“The Who Sell Out” by The Who - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1967Album Chart of the Decade: 1960s1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die external-link.png

TJR says

Conceptualized as a broadcast by pirate station Radio London, “The Who Sell Out” came complete with in-between jingles, sketches and skits. A lot of nonsense really. As I would with real-life radio, I'll plunder it for a few tunes then bog off to do something less boring instead.

Armenia City In The Sky” was written by a friend of the band, John “Speedy” Keen, the man who later wrote and sang the Uk#1 smash, “Something In The Air”, for Thunderclap Newman. This was the only song that The Who ever performed that was specifically written for the group by a non-member. It was, apparently, inspired by a long-lost painting back in the 1960s. John’s writing seems to lend itself to the big, wide-eyed, dramatic productions: “If you ever want to lose some time, Just take off, there’s no risk, If you ever want to disappear, Just take off, and think of this, Armenia, city in the sky, Armenia, city in the sky, The sky is glass, the sea is brown, And everyone is upside-down” What can it all mean? [< acts all innocent] The Who did an excellent job with this one; they never sounded so trippy. Everything bar the kitchen sink was thrown into the mix – and it was a great way to kick-off the LP. Freak out!

Equally trippy is the rocker which closes side one, “I Can See For Miles”, written by main songwriter Pete Townshend. There's magic in his eyes: “The Eiffel Tower and the Taj Mahal are mine to see on clear days You thought that I would need a crystal ball to see right through the haze.” It was the only single to be released from the LP and Townshend had high hopes that it'd be a #1 hit for them. In the end, it just made it into the Top 10. He couldn't hide his disappointment: “To me it was the ultimate Who record, yet it didn't sell. I spat on the British record buyer.” No sugar coating there, I like that. Great drumming from Keith Moon in this one, almost forcing the group to play in an unorthodox fashion.

Best on side two is “Silas Stingy”, written by John Entwistle, a Syd-Barrett-esque dreamer, with Keith Moon's drumming once again giving the piece a progressive feeling, even though it has a pop heart. It's a neat trick.

Now, what's on telly?

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [03:48] 8.4.png The Who - Armenia City In The Sky (John Keen) Psychedelia
A2 [01:00] 5.0.png The Who - Heinz Baked Beans (John Entwistle) Sketch / Skit
A3 [02:28] 5.9.png The Who - Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand (Pete Townshend) Pop
A4 [02:34] 6.9.png The Who - Odorono (Pete Townshend) Cerebral Pop
A5 [02:51] 6.5.png The Who - Tattoo (Pete Townshend) Cerebral Pop
A6 [03:23] 6.3.png The Who - Our Love Was (Pete Townshend) Cerebral Pop
A7 [04:05] 7.6.png The Who - I Can See For Miles (Pete Townshend) Psychedelia
B1 [03:03] 5.7.png The Who - Can’t Reach You (Pete Townshend) Pop
B2 [00:57] 4.1.png The Who - Medac (John Entwistle) Pop
B3 [02:41] 5.5.png The Who - Relax (Pete Townshend) Psychedelia
B4 [03:07] 6.8.png The Who - Silas Stingy (John Entwistle) Pop
B5 [03:06] 5.3.png The Who - Sunrise (Pete Townshend) Songwriter
B6 [05:44] 6.0.png The Who - Rael (1 And 2) (Pete Townshend) Prog

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