The Who – By Numbers (1975)

The Who had many great albums: Tommy, Quadrophenia, Whos Next, Who Are You. After the excesses of the late sixties and early seventies, this album represents a refreshing return to the basics. The lyrics reveal a tired and disillusioned Townshend suffering from alcohol abuse and probably going through an early mid-life crisis examining himself and his place in the world.

The production is clean and uncluttered. Townshend’s guitar playing steps off the “guitar god” pedestal and shows a new level of taste and creativity while Moon proves that he really can keep time.

Slip Kid is probably the stand out track. Squeeze Box was respectable as the album’s single. The lesser known tracks are the real gems though: However Much I Booze, How Many Friends and Dreaming From The Waist are priceless confessionals, Blue Red And Grey is a quirky little ‘crazy man’ ditty, They’re All In Love and In A Hand Or Face are classic Who songs. As always, Entwistle’s contributions are priceless, in this case Success Story.

This is The Who coming down from the high and looking for a new direction while still delivering classics.

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