The Who Sell Out

The Who Sell Out
The Who Sell Out
Studio album by The Who
Released 15 December 1967
Recorded May – November 1967, Talentmasters Studios, New York City, New York
IBC Studios, Pye Studios, De Lane Lea Studios, CBS Studios, and Kingsway Studios, London, England
Gold Star Studios, Los Angeles, California[1]
Genre Rock, psychedelic rock, power pop, art rock
Length 37:23
Language English
Label Track
Producer Kit Lambert
The Who chronology
A Quick One
The Who Sell Out
Singles from The Who Sell Out
  1. "I Can See for Miles"
    Released: 14 October 1967

The Who Sell Out is the third album by English rock band The Who, released in 1967 by Track Records in the UK and Decca Records in the US. It is a concept album, formatted as a collection of unrelated songs interspersed with faux commercials and public service announcements.[2] The album purports to be a broadcast by pirate radio station Radio London. Part of the intended irony of the title was that The Who were making commercials during that period of their career, some of which are included as bonus tracks on the remastered CD.

The album's release was reportedly followed by lawsuits due to the mention of real-world commercial interests in the faux commercials and on the album covers, and by the makers of the real jingles (Radio London jingles), who claimed The Who used them without permission. (The jingles were produced by PAMS Productions of Dallas, Texas, which created thousands of station ID jingles in the 1960s and 1970s). It was the deodorant company, Odorono, who took offense that Chris Stamp made a request for endorsement dollars.[3] In 2003, the album was ranked number 113 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.


Album information

The cover is divided into panels featuring a photograph by David Montgomery of each of the band members, two on the front and two on the back. On the front is Pete Townshend applying Odorono brand deodorant from an oversized stick, and Roger Daltrey sitting in a bathtub full of Heinz baked beans (holding an oversized tin can of the same). Daltrey claims to have caught pneumonia after sitting for a prolonged period in the bathtub, as the beans had been frozen.[4] On the back is Keith Moon applying Medac from an oversized tube, and John Entwistle in a leopard-skin Tarzan suit, squeezing a blonde woman in a leopard-skin bikini with one arm and a teddy bear with the other (an ad for the Charles Atlas course mentioned in one of the album's faux commercials).

"I Can See for Miles" was released as a single and peaked at #10 in the UK and #9 in the US. Original vinyl copies of Sell Out end with an audio oddity that repeats into a locked groove. The music in the locked groove is an instrumental version of what was originally intended to be a vocal jingle for The Who's UK label Track Records. The opening "Radio London" (Days of the Week) jingle makes use of a device called the Sonovox.

This album is notable in The Who discography for not featuring Daltrey as the sole lead singer on most of the songs; he alone provides lead vocals to "Armenia City in the Sky", "Tattoo", "I Can See for Miles", and "Rael". "Medac" and "Silas Stingy" are sung by Entwistle; "Odorono", "Our Love Was", "I Can't Reach You", and "Sunrise" by Pete Townshend; on "Relax", Daltrey and Townshend share lead vocals. "Rael" features melodic and rhythmic ideas that would reappear later in "Tommy."

When the LP was released on Track Records in the UK in 1967 (Track 612 002 Mono & Track 613 002 Stereo), a poster was included inside the first 1000 copies (500 stereo and 500 mono). They came with sticker on the front cover stating 'Psychedelic Poster Inside'. Due to its rarity, first pressings with poster and sticker have sold for more than £600, and have been known to sell for much more.

A single LP was re-issued on 140 Gram Clear blue vinyl as a Special Edition in 2008, by Lilth Records LTD Manufactured in the EU. A two-disc Deluxe Edition of the album was released on 16 March 2009 in the UK and 2 June 2009 in the US.[citation needed]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Rolling Stone (favorable) link
Allmusic 5/5 stars link
Uncut 5/5 stars link
Robert Christgau (A+) link

Track listing

All songs written by Pete Townshend except where noted. The between song jingles apparently have no official titles and are not listed anywhere on the original album packaging, though they are listed in the inner booklet of the 1995 remaster.

