Pete Townshend originally planned The Who Sell Out as a concept album of sorts that would simultaneously mock and pay tribute to pirate radio stations, complete with fake jingles and commercials linking the tracks…
Pete Townshend originally planned The Who Sell Out as a concept album of sorts that would simultaneously mock and pay tribute to pirate radio stations, complete with fake jingles and commercials linking the tracks. For reasons that remain somewhat ill defined, the concept wasn't quite driven to completion, breaking down around the middle of side two (on the original vinyl configuration). Nonetheless, on strictly musical merits, it's a terrific set of songs that ultimately stands as one of the group's greatest achievements. "I Can See for Miles" (a Top Ten hit) is the Who at their most thunderous; tinges of psychedelia add a rush to "Armenia City in the Sky" and "Relax"; "I Can't Reach You" finds Townshend beginning to stretch himself into quasi-spiritual territory; and "Tattoo" and the acoustic "Sunrise" show introspective, vulnerable sides to the singer/songwriter that had previously been hidden. "Rael" was another mini-opera, with musical motifs that reappeared in Tommy. The album is as perfect a balance between melodic mod pop and powerful instrumentation as the Who (or any other group) would achieve; psychedelic pop was never as jubilant, not to say funny (the fake commercials and jingles interspersed between the songs are a hoot)– Allmusic
The Who's mighty catalog of beautiful, poignant, and often silly pop songs bashed out with Cassius Clay finesse has suffered in the past at the hands of multiple, butcher-shop best-ofs and horrible packaging. But this thrilling band–undeniably one of ye classicke rocke's greatest–gets the career-spanning entry-point compilation it deserves with the double-disc Ultimate Collection. The songs included here are no-brainers, for the most part–if they aren't huge hits like "My Generation," "I Can See for Miles," or "Baba O'Riley," they're long-standing fan favorites such as "Boris the Spider," "Pure and Easy," and "Squeeze Box." And while this reviewer wishes different songs were chosen from Tommy, and more than one tune was gathered from their arguably finest (and definitely silliest) album, The Who Sell Out, this record really isn't for fans (aside from the total trainspotter types) but for newcomers.
Rarities Volume I & Volume II is a two-album series collecting songs by The Who, released in 1983 on Polydor in the United Kingdom. The very first release in this series was a single LP titled Join Together - Rarities issued by Polydor in Australia and New Zealand in 1982. It had the same contents as the later released Rarities Volume II with the exception of a shorter version of "I Don't Even Know Myself". The short version of this song fades out about twenty seconds early instead of having a full ending.