37003 Who Are You
Produced by Glyn Johns and Jon Astley
Released on August 1978
UK CHART POSITION #6 . . . US CHART POSITION #2 . . . PLATINUM RECORD (9/20/78), 2x PLATINUM (2/8/93)
Find it at GEMM
37003 reissue cover
[high resolution photo]
 

S everal years of silence had lapsed since the disappointing Who By Numbers, during which time punk’s assurgency had displaced the old guard of rock and rollers. At least that seemed the case until The Who re-asserted themselves with the brilliant Who Are You. I’d rate this album as their tightest collection of tracks since Who’s Next (no disrespect to Quadrophenia), a timely reminder that The Who were still alive and, more important, still rocked. With John Entwistle kicking a couple of gems into the kitty -- “905” and “Trick of the Light” -- Townshend was free to reflect on the music scene and his role in it. The songwriter examines the scene from every angle; bidding good riddance to disco (“Sister Disco”), acknowledging new trends (“Music Must Change”), commenting on the creative process (“New Song,” “Guitar And Pen”) and refusing to go quiet into that good night (“Who Are You”). Some people thought Who Are You was a pale shadow of the band’s glory days, but disco had polarized many critics into believing that punk was the only cure for the disease. The truth is that there was plenty of room in popular music for a re-energized Who. After all it wasn’t as though The Who were separate from the punk phenomenon; their explosive rock certainly helped pave the way for loud, angry artists, and I’d argue that “Who Are You,” “New Song” and “Trick of the Light” kick plenty of butt. Yes, Townshend and Entwistle had lots of time to come up with new material, but in hindsight it’s not important what the band didn’t release so much as what they did. Over their career, this ranks as one of their most vital, edgy, and succinct releases. Sadly, it would be the last Who album to feature Keith Moon, whose bright light was eclipsed soon after. The album cover has since become a point of conjecture in the collective mythology of contemporary music, as it features the drummer in a chair marked “not to be taken away.” That’s probably a separate phenomenon worth studying: intimations of mortality in album artwork, which would include The Beatles’ Abbey Road and Sgt. Peppers I suppose.

37003 back cover
37003 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. NEW SONG    (Pete Townshend)    4:18
  2. HAD ENOUGH    (John Entwistle)    4:27
  3. 905    (John Entwistle)    3:58
  4. SISTER DISCO    (Pete Townshend)    4:20
  5. MUSIC MUST CHANGE    (Pete Townshend)    4:35
  6. TRICK OF THE LIGHT    (John Entwistle)    4:06
  7. GUITAR AND PEN    (Pete Townshend)    5:45
  8. LOVE IS COMING DOWN    (Pete Townshend)    4:00
  9. WHO ARE YOU    (Pete Townshend)    6:22

    CD reissue bonus tracks
  10. NO ROAD ROMANCE
  11. EMPTY GLASS
  12. GUITAR AND PEN (MIX)
  13. LOVE IS COMING DOWN (MIX)
  14. WHO ARE YOU (MIX)

CREDITS

ROGER DALTREY -- lead vocals
JOHN ENTWISTLE -- basses, vocals, horns, synthesiser, lead vocals
KEITH MOON -- drums and percussion
PETE TOWNSHEND -- guitar, piano, synthesiser, vocals
Rod Argent -- synthesiser, piano
Ted Astley -- string arrangements
Andy Fairweather-Low -- backing vocals
Judy Szekely -- engineering assistance
Terry O'Neill -- front cover photo
Martyn Goddard -- back cover photo
Bill Smith -- design

return to THE WHO discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK August 1978 Polydor LP/CS WHOD 5004  
US/CAN August 1978 MCA LP/LPRED/CS MCA-3050 avail. in red vinyl
US 1978 MCA LPPIC MCAP-14950 picture elpee
AUS'L/MAL'Y/NZ 1978 Polydor LP 2480 467  
GER 1978 Polydor LP 2417 325  
JPN 1978 CBS/Sony LP 25AP-1130 lyric insert
NET 1978 Polydor LP 2490 147  
YUG   RTB LP ST 2417 325  
    Direct Disk Labs LP SD 16110 half-speed master
    MCA CS MCAC-1580  
US 1980 MCA 2LP/CS MCAC2-6913 repackaged w. LIVE AT LEEDS
UK 1980 Polydor 2LP 2683 084 repackaged w. LIVE AT LEEDS
UK 1982 MCA 2CS 3574 098 repackaged w. LIVE AT LEEDS
US   MCA LP/CD MCAD-37003 Platinum Plus reissue
US 1992 Mobile Fidelity CD UDCD-561 original master recording
EEC   Polydor CDX 533 845 digital remaster w. bonus tracks
US November 19, 1996 MCA CDX/CSX 11492 digital remaster w. bonus tracks
JPN   Polydor CDX UICY-2319 digital remaster w. bonus tracks

 

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