On this day in music history: December 15, 1967 – “The Who Sell Out”, the third studio album by The Who is released. Produced by Kit Lambert, it is recorded at Talentmasters Studios in New York City, IBC Studios, Pye Studios, De Lane Lea Studios, CBS Studios, Kingsway Studios in London and Gold Star Studios in Los Angeles, CA from May – November 1967. The bands’ third release is a concept album that includes songs interspersed with fake commercials and public service announcements, mimicking the British pirate radio station Radio London. The band are sued by a number of companies whose real products are parodied on the album. It spins off the classic “I Can See For Miles” (#10 UK, #9 US Pop). The album cover art features individual photos of the band taken by photographer David Montgomery, pitching different products. Pete Townshend is shown with an oversized container of roll on deodorant, Keith Moon posing with a big tube of acne cream, John Entwistle dressed like Tarzan, standing next to a model (as Jane) and holding a teddy bear in a mock version of an ad for bodybuilder Charles Atlas, and Roger Daltrey sitting in a tub of Heinz Baked Beans. Daltrey later claims to have contracted pneumonia after the photo session, as the beans had been partial frozen before being put in the bathtub. Original pressings of the album include a short instrumental cut in the runout groove. The first 1,000 copies of the original stereo and first 500 mono copies of the UK LP come packaged with a psychedelic poster of a butterfly, painted by artist Adrian George, with the LP jackets affixed with a hype sticker noting the poster’s inclusion. The art had originally been intended as the albums’ cover art, but is rejected. The rarity of these initial pressings have resulted in copies selling in recent years for more than $1,000 each or more on the collector’s market. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 1995 with ten additional bonus tracks including outtakes not included in the original release. It is reissued again in 2009 as a two CD Deluxe Edition featuring the original mono and stereo versions of the album, with twenty eight bonus tracks. The album is also reissued numerous times on vinyl, with the original mono mix being reissued in 2012, including the rare original poster. The stereo vinyl LP with the poster follows in 2015. “The Who Sell Out” peaks at number thirteen on the UK album chart, and number forty eight on the Billboard Top 200.
On this day in music history: December 3, 1965 – “My Generation”, the debut album by The Who is released. Produced by Shel Talmy, it is recorded at IBC Studios in London from April, October 11 – 14, 1965. The majority of the of Who’s first album is recorded in just four days of studio time and includes covers of the band’s favorite R&B numbers as well as originals by Pete Townshend. The title track is their biggest hit in the UK peaking at #2. It spins off three more singles including “The Kids Are Alright” and “A Legal Matter”. The album is released in the US with a slightly altered track listing as “The Who Sings My Generation” in April 1966. In 2002, the album is mixed into true stereo for the first time by the original producer Shel Talmy, who has been in possession of the original three track session tapes since the recording sessions nearly fifty years before. The stereo version is released as part of a two CD deluxe edition. In December of 2014, the album is reissued as a digital download (on iTunes and HD Tracks) with the original mono and stereo remix versions, along with additional bonus tracks. In December of 2016, “Generation” is reissued as a five CD “Super Deluxe” box set. Featuring newly remastered versions of the original mono and the remixed stereo versions, it also contains three additional CD’s with fifty five bonus tracks including alternate takes, instrumentals and new mixes. It is to be followed by a three LP set in February of 2017, featuring the mono mixes, bonus mono tracks and demo recordings. A two LP set featuring the stereo mixes and more bonus tracks is to be issued along side the mono version. “My Generation” peaks at number five on the UK album chart.
