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The Who - The Who Sell Out (1967)



The Who’s third album was the best of their pre-Tommy output: A concept album, replete with faux commercials and public service announcements, built to resemble a broadcast by pirate station Radio London. The intended irony of the title is that the band was actually making commercials during that period, some of which are now bonus tracks on the remastered CD.

Ultimately, however, as with all their self-styled concept albums, it main strength lies simply in the music. The single, ‘I Can See For Miles’, is still one of their best, and has remained a highlight of the live Who show to the present day, while album closer ‘Rael’ was a mini rock opera all on its own, involving a heroic ‘Captain’ betrayed by his crew as they attempt to save Rael (Israel) from a looming invasion by the Red Chins (Red Chinese). Echoes of its closing music would reappear in both ‘Sparks’ and ‘Underture’ from Tommy.

It's a difficult album to love, but there's plenty to like, and it represents the band at their most playful and fun before they settled into a world of pretty straight faced rock operas and eventual decline.

TRACKLIST:
Armenia City in the Sky / Heinz Baked Beans / Mary Anne With the Shaky Hand / Odorono / Tattoo / Our Love Was / I Can See for Miles / I Can't Reach You / Medac / Relax / Silas Stingy / Sunrise / Rael

KEY FACTS:
  • The album was the first on which Daltrey shared lead vocals with Townshend and Entwistle.
  • Original LP copies of Sell Out featured a "locked groove" (i.e. the final groove on the record would play forever) which featured a short instrumental ditty.



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