Initially released in December 1967 and described latterly by Rolling Stone as "THE WHO's finest album," "The Who Sell Out" reflected a remarkable year in popular culture. As well as being forever immortalized as the moment when the counterculture and the "Love Generation" became a global phenomenon and "pop" began metamorphosing into "rock."
The new Super Deluxe Edition of "The Who Sell Out" features 112 tracks, 46 of which are unreleased, an 80-page, hard-back, full-color book, including rare period photos, memorabilia, track-by-track annotation and new sleeve notes by Pete Townshend with comments from the likes of Pete Drummond (Radio London DJ), Richard Evans (designer) and Roy Flynn (the Speakeasy club manager).
The Super Deluxe package also includes nine posters and inserts, including replicas of 20" x 30" original Adrian George album poster, a gig poster from The City Hall, Newcastle, a Saville Theatre show 8-page program, a business card for the Bag o' Nails club, Kingly Street, a WHO fan club photo of group, a flyer for Bath Pavilion concerts including THE WHO, a crack-back bumper sticker for Wonderful Radio London, Keith Moon's Speakeasy club membership card and a WHO fan club newsletter.
As a taster for the set an EP of Pete Townshend's previously unreleased demos has today been released on all streaming services including "Pictures Of Lily" (new remix, previously unreleased), "Kids! Do You Want Kids?" (a.k.a. "Do You Want Kids, Kids?") (previously unreleased) and "Odorono" (previously unreleased).
"The Who Sell Out" was originally planned by Pete Townshend and the band's managers Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp, as a loose concept album including jingles and commercials linking the songs stylized as a pirate radio broadcast. This concept was born out of necessity as their label and management wanted a new album and Townshend felt that he didn't have enough songs.
The groundbreaking original plan for "Sell Out" was to sell advertising space on the album but instead the band opted for writing their own jingles paying tribute to pirate radio stations and to parody an increasingly consumerist society.
The homage to pop-art is evident in both the advertising jingles and the iconic sleeve design created by David King who was the art director at the Sunday Times, and Roger Law who invented the "Spitting Image" TV show. The sleeve features four advertising images, taken by the renowned photographer David Montgomery, of each band member Odorono deodorant (Pete Townshend), Medac spot cream (Keith Moon), Charles Atlas (John Entwistle) and Roger Daltrey and Heinz baked beans. The story goes that Roger Daltrey caught pneumonia from sitting in the cold beans for too long.
"The Who Sell Out" is a bold depiction of the period in which it was made, the tail-end of the "swinging-'60s" meets pop-art mixed with psychedelia and straight-ahead pop. It's a glorious blend of classic powerful WHO instrumentation, melodic harmonies, satirical lyrical imagery crystallized for what was only the group's third album. The album's ambition and scope is unrivalled by THE WHO, or any other act from that period.
Within the bold concept, were a batch of fabulous and diverse songs. "I Can See For Miles", a Top 10 hit at the time, is a WHO classic. "Rael", a Townshend "mini-opera" with musical motifs that reappeared in "Tommy" and the psychedelic blast of "Armenia City In The Sky" and "Relax" are among the very best material anyone wrote during the 1960s
One of the most extraordinary albums of any era, "The Who Sell Out" is THE WHO's last "pop" album. Two years later came "Tommy" — a double concept album about a deaf, dumb and blind kid.
"The Who Sell Out" Super Deluxe Edition
Disc 1 - Original mono mix, mono As & Bs and unreleased mono mixes
Disc 2 - Original stereo mix and stereo bonus tracks
Disc 3 - Studio outtakes, "fly-on-the-wall" versions of early takes of songs from the album sessions, "studio chat" etc.
Disc 4 – "The Road To Tommy" will contain stereo mixes of the studio tracks recorded in 1968 — some previously unreleased — plus 1968 As and Bs mono mixes (all tracks remixed from original 4 and 8-track session tapes in THE WHO vault)
Disc 5 - 14 of Pete Townshend's original demos, previously unreleased and exclusive to this set
Bonus 7" discs:
1. Track U.K. 45 repro "I Can See For Miles" (early mono mix with single-tracked vocal) and "Someone's Coming" (original U.K. track single mix with single-tracked vocal)
2. Decca U.S.A. 45 repro "Magic Bus" (U.S./U.K. mono) and "Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde" (original U.S. Decca single mix)
80-page, hard-back full-color book, including rare period photos, memorabilia and track annotation and new liner notes by Pete Townshend with comments from from Pete Drummond (Radio Caroline DJ), Chris Huston (Talentmasters Studio), Richard Evans (designer), Roy Flynn (Speakeasy Club manager), Arnold Schwartzman (designer) and Andy Neill (WHO biographer)
Nine posters and inserts, including replicas of 20" x 30" original Adrian George poster; Gig poster — City Hall, Newcastle: THE WHO, TRAFFIC and THE TREMELOES; Saville Theatre 8-page program; Business card for the Bag o' Nails club, Kingly Street; fan club photo of group; flyer for Bath Pavilion concerts including THE WHO; crack-back bumper sticker for Wonderful Radio London; Keith Moon's Speakeasy club membership card; WHO fan club newsletter.
Other "The Who Sell Out" formats:
* 2LP deluxe (stereo) vinyl version, featuring the original album and extras highlights from box set.
* D2C 2LP deluxe (mono) vinyl version featuring the original album and extras highlights from box set pressed on colored vinyl; disc 1 "Odorono" red / disc 2 "Baked Bean" orange.
* 2-CD edition six-panel digi-pak with a 16-page booklet.
Also available in a variety of digital formats