On this day in music history: November 18, 1981 – “I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll”, the second album by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts is released. Produced by Kenny Laguna and Ritchie Cordell, it is recorded at Kingdom Sound Studios in Syosset, NY from Early – Mid 1981. Issued as the follow up to their debut “Bad Reputation”, it is also released on (former Casablanca Records founder) Neil Bogart’s Boardwalk Records. The title track, originally recorded by The Arrows in 1975, becomes the band’s biggest hit, spending seven weeks at number one on the Hot 100 from March-May of 1982. Initial pressings of the LP contain a cover of the holiday classic “Little Drummer Boy” that is replaced by the cut “Oh Woe Is Me” on later pressings. It also spins off a second hit single with their cover of Tommy James & The Shondells classic “Crimson And Clover” (#7 Pop). With the demise of Boardwalk Records following Neil Bogart’s death in 1982, the album goes out of print for nearly a decade, before Jett is able to acquire the rights to the bands’ master tapes. “Rock ‘N’ Roll” is reissued on her own Blackheart Records imprint on CD and cassette in 1992 with all thirteen tracks included for the first time. The album is remastered in 1998 with two additional bonus tracks. It is reissued on vinyl in 2009, with a limited edition 180 gram LP pressed on clear vinyl for Record Store Day in 2011. A double vinyl LP edition is released in 2015 (with 1,000 copies pressed on white vinyl in hand numbered LP sleeves), with the second disc featuring live recordings. One hundred copies of the LP are inserted with a “golden ticket”, redeemable for a very limited edition lithograph poster of the reissues’ cover art work designed by artist Shepard Fairey. “I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll” spends three weeks at number two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: November 9, 1970 – “No Dice”, the second album by Badfinger is released. Produced by Mal Evans and Geoff Emerick, it is recorded at Abbey Road Studios and Trident Studios in London from April 18 – August 26, 1970. The second release from the British power pop band continues to expand their popularity both at home and abroad, and also marks their first shift in personnel. It is the first to feature new guitarist Joey Molland. Tom Evans switches from rhythm guitar to bass. The album yields their second US top ten single with “No Matter What” (#8 Pop), and the classic “Without You”. The latter is covered by Harry Nilsson whose version hits number one in February 1972, winning him a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male. Mariah Carey also covers the song in 1994, scoring a top five pop hit. “Dice” is considered to be one the quintessential power pop albums and one of the bands’ most successful. Going out of print in 1975 following the demise of Apple Records, it is finally remastered and reissued on CD for the first time in 1992 with five additional bonus tracks. It is also reissued as a limited edition vinyl LP (UK only), with the bonus tracks on a second disc. The album is remastered a second time in 2010, with the new issue featuring demos and unreleased tracks different from the 1992 release. “No Dice” peaks at number twenty eight on the Billboard Top 200.
On this day in music history: October 30, 1971 – “Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy” by The Who is released. Produced by Kit Lambert, Shel Talmy and The Who, it is recorded at IBC Studios, Pye Studios, Regent Sound Studios, De Lane Lea Studios, CBS Studios, Kingsway Studios in London, Talentmasters Studios in New York City and Gold Star Studios in Hollywood, CA from September 1964 – January 1970. The Who’s first compilation album, the fourteen track LP is compiled by Pete Townshend and features singles and key album tracks released between 1964 and 1970. The album includes a longer mix of the early single “I’m A Boy” and an alternate take of “Magic Bus” (only mixed in mono and appears in fake re-channeled stereo on the LP) which are released for the first time. The albums’ cover photo taken by photographer Graham Hughes features The Who looking out of the window of a dilapidated council flat at four young boys, representing childhood versions of themselves. One of the four boys is Paul Curbishley, the younger brother the bands’ manager Bill Curbishley. The back cover features a reverse image with The Who posed on the front steps, and the boys looking at them through the window. The inside gatefold includes a photo of exterior of The Railway Hotel in London, where The Who were discovered by their first managers Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp, and where Pete Townshend infamously broke and smashed his first guitar in 1964. The UK and US covers feature different title graphics, with the UK cover printing the artist name and title in smaller white print inside the broken window frame above the front door, with no track listing printed on the back. The US cover features larger graphics with the band name printed in orange colored print, the title in white, and the track listing printed on the back. In the later 70’s after The Who’s US catalog is reissued on MCA Records, the label changes the album jacket from its original gatefold design to a single pocket sleeve. “Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy” peaks at number nine on the UK album chart, number eleven on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in this in music history: October 26, 1970 – “No Matter What” by Badfinger is released. Written by Pete Ham, it is the third single release for the Welsh/British rock band. The song is originally composed with a mambo rhythm on Ham’s original demo. Produced by former Beatles road manager Mal Evans, the track is recorded twice. The first time is in March of 1970, when the band cut the song with a heavier rock arrangement. The final released version is recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London during April of 1970, with additional recording and overdubs completed at Abbey Road on May 13, 1970, and at Trident Studios on May 20, 1970. The song is initially shelved for a time until it is heard by Allan Steckler, the head of US operations for Apple Records. His enthusiasm for “No Matter What” results in it being included on Badfinger’s next album “No Dice” in November 1970. Issued as the first (and only) single from the album, it enters the Hot 100 at #79 on October 31, 1970, peaking at #8 on December 5, 1970, also peaking at #5 on the UK singles chart in January 1971.
