BIRMINGHAM RECORD COLLECTORS
DEDICATED TO THE COLLECTING OF MUSIC, ITS PRESERVATION, AND LASTING FRIENDSHIP
MONTHLY MEETING THIS SUNDAY, APRIL 9th 2017
2:00 PM HOMEWOOD LIBRARY – 1721 OXMOOR ROAD 35209
NEXT MEETING SUNDAY, MAY 7th, 2017 THE FIRST SUNDAY (Mothers’ day is the 2nd)
THIS MONTH’S MEETING
Henry Lovoy will be with us to talk about his time, and it still continues, in the music business. Henry began while in high school singing and playing drums and has been in or filled in for about every band that came out of the Birmingham area. And his record, Baggie Maggie on the Staff label is a very highly sought after 45 for collectors.
In May, BRC member Andy Millard will be with us to introduce and discuss his recently released book, Magic City Nights, a historical journey through the music scene here in Birmingham beginning in the 50’s and going through current times. We look forward to hearing from him. All you guys that were in a band during that time may want to come and listen to Andy and how this book all came about. Magic City Nights has been released and Andy will have copies to sell. I have a copy and have started reading. I believe you will find the book a very interesting read if you have an interest in early rock, the bands from this area that were a part of it, or just enjoy hearing stories from band members. Readers will see that Andy did a lot of research and did a great job to write a history of this areas music history. Thanks, Andy.
THE WHO AND THEIR U.S. NON-LP SINGLES THE KEITH MOON YEARS– 1965 TO 1978
By Greg Biggs
As a recipient of the fine newsletter produced by the Birmingham Record Collectors I noted a short article about the non-LP singles by a certain artist. Emailing Charles Bailey, I proposed an idea to cover the same topic for my all-time favorite British band, The Who.
As with many 60s originating bands (although the concept of non-LP singles and single sides continued well into the late 1990s and beyond), The Who had their fair share of non-LP tracks issued as B sides and even a few A sides. Some of these tracks would later end up on some compilation albums but at least one remains only issued on a 45. This article will cover these songs and, for the time being, discuss only their U.S. issued singles.
Starting out as The Detours, with a different drummer, and then The Highnumbers, the band changed their name to The Who. They signed with Decca Records in the U.S. in 1965 who issued their debut album, The Who Sings My Generation, in 1966. It was slightly different in track listing as well as its cover from their debut U.K. album, which came out in 1965, and spun off several singles. Prior to this album, however, Decca issued at least two singles trying to capitalize on the booming British Invasion that was over-running the USA at the time.
Their first U.S. single, issued in February 1965, was “I Can’t Explain,” backed with “Bald Headed Woman.” (Decca 31725) Neither side would appear on their first album. It reached a paltry 93 on the US charts. The former song, Pete Townshend’s attempt to ape the Kinks, remains in their stage shows even today while the B side, written by their then producer Shel Talmy, and also covered by the Kinks (who he also produced) is a typical mid-60s British R & B number that starts slow and builds to a lively ending. Both songs would appear on later compilation albums.
In June this was followed up with “Anyway Anyhow Anywhere,” backed with “Anytime You Want Me,” (Decca 31801) both sides again not being on any contemporary album until later compilations. The former was one of their best Mod songs with a great middle break featuring some of the earliest use of guitar feedback on record and while a hit in the U.K., it sank without a trace here. The B side was a cover song, a ballad written by Jerry Ragavoy and Garnett Mimms. Both tracks showed up later on compilation albums.
In November 1965, the classic “My Generation” was issued (Decca 31877) and it and the flip side “Out In The Street” was featured on their debut album breaking a string of singles with non-LP cuts. The A side became their signature show ending tune coupled with smoke bombs, flashing lights, raging feedback and the band smashing their instruments. This was followed by their second single also taken from their first album, “The Kids Are Alright” backed with “A Legal Matter,” (Decca 31988). The former song is an edited version from the version that appears on their first U.K. album.
A dispute with producer Talmy lead to The Who signing for a one off single on Atco Records and in March 1966 they issued another Townshend classic, “Substitute.” (Atco 45-6409). What made this version unique was a slight change in the lyrics. Instead of the usual “I look all white but my dad was black,” line, it was changed to “I try walking forward but my feet move back,”
perhaps because of the then racial tensions in the United States. This version remains unavailable on any Who album of compilation to this day, making it very sought after. The B side, “Waltz For A Pig,” credited to The Who Orchestra, was actually the Graham Bond Organization.
The Who broke their contract with Shel Talmy (which would cost the band years of royalty payments to him), and signed with Robert Stigwood (who also signed Cream) and his Reaction label in the U.K. For the U.S. they remained on Decca. Their first single under the new arrangement was issued in December 1966 and saw the band move more into a power pop mode. “I’m A Boy” backed with “In The City,” a Beach Boys inspired song co-written by drummer Keith Moon (they were his favorite band) (Decca 32058) were again non-LP tracks at the time. The A side, in two versions, appeared on later compilations while the flip showed up on the remastered and expanded A Quick One/Happy Jack CD album years later.
