A Quick One and The Who Sell Out

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By Klaus Hiltscher [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 
 
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To alleviate financial pressure on the band, Lambert arranged a song-writing deal which required each member to write two songs for the next album. Entwistle contributed "Boris the Spider" and "Whiskey Man" and found a niche role as second songwriter. The band found they needed to fill an extra ten minutes, and Lambert encouraged Townshend to write a longer piece, "A Quick One, While He's Away". The suite of song fragments is about a girl who has an affair while her lover is away, but is ultimately forgiven. The album was titled A Quick One (Happy Jack in the US), and reached No. 4 in the UK charts. It was followed in 1967 by the UK Top 5 single "Pictures of Lily".

By 1966, Ready Steady Go! had ended, the mod movement was becoming unfashionable, and the Who found themselves in competition on the London circuit with groups including Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Lambert and Stamp realised that commercial success in the US was paramount to the group's future, and arranged a deal with promoter Frank Barsalona for a short package tour in New York. The group's performances, which still involved smashing guitars and kicking over drums, were well received, and led to their first major US appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival. The group, especially Moon, were not fond of the hippie movement, and thought their violent stage act would stand in sharp contrast to the peaceful atmosphere of the festival. Hendrix was also on the bill, and was also going to smash his guitar on stage. Townshend verbally abused Hendrix and accused him of stealing his act, and the pair argued about who should go on stage first, with the Who winning the argument. The Who brought hired equipment to the festival; Hendrix shipped over his regular touring gear from Britain, including a full Marshall stack. According to biographer Tony Fletcher, Hendrix was "so much better than the Who it was embarrassing". The Who's appearance at Monterey gave them recognition in the US, and "Happy Jack" reached the top 30.

The group followed Monterey with a US tour supporting Herman's Hermits. The Hermits were a straightforward pop band and enjoyed drugs and practical jokes. They bonded with Moon, who was excited to learn that cherry bombs were legal to purchase in Alabama. Moon acquired a reputation of destroying hotel rooms while on tour, with a particular interest in blowing up toilets. Entwistle said the first cherry bomb they tried "blew a hole in the suitcase and the chair". Moon recalled his first attempt to flush one down the toilet: "[A]ll that porcelain flying through the air was quite unforgettable. I never realised dynamite was so powerful." After a gig in Flint, Michigan on Moon's 21st birthday on 23 August 1967, the entourage caused $24,000 of damage at the hotel, and Moon knocked out one of his front teeth. Daltrey later said that the tour brought the band closer, and as the support act, they could turn up and perform a short show without any major responsibilities.

After the Hermits tour, the Who recorded their next single, "I Can See for Miles", which Townshend had written in 1966 but had avoided recording until he was sure it could be produced well. Townshend called it "the ultimate Who record", and was disappointed it reached only No. 10 in the UK. It became their best selling single in the US, reaching No. 9. The group toured the US again with Eric Burdon and the Animals, including an appearance on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, miming to "I Can See For Miles" and "My Generation". Moon bribed a stage hand to put explosives in his drum kit, who loaded it with ten times the expected quantity. The resulting detonation threw Moon off his drum riser and his arm was cut by flying cymbal shrapnel. Townshend's hair was singed and his left ear left ringing, and a camera and studio monitor were destroyed.

The next album was The Who Sell Out—a concept album paying tribute to pirate radio, which had been outlawed in August 1967 by the Marine, &c., Broadcasting (Offences) Act 1967. It included humorous jingles and mock commercials between songs, a mini rock opera called "Rael", and "I Can See For Miles". The Who declared themselves a pop art group and thus viewed advertising as an artform; they recorded a wide variety of radio advertisements, such as for canned milkshakes and the American Cancer Society, in defiance of the rising anti-consumerist ethos of the hippie counterculture. Townshend stated, "We don't change offstage. We live pop art."

Later that year, Lambert and Stamp formed a record label, Track Records, with distribution by Polydor. As well as signing Hendrix, Track became the imprint for all the Who's UK output until the mid-1970s.

The group started 1968 by touring Australia and New Zealand with the Small Faces. The groups had trouble with the local authorities and the New Zealand Truth called them "unwashed, foul-smelling, booze-swilling no-hopers". They continued to tour across the US and Canada during the first half of the year.

 

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The Who - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia : taken from - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Who http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/