On this day in music history: October 22, 1991 – “Girlfriend”, the third album by Matthew Sweet is released. Produced by Fred Maher and Matthew Sweet, it is recorded at Axis Studios in New York City from Early – Mid 1990. Inspired by the break up of Sweet’s marriage, the album features the musician with a number of guest musicians including guitarists Robert Quine, Richard Lloyd (Television), and The Indigo Girls. Released on RCA’s Zoo Records imprint, its sales are only modest, but receives significant support from college radio and commercial AAA format and Modern Rock stations. The album draws raves from critics and fans, and is regarded as one of the great power pop albums of all time. The album spins off two singles including the title track (#4 Mainstream Rock). The cover artwork features a photo of actress Tuesday Weld. The album is remastered and reissued in 2006, with live recordings, demos and acoustic versions of several songs included as bonus tracks. Initially released on only CD and cassette, the album is reissued on vinyl in 2014. The first LP release is a limited edition 180 gram vinyl pressing from audiophile label Classic Records in 1995,that quickly goes out of print, and becomes a pricey collectors item. The vinyl release is reissued again in 2017 by Music On Vinyl. An expanded edition of “Girlfriend"is released as a double 180 gram LP set, and as a hybrid SACD (to follow in December of 2018) by Intervention Records in September of 2018. "Girlfriend” peaks at number one hundred on the Billboard Top 200.
On this day in music history: October 22, 1974 – “Hotter Than Hell”, the second album by KISS is released. Produced by Kenny Kerner and Richie Wise, it is recorded at The Village Recorder in West Los Angeles, CA in August 1974. Just six months after releasing their self-titled debut album, KISS relocates to Los Angeles to record the follow up to their debut with producers Kenny Kerner and Richie Wise. Though the band power through the sessions in a few short weeks, they do not find L.A. to their liking, with Paul Stanley having his guitar stolen on the first day in town. They are also unhappy with the dark and murky sound of the albums’ final mix. “Hotter Than Hell” yields several songs that become staples of the band’s live act including “Got To Choose”, “Parasite” and “Goin’ Blind”, though initially it sells poorly due to it being released as Casablanca’s distribution deal with Warner Bros is ending. The album’s memorable and striking cover photo is taken by legendary photographer Norman Seeff (Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon, The Jacksons), and designed graphic artist John Van Hamersveld (The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead). The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 1997, with it being reissued on vinyl in 2014. “Hotter Than Hell” peaks at number one hundred on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: October 19, 1973 – “Quadrophenia”, the seventh album by The Who is released. Produced by The Who, Kit Lambert and Glyn Johns, it is recorded at Olympic Studios in Barnes, London and Ramport Studios in Battersea, London w/ Ronnie Lane Mobile Studio from May 1972 – June 1973. The Who’s first studio album in over two years, it is the bands’ second rock opera, focusing on the central character “Jimmy” a young man with four distinct and different personalities, set against the background of mid 60’s London and Brighton, UK. It is a huge critical and commercial success upon its release, and is regarded as one of The Who’s finest works. The original double LP package includes a thick booklet containing song lyrics, written text of the storyline and photographs. The band also tours extensively in support of the record, which is their most successful to date. “Quadrophenia” also inspires a feature film released in 1979 that features three additional songs written by Pete Townshend. The album is remastered and reissued in 2011 on CD, with a Super Deluxe box set containing four CD’s/one DVD-A disc, with the original album on the first two discs, with the third and fourth including previously unreleased demos, with the fifth being a DVD-A disc with 5.1 surround remixes of eight songs. The box also includes a 7" vinyl replica of “5:15” b/w “Water” in a repro picture sleeve, a one hundred page hard bound book and additional inserts. The original double album is also reissued on 180 gram vinyl in 2015. “Quadrophenia” peaks at number two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.