March 1967 found The Who with their first bonafide U.S. hit, the quirky “Happy Jack,” backed with “Whiskey Man, written by bassist John Entwistle (Decca 32114). The song reached Number 24 on the U.S. charts and appeared on their Happy Jack album as did the flip side. The single also featured the first picture sleeve for a U.S. Who single and started the trend of Entwistle written B sides.
This was followed up in June with another classic, “Pictures Of Lily” backed with “Doctor Doctor,” another Entwistle penned tune (Decca 32156). At the time neither showed up on a period Who album but did appear on 1968’s Magic Bus – The Who On Tour, a deceptively titled album that suggested it was live when it was basically a compilation of tracks including B sides and non-LP singles.
Perhaps the finest single The Who ever recorded, the amazing “I Can See For Miles,” was issued in September 1967 (Decca 32206). The song still remains as stunning today as it was back then with the band threatening to explode by the end of the tune. This was a featured track from the forthcoming album, The Who Sell Out, which remains an intriguing album to this day. Loaded with classic power pop, some psychedelic and even acoustic numbers, the album, while selling somewhat well in the U.S., was not the hit the band needed in America. The flip side of the single was an alternate take of the album track, “Mary-Anne With The Shaky Hands,” slightly faster and with the quavering vocal over the chorus not found on the album version. This version showed up on the remastered and expanded The Who Sell Out CD.
While popular in their home country thanks to their stunning live shows and some hit albums and singles, although not on the level of bands like the Beatles and Rolling Stones, The Who continued to issue singles during this time trying to grab a hit somewhere and keep their name before the public while guitarist and main songwriter Pete Townshend struggled with writing and recording what would become the band’s first smash album, Tommy.
In March 1968, another lively single, “Call Me Lightning,” backed with “Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde,” a sinister tune from Entwistle (known for his dark sense of humor) (Decca 32288). The A side reached Number 40 on the U.S. charts and it and its B side showed up on the aforementioned Magic Bus album.
A year later, Townshend’s rock opus was unleashed on the rock world and as its lead single, “Pinball Wizard” was chosen (Decca 32465). It was the second U.S. Who single issued with a picture sleeve. The track hit Number 19 on the U.S charts while the Tommy album sold millions making the band international stars. Their August 1969 performance at Woodstock and the subsequent film confirmed the band as the finest live act of the era. The flip side was “Dogs Part 2,” a whimsical Keith Moon written track was non-LP at the time but showed up on a later compilation album.
The next Tommy single featured two tracks from the album, “I’m Free,” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” (Decca 732519) which charted while the Who toured America and Europe performing two hour plus concerts. This was followed in March 1970 with the non-LP track, “The Seeker” backed with a song written by singer Roger Daltrey, “Here For More.” (Decca 32670). The A side reached Number 19 in the U.S. charts and finally showed up on the 1971 compilation album Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy. The flip side showed up much later on another compilation.
It was during a break in the tours that the band did a handful of shows in the U.K. in early 1970 and recorded them seeking to issue their first live album. Hitting the stores in May 1970, Live At Leeds was hailed as the finest live album in rock history and remains listed on many Top Five such albums today. Decca issued “Summertime Blues,” (Decca 32708) in July 1970, a live cover of the old Eddie Cochran song and a staple of their live shows for several years. The B side was perhaps one of John Entwistle’s finest tracks, “Heaven And Hell,” which had become the opening song on their tours and would not reach an album until a later compilation LP. Decca issued a promo only single for Live At Leeds with a picture sleeve with live versions of “Substitute” backed with “Young Man Blues” (Decca 32737) which remains the rarest of the Who’s American singles. There are reports that a stock copy, sans sleeve, was also issued which would be even rarer.
Seeking to keep Tommy in the charts, Decca issued two album tracks in September 1970, “See Me Feel Me,” which was edited from the longer “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” backed with Overture From Tommy.” (Decca 732729). This was also issued with a picture sleeve and it charted in the U.S. at Number 12.
For 1971, Pete Townshend was faced with creating something even grander than Tommy. Seeking to stage concerts that broke the barriers between band and audience, a series of live shows were staged in the U.K. Writing numerous songs for the project, dubbed at the time Lifehouse, Pete’s hard work finally collapsed but from it came one of the band’s finest albums, Who’s Next. In June 1971, Decca issued a heavily edited version of the track “Won’t Get Fooled Again” to secure Top 40 radio play and it paid off reaching Number 15 on the U.S. charts (Decca 32846). The flip side was one of their best non-LP tracks, “I Don’t Even Know Myself,” which had been part of their stage act for some time. A fine rocker with harmonica and even a country flavor, it finally showed up on a later compilation. Who’s Next yielded a second single in November with both sides from that album, “Behind Blue Eyes” and the Entwistle written “My Wife” (Decca 32888). The A side made it to Number 34 on the U.S. charts.
