The Best Of The Who (German LP, Polydor 2485 206)
The Who Collection ("Volume 1", CD, Impression IMCD 4/1. "Volume 2" also exists, as does a vinyl edition which merges the two volumes together)
Who's Missing (US CD, includes previously unreleased tracks, and alternate mixes of "Leaving Here", "Lubie", "Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand", MCA MCBBD31221)
Two's Missing (US Cassette, includes more unreleased tracks, stray B-side "Dogs Part 2",and alternate mixes of "Daddy Rolling Stone", "Heatwave", "I'm A Man", "Motoring", MCA MCAC 5712)
Who's Better Who's Best (Video, Channel 5 CFV 05562)
30 Years Of Maximum R&B (4 x CD, Polydor 521 751-2. Most tracks have been remixed, but the version of "Daddy Rolling Stone" is the original vinyl mix - remainder is unissued material)
My Generation (CD, includes UK edited mix of "Who Are You", Polydor 983 0492)
The Ultimate Collection (US 3 x CD, includes "Substitute EP" shrinkwrapped to front, includes previously unissued alternate mixes of "I'm A Boy" and "Happy Jack", MCA 088 12877-2)
The Ultimate Collection (3 x CD, UK reissue in new sleeve, includes CD-Rom material and extra tracks, plus the standard 7" version of "I'm A Boy", Polydor 065 300-2)
Then And Now (3 x CD, reissue of 2004 compilation, with "BBC Sessions" CD and "Who's Better Who's Best" DVD, Polydor 060075322214)
Greatest Hits And More (2 x CD, includes US edit of "Who Are You" and a second disc of live tracks from the sixties to the present day, Polydor 532 5202)


Who's Last (1984, taped 1982, CD, MCA MCLD 19005)
Join Together (1990, taped 1989, 2 x LP, Virgin VDT 102)
30 Years Of Maximum R&B Live (1994, taped at various dates, Video, Polygram 631 012 3)
Listening To You (1996, taped at 1970 Isle Of Wight Festival, Video, Warner Brothers 0630 14360-3. Gig has been reissued again on both CD and DVD in different sleeves, and with alternate/expanded tracklisting)
Live Tommy (1996, taped 1989, Video, SMV 49028 2. The "Tommy" material has subsequently been made available on a DVD coupling it with "Quadrophenia" material taped in 1996/97)
The Blues To The Bush (2000, taped 1999, CD. Mail order only, two versions exist with completely different tracklistings - effectively these CDs are "Part 1" and "Part 2", Musicmaker 358069/072)
The Vegas Job (2003, taped 1999, DVD, Film Express DVDL 001D)
Live At The Royal Albert Hall (2003, taped 2000/2002, 3 x CD, SPV 09-74882. DVD of "2000" only material also exists)
Live In Boston (2004, taped 2002 (post-Entwistle), US DVD, Rhino R2 970348)
Live From Toronto (2006, taped 1982, CD, Immortal)
Amazing Journey (2007, documentary with footage spanning the band's entire career, DVD, Universal Pictures)
The Who At Kilburn (2008, 1977 plus "bonus gig" from The London Coliseum in 1969, DVD, Image Entertainment)

And all this before we even mention the Japanese only "Who Rocks America" DVD, the "Direct Hits" or "Who Did It" UK LP's from the 60s and 70s, the mail order "Encore Series" CDs from the past five years...but that should be enough for now!

Further reading:
White Fang's Who site:

1 comment:

  1. Some clarification regarding "Instant Party"/"Circles", gleamed from the "Anyway Anyhow Anywhere" book, and the net. When first issued, the "Substitute" 7" was issued with a mix of alternately named B-sides, some using "Circles", others "Instant Party". This was done in some sort of attempt to hoodwink Shel Talmy. When he found out about the release, he managed to get both versions of the 45 withdrawn, and his version of "Instant Party" then got it's debut UK release on the flip of the "Legal Matter" 7". Eventually, the situation was sorted, and a number of later "Subtitute" releases were issued with "Circles" back on the B-side.
    In terms of basi collecting, the CD edition of the US version of "My Generation" includes the Talmy "Instant Party", "Rarities Vol 1" includes the 'Who' version of "Circles".