Album Review: “The Who Sell Out” By The Who

Album Review: “The Who Sell Out” By The Who | I Love Classic Rock Videos

The Who in 1978 - TheWho / Youtube

The Who’s 1967 album The Who Sell Out was part of the band’s plan to make more cohesive catalogs after being dubbed as a singles act. In The Who Sell Out, the band capitalized on the commercial boom by taking on commercial products as an overall theme, although the songs are quite unrelated to one another and are rather joined together by public service announcements and original commercial jingles written by the band.

“Armenia City In The Sky” is the first track of the album with its psychedelic musings, while “Heinz Baked Beans” follows it with a whimsical marching band arrangement. “Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand” comes in three different versions, but have the same driving acoustic rhythm and Keith Moon’s frenzied outro. “Odorono” carries a more pop-oriented sound that it could pass as a legitimate song rather than just a jingle. “Tattoo” is a heavy composition that outlines the relationship between Daltrey and Townshend at times, while “Our Love Was” is bombarded with brass parts and an intertwining guitar progression. “I Can See For Miles” closes the first side with its opulent arrangement, and is arguably one of the most successful tracks from the album.

“I Can’t Reach You” opens the second side with its light piano instrumentation, while “Relax” has Townshend playing the organ. “Silas Stingy” is an Entwistle track that follows a traditional English folk arrangement and rambles on about his thrifty ways. “Sunrise” is a Townshend-exclusive track that dabbles on jazz and folk arrangements. Closing the original album lineup is “Rael 1”, a mini-suite that starts with a consistent cadence which undergoes a melody change as it enters its second section, before dipping into a breakdown that would be used later on Tommy as the instrumental “Underture”.

The Who Sell Out is one of the first phases of the band experimenting with their choice of track implementation, effectively becoming a blueprint for their succeeding albums that became commercial successes in their own rights.