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The Who – The Who By Numbers

Hand Signed by John Entwistle, Roger Daltry and Pete Townsend.

The Who by Numbers was released in 1975. Without the massive structure and ambition of the band’s better known works Tommy and Quadrophenia, Pete Townshend’s songwriting stands on its own in the sparse and dark The Who by Numbers. Gone are the synthesizers and the massive layers of overdubs. In their places are descriptions of Townshend’s alcoholism, lust, and self-loathing, as well as the dark side of creeping middle-age and the fear of irrelevance. A few tracks stand in contrast, including the playfulness of the top ten hit “Squeeze Box” and “Blue, Red and Grey’s claim that “I like every minute of the day.” But John Entwistle’s contribution, “Success Story”, returns to display nearly as despairing and cynical a view of stardom as the rest of the record. “In A Hand or A Face” revisits both lyrical and musical themes of Who songs dating back to the previous decade and offers an unexpectedly fiery ending to the album. The cover was drawn by John Entwistle as he was drawing a cartoon history of The Who.


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