Side one
  • "Radio London" (Days of The Week)
  1. "Armenia City in the Sky" (John Keen)  – 3:12
    • "Wonderful Radio London"
  2. "Heinz Baked Beans" (John Entwistle)  – 0:57
    • "Radio London" (More Music)
  3. "Mary Anne with the Shaky Hand"  – 2:04 (retitled "Mary Anne with the Shaky Hands" on the US version)
    • "Premier Drums"
    • "Radio London" (Instrumental)
  4. "Odorono"  – 2:16
    • "Radio London" (Smooth Sailing)
  5. "Tattoo"  – 2:42
    • "Radio London" (Church of Your Choice)
  6. "Our Love Was"  – 3:07 (retitled "Our Love Was, Is" on the US version)
    • "Radio London" (Pussycat)
    • "Pour-Easy"
    • "Rotosound Strings"
  7. "I Can See for Miles"  – 4:17
Side two
  • "Charles Atlas"
  1. "I Can't Reach You"  – 3:03
  2. "Medac" (Entwistle)  – 0:57
  3. "Relax"  – 2:38
    • "Rotosound Strings" (1995 remix only)
  4. "Silas Stingy" (Entwistle)  – 3:04
  5. "Sunrise"  – 3:03
  6. "Rael (1 and 2)"  – 5:44 (retitled "Rael 1" on 1995 reissue)
    • "Track Records" (Instrumental version) (This track repeats into the endless locked groove at the end of side 2. Also found after Rael 1 mono mix on disc 2 of the deluxe edtion).
1995 reissue bonus tracks
  1. "Rael 2"  – 0:47
    • "Top Gear"
  2. "Glittering Girl"  – 2:56
    • "Coke 2"
  3. "Melancholia" [unavailable on deluxe edition]  – 3:17
    • "Bag O'Nails"
  4. "Someone's Coming" (Entwistle)  – 2:29
    • "John Mason's Cars" (Rehearsal)
  5. "Jaguar"  – 2:51
    • "John Mason's Cars" (Reprise)
  6. "Early Morning Cold Taxi" (Roger Daltrey, Dave Langston)  – 2:55
    • "Coke 1"
  7. "Hall of the Mountain King" (Edvard Grieg)  – 4:14
    • "Radio 1" (Boris Mix) [unavailable on deluxe edition]
  8. "Girl's Eyes" (Keith Moon)  – 3:28
    • "Odorono" (Final Chorus)
  9. "Mary Anne with the Shaky Hand" (US Mirasound Version)  – 3:19
  10. "Glow Girl" [unavailable on deluxe edition]  – 2:24
    • "Track Records" (Vocal version) (on the remaster, this only appears after "Glow Girl", with "Rael 1" segueing directly into "Rael 2").[citation needed]

The 2009 Deluxe edition contains the original album in stereo mix on disc one, and the mono mix on disc two.

2009 Deluxe Edition disc one bonus tracks
  1. "Rael Naïve"  – 0:59
    • "Rotosound Strings (a cappella)"
  2. "Someone's Coming" (Entwistle) – 2:36
    • "Radio London weather word"
  3. "Early Morning Cold Taxi" (Daltrey, Langston) – 2:59
    • "Radio London news bulletin"
  4. "Jaguar" – 2:58
    • "Wonderful Radio London"
  5. "Coke After Coke" – 1:05
  6. "Glittering Girl" – 3:00
  7. "Summertime Blues" (Eddie Cochran, Jerry Capehart) – 2:35 [recorded at a faster pace than the "Odds & Sods" version][citation needed]
  8. "John Mason Cars" (Entwistle, Moon) – 0:39
  9. "Girl's Eyes" (Moon) – 2:52
    • "Bag O'Nails"
  10. "Sodding About" (Entwistle, Moon, Townshend) – 2:47
  11. "Premier Drums (Full Version)" – 0:42
  12. "Odorono (Final Chorus)" – 0:24
  13. "Mary Anne with the Shaky Hand (US Mirasound Version)" – 3:22
  14. "Things Go Better with Coke" – 0:30
  15. "In The Hall Of The Mountain King" (Grieg/arranged by the Who) – 4:23
  16. "Top Gear" – 0:50
  17. "Rael 1 & 2 (Remake Version)" – 6:35
    • "Track Records" (Vocal Version)
2009 Deluxe Edition, disc two
  1. "Mary Anne with the Shaky Hand" (Version 1)(US mono single mix)  – 3:16 [basically the same version as the "Odds & Sods" release, but with an inaudible organ and different vocals][citation needed]
  2. "Someone's Coming" (UK single mono mix) (Entwistle) – 2:31
  3. "Relax" (Early demo, stereo) – 3:21
  4. "Jaguar" (Original mono mix) – 2:51
  5. "Glittering Girl" (Unreleased version, stereo) – 3:17
  6. "Tattoo" (Early mono mix) – 2:46
  7. "Our Love Was" (Take 12, unused mono mix) – 3:16
  8. "Rotosound Strings" (With final note, stereo) – 0:12
  9. "I Can See for Miles" (Early mono mix) – 4:00
  10. "Rael" (Early mono mix) – 5:43
    • "Armenia City in the Sky" (Isolated Backwards Tracks, hidden track)
    • "Great Shakes" (Unreleased US radio commercial, hidden track)

Sales chart performance

Year Chart Position
1967 UK Chart Albums 13[5]
1968 Billboard Pop Albums 48[6]
Year Single Chart Position
1967 "I Can See for Miles" Billboard Pop Singles 9[7]
UK Singles Charts 10[5]


The Who
Additional musicians

See also

  • Petra Haden Sings: The Who Sell Out


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.