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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 27 April 2003
I think that this is one of the Who's finest moments.
After Who's Next and Quadrophenia, Pete Townshend proves once more that he is a great composer and lyricist, or if I dare say, poet.
His inner pain comes in harmony in the songs 'However Much I Booze', 'Dreaming From The Waist','How Many Friends' and 'They're All In Love'. The more light-hearted 'Squeeze Box' and 'Blue, Red and Grey' lift spirits up, until you listen to the bonus live performances at the end (from the legendary concert in Swansea in 1976) and you are blown away!
Everyone should listen 'Dreaming From The Waist'. It's an amazing combination of music, lyrics, production and a great example of the chemistry of the four members of the group: Roger's dynamic vocals, John's amazing bass lines, Pete's unbelievable guitar riffs and Keith's incredible drumming.
A chemistry that verifies The Who as the Rock Giants that they are!
A perfect album for every Who and Rock fan!
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on 21 July 2004
(Actual Rating- 4.5 Stars)
The Who By Numbers(1975). The Who's Eighth Album.
After the Massive Success of 'Who's Next' and 'Quadrophenia', The Who, instead of composing a Rock Opera or a Concept Album, decided to just Rock it out, and for that reason, some of
Townshend's most personal songwriting comes out to play. Pete Townshend chronicles his problems with alcohol ("However Much I Booze"), women ("Dreaming from the Waist" and "They Are All in Love"), and life in general. 'The Who By Numbers' was obviously a team effort, with Townshend's personal songwriting and guitar flair, Keith Moon's magnificent drumming, Roger Daltrey's sneering vocals, and John Enthwhistle's smooth basslines(The song "Success Story" is his shining moment here), The Who was ready to rock, and they succeeded well with 'The Who By Numbers'. Over time 'The Who By Numbers' has become a huge hit, going Platinum and spawning the major hit "Squeeze Box" and the minor hit "Slip Kid", showing it's legacy is still intact. So how does 'The Who By Numbers' measure up? Is it a dark moment in the Who's career, or a good one? Read on to find out!
Track Ratings-
Slip Kid- "Slip Kid" starts off 'The Who By Numbers' perfectly, as immediately Townshend's innocent keyboarding and Moon's drumming come on, and Daltrey's sarcastic vocals poke and
prod throughout behind Townshend's piercing guitar. "Slip Kid" is Classic Rock at its best.
However Much I Booze- "However Much I Booze" is Townshend's song, as his cheery vocals and acoustic guitar playing take center-stage. It's odd "However Much I Booze" is played so
happily, as the subject matter is so dark. Nevertheless "However Much I Booze" is an energetic acoustic rocker that won't fail to please.
Squeeze Box- "Squeeze Box" displays Townshend's sultry acoustic riff behind Daltrey's vocals that sound as if they are joking. "Squeeze Box" despite its short lenghth, is one of the Who's most classic songs, with a chorus and vocals to die for.
Dreaming From The Waist- "Dreaming From The Waist" mixes Enthwhistle and Townshend's bluesy beat, Keith Moon's perfectly on-the-mark drumming, and Daltrey's oddly angry vocals to
create an excellent bluesy rocker. Good guitarmanship and chorus!
Imagine A Man- "Imagine A Man" finds the Who doing a ballad, putting the main focus on Daltrey's oddly symphonic and soothing vocals behind a placid acoustic guitar beat, picking up
slightly for the chorus. A tad too slow, but not a terrible track. A pretty good track.
Success Story- "Success Story" finds Enthwhistle's oddly "Country Western" bassline complementing Daltrey's snivelling vocals, making "Success Story" a short but sweet gem.
They Are All In Love- "They Are All In Love" is a keyboard driven ballad, mixing heartbroken vocals courtesy Daltrey and soulful keyboarding. Great musicianship here makes "They Are All In Love" a great ballad. Contains Daltrey's famous "farting" noise!
Blue, Red, and Grey- "Blue, Red, and Grey" is a folk-inspired ballad, mixing Townshend's folk guitar with Daltrey's soulful vocals. "Blue, Red and Grey" is a folk ballad, and it comes out a little slow for me. Nonetheless excellent vocals from Daltrey.
How Many Friends- "How Many Friends" is a keyboard driven rocker, using Daltrey's betrayed vocals(Quite literally, this song's about being betrayed) to make "How Many Friends" a
memorable hard rocker that contains a great chorus!
In A Hand Or A Face- "In A Hand Or A Face" screams out the speaker with Townshend's piercing electric riff, but soon Daltrey's sneering vocals take center-stage behind the delicate
keyboarding. A great end to the album, "In A Face Or A Hand" is Classic Hard Rock at its best, using all of The Who to create an excellent song. Addictive chorus and guitar work!
The 1996 Remaster of 'The Who By Numbers' contains three Extra Tracks, which are Live versions of "Squeeze Box", "Behind Blue Eyes", and "Dreaming From The Waist". The Who have always been revered as a magnificent Live act, as 'Live At Leeds' will show, and these tracks are just icing on the cake, as they are magnificent versions that rival the studio cuts.
Overall, 'The Who By Numbers', while not being The Who's best, is nothing short of great, being only slightly blemished by "Imagine A Man" and "Blue, Red, And Grey", two ballads that drag on forever without much substance. After 'The Who By Numbers', The Who would record "Who Are You", before drummer Keith Moon tragically died, making 'The Who By Numbers' one of The Who's last and most professional albums.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR FANS OF CLASSIC ROCK AND THE WHO! OFTEN
OVERLOOKED IN THE WHO'S CATALOGUE, 'THE WHO BY NUMBERS' RIGHTFULLY BELONGS IN ANY CLASSIC ROCK OR WHO FAN'S COLLECTION!
