On this day in music history: October 3, 1975 …

On this day in music history: October 3, 1975 – “The Who By Numbers”, the seventh studio album by The Who is released (US release date is on October 25, 1975). Produced by Glyn Johns, it is recorded at Shepperton Studios Sound Stage (with the Ronnie Lane Mobile Studio) in Shepperton, Surrey, UK from April – June 12, 1975. Coming off of the hugely successful rock opera “Quadrophenia” album and tour, and the filmed adaptation of “Tommy”, The Who take their first extended hiatus before starting their next project. By early 1975, Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey are at odds with each other over the future of the band, with Townshend expressing interesting in recording as a solo artist, but being torn about it due to his commitment to The Who. At the time, Pete is also dealing with his mounting drug and alcohol addictions as well as struggling with writer’s block. Pulling himself together in spite of being in a fragile physical and emotional state, the guitarist channels his emotions into the songs written for the album. For the sessions, the band hire Glyn Johns who had previously worked with The Who as a recording engineer. The band also choose a different venue for recording the album, using former Faces bassists Ronnie Lane’s sixteen-track mobile recording studio on a sound stage at Shepperton Studios outside of London. The sessions are far from problem free, with drummer Keith Moon also struggling with his sobriety and the other band members growing quickly bored and frustrated at the much longer than usual time it takes to finish the album. The albums now iconic cover is illustrated by bassist John Entwistle, featuring caricatures of The Who, parodying a children’s color by numbers book drawing. It spins off the single “Squeeze Box” (#16 Pop), which becomes one the bands popular songs and a staple of their live performances. The album is another success for The Who, but their lack of confidence in the material has them performing few of the songs from it on the tour that follows, and there after. Originally released on CD in the mid 80’s, the album is remastered and reissued in 1996 with three additional bonus tracks, recorded live at a concert in Swansea, Wales in June of 1976. It is also remastered and reissued by Classic Records as a 200 gram vinyl LP in 2008, and as a standard weight pressing by Polydor Records. The album is reissued again by UMe/Geffen in 2015. “The Who By Numbers” peaks at number eight on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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