Biding time to the next Who album, the band issued two sets of non-LP singles to keep their name before the record buying public. The first, issued in July 1972, was “Join Together,” backed with a live version of the old Motown song “Baby Don’t You Do It,” taken from their 1971 U.S. tour (Decca 32983). The A side reached Number 17 on U.S. charts. This was followed in December by “The Relay,” backed with the Keith Moon song “Wasp Man.” (Track 33041).
Reaching Number 39, the A side was alive staple on their 1971 and 1972 tours now put to a studio version. The flip was a whimsical tune with Keith buzzing about to the backing track.
In 1973 Pete Townshend’s next rock opera, Quadrophenia, was released in October 1973. Based on the Who’s own history as the Mod band of London and the problems these kids had keeping with trends, relationships and more, it was the most English of Who albums. It was quickly followed by their tour which had problems with backing tracks with sound effects and synthesizers, which the band started using on Who’s Next. The album spawned a movie and has come to be appreciated much more over time as a masterpiece.
The album featured two singles, the first being “Love Reign O’er Me” in a remixed version from the album backed with the non-LP track “Water,” another song that had been part of their live shows for some time. (Track 40152). Three months later, in January 1974, the single “The Real Me” with “I’m One” as the flip side featured two tracks from the album. (Track 40182). Neither A side made it above Number 76 on the charts.
The band took some time off; their next album of new music would not come out until October 1975. In the interim, bassist John Entwistle compiled a rarities album that tied up some unissued tracks and non-LP singles. Entitled Odds And Sods, it also spawned a single. “Postcard”, an Entwistle song, was backed with “Put The Money Down” (Track 40330) and did not chart at all.
The next album to spin off singles was The Who By Numbers which was followed by the usual U.S. tour. The first single, issued in November 1975, became a hit reaching Number 16 on Top 40 charts. “Squeeze Box” was backed with “Success Story,” (MCA 40475) featured two tracks from the album. This was followed in August 1976 by “Slip Kid,” in an edited version, backed with “Dreaming From The Waist,” (MCA 40603) two more album tracks. A promotional only version of “Squeeze Box” was issued with a picture sleeve to radio stations.
The band took off the next couple of years but regrouped in 1978 for the album Who Are You. It would be their final album with legendary drummer Keith Moon, who died of an overdose of pills he was prescribed to treat his alcoholism just after it came out in August 1978. The album spun off two singles, “Who Are You,” backed with “Had Enough,” (MCA 40948), both tracks being on the album. This one peaked at Number 14 on the U.S. charts. A second single, also consisting of two album tracks came out a few months later, “Trick Of The Light,” and “905.” (MCA 40978). Both B sides were Entwistle written tracks.
The Who continued to put out new albums and singles with new drummer Kenny Jones, formerly of Mod contemporaries the Small Faces and later Rod Stewart & The Faces. This union lasted two albums and the band moved on from there with new music becoming more scarce as they issued unreleased live albums, box sets of rarities and hits and other projects. None of the remaining Who singles featured non-LP B sides sadly, making these later issues for the die hard collectors even though a couple tracks were hits.
This should give you a primer as to their U.S. singles output from the Keith Moon era and will serve as a guide not only for these singles but also the non-LP tracks which are quite a few especially if you factor in edits of A sides taken from albums. The next article will tackle their U.K. singles of the Keith Moon era which also feature numerous non-LP tracks.
Greg Biggs is the owner of CVC Collectables in Clarksville, TN. This firm has been in business selling classic and progressive rock music since 1984. Before this he was a sales manager for JEM Records West, a leading importer of music as well as sales manager of a cutouts distributor. He started in the record business in 1971 rising to become the national cutouts and imports buyer for the Peaches Records & tapes chain. Greg used to have one of the largest Who collections in the world at one time including a broken Pete Townshend guitar!
BIRMINGHAM RECORD COLLECTORS MUSIC HALL OF FAME
At the April meeting we will discuss the future of our Music HOF. Some questions have come up about how to continue it or whether to continue it. If you have any input, please be there or contact the BRC officers by responding to this email. Thanks.
BRC ROAD TRIP
A trip to Clarksdale, MS was planned for April 3rd but has been changed to Monday, April 10th. The trip is for 3 days and will include visiting blues museums and other music points of interest in the area. If you would like to go, please call Tom at 205-529-3003.
HEY! HAVE YOU HEARD THIS ONE?
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU HEARD THIS HIT?
Ray And Bob
(#99 in 1962)