Also Recommended-
Who's Next- The Who
Tommy- The Who
Who Are You?- The Who
Thanks For Reading!
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on 21 November 2005
I can't complement this LP highly enough. Its one of The Who's hidden gems. Many of the songs here have an autobiographical feeling to them. Townshends' lyrics are very sensitive and sung with such strength and character by both Daltrey and Townshend himself. Highlights? Slip Kid, However Much I Booze, the timeless Squeeze Box but the very best track for me personally is Blue Red & Grey. Its a beautiful track sung by Townshend accompanied only by the ukulele.
This is probably the last great Who LP. I pondered over buying it for a long time and I don't know why I waited so long to purchase it.
Well worth purchasing, you won't regret adding this to your collection!
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on 6 May 2016
This album is underrated. It is consistent and has depth. Nothing staggering: just solid, poignant and varied. I first bought the tape back in 1983 and had not listened to it for while. Suddenly I decided to remind myself how good it is ended up buying the CD. This versions has extensive sleeve notes and the 3 live tracks are an extra bonus.
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on 2 April 2000
This is a very special CD. Pete Townshend really puts heart and soul into it. It is not like many of the other albims by The Who, it is SO personal. Listen to tracks like "However Much I Booze" and "How Many Friends" they are really excellent. This CD often finds its way onto my player and I am sure it will for many more years... buy it and listen carefully.
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on 19 June 2003
This album holds a very special place in my heart: its the first Who album I bought. Since then I have bought nearly every other, but I always drift back to this one. Many would recommend Who's Next as the best album to start with, but I'd opt for this one. It's without the Lifehouse/concept baggage of the earlier work, and is just an album of collected songs, albeit on a similar theme.
This theme is coming-of-age (not a new theme for the band) but the later coming-of-age that's not late teens but late twenties. It's also the coming-of-age of a rock band that realises they can't go on with the juvenile theatricals much longer. Consequently, song-writer Pete Townshend puts the focus back into well-crafted songs and self-criticism. A tad heavy perhaps for a casual rock fan, but if you know the genre well, this album can be a refreshing eye-opener.
Tracks that rock include "Slip Kid" and Entwistle's "Success Story," but there are other highlights like the guitar textures on "However Much I Booze," a killer chord sequence in "Dreaming From The Waist" and a lush melody in "They're All In Love." Musicians and songs are outstanding on this, and I really recommend you purchase it.
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on 2 October 2015
Sometimes listening to a particular artists greatest hits or collection is not enough to gain a solid personal view of their music. Sometimes you need to delve deeper into their studio albums to get real feel. The who, in my opinion, are a classic example of this. Having heard a few compilation albums of their work in my life I thought it time to take a closer look at this great British rock band. The who by numbers is an excellent album, full of creativity and life. Now I know why they are so highly thought of.
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on 16 June 2013
This really is a cracker. A wonderfully varied album which might be The Who's best. The different song styles keep the album very interesting and the quality of the compositions is consistently high. This is also a rare occasion where the bonus tracks actually add a lot to the set. Three killer tracks added here including Behind Blue Eyes, sweet!
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on 30 October 2015
WHEN THIS ALBUM WAS RELEASED IN OCTOBER 1975 IT GARNERED A LOT OF CRITISCISM FROM THE MUSIC PRESS WITH SOME CALLING IT "TOWNSHENDS SOLO ALBUM".CERTAINLY THE BAND WERE AT A CROSSROADS IN THEIR CAREER, THEY HADN'T TOURED SINCE 1973 AND MOON HAD EMIGRATED TO AMERICA AND TOWNSHEND WAS FULL OF SELF-DOUBT ABOUT WEATHER THE BAND COULD CONTINUE.THIS UPGRADED RELEASE WITH 3 LIVE BONUS TRACKS HAS THE SOUND MARVELOUSLY REMIXED SO YOU CAN NOW HEAR THE BEAUTIFUL BRASS ARRANGEMENT PLAYED BY ENTWISTLE ON "BLUE RED AND GREY" THE DRUMS ARE UP IN THE MIX AND DALTREY SINGS GREAT ESPECIALLY ON "IMAGINE A MAN".THE ALBUM HAS SOME CLASSIC WHO (SLIP KID,DREAMING FROM THE WAIST,SQUEEZE BOX) A COUPLE OF BALLADS AND A GOOD ENTWISTLE SONG (SUCCESS STORY). THE 3 LIVE TRACKS ARE FROM SWANSEA IN 1976 WITH DREAMING FROM THE WAIST A STANDOUT ESPECIALLY FOR ENTWISTLES BASS PLAYING.A QUALITY RELEASE.
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on 26 December 2012
This is by far not the Who's best album - apart from the rather twee "Squeeze Box," The Who By Numbers produced no hit singles at the time (I would personally have chosen "Slip Kid," as it's a much stronger and better track, and still gets plenty of air play on US classic rock radio). They had peaked commercially with the previous 3 studio efforts - Tommy (1969), Who's Next (1971) and Quadrophenia (1973) - and with a hat trick like that, how do you follow it up?

Sadly, it would seem, the Who were never quite able to manage that. The songs here are good, not great, to middling - Townshend's demons were getting harder to hold back, all four members were putting more effort into their solo albums (although Pete was much less prolific than Daltrey or Entwistle, and even Keith Moon had made an album) and other projects - and it really seemed as if the band idea was taking a back seat to everything else. It might honestly be said that the best Who album of the mid '70s was Odds & Sods, which collected non-LP singles and outtakes in a manner rarely seen up to that point and which were, on the whole, better-quality tracks. Still, however, By Numbers should not be completely discounted - if you're a Who completist, you'll want this album, as it is a part of their canon. Just be advised that you may be underwhelmed. But even the most dedicated Who fan can find something of value in this long-player; don't pass it up.
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