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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

The Who Sell Out

The Who

1967

The Who Sell Out

Album Summary

The Who Sell Out is the third studio album by the British rock band the Who. It was released on 15 December 1967 by Track Records in the UK and Decca Records in the US. A concept album, The Who Sell Out is structured as a collection of unrelated songs interspersed with fake commercials and public service announcements, including the second track "Heinz Baked Beans". The album purports to be a broadcast by pirate radio station Radio London. The reference to "selling out" was an intended irony, as the Who had been making real commercials during that period of their career, some of which are included as bonus tracks on the remastered CD. The album was primarily written by guitarist Pete Townshend, though three tracks were penned by bassist John Entwistle and one by Thunderclap Newman vocalist Speedy Keen, who also sings. Townshend and Entwistle are joined by vocalist Roger Daltrey and drummer Keith Moon, and organist Al Kooper makes a guest appearance on two tracks. The album was produced by the band's manager Kit Lambert. The album's release was reportedly followed by lawsuits due to the mention of real-world commercial interests in the faux commercials and on the album covers, and by the makers of the real jingles (Radio London jingles), who claimed the Who used them without permission. (The jingles were produced by PAMS Productions of Dallas, Texas, which created thousands of station ID jingles in the 1960s and 1970s.) The deodorant company Odorono took offence that Chris Stamp made a request for endorsement dollars. "I Can See for Miles" was released as a single and peaked at number 10 in the UK and number 9 in the US. The Who Sell Out has received widespread acclaim from critics, some of whom viewed it as the Who's best record. It has also frequently been featured on all-time lists of the best albums, including Rolling Stone magazine's "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". However, it was the band's lowest-charting album on the UK Albums Chart, where it peaked at number 13.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.1

Votes

5529

Genres

  • Rock
  • Hard Rock
  • Psychedelic Rock
Reviews
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View Author
Mon Oct 05 2020
2

As much as I like The Who, this album is really annoying.

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Thu Feb 11 2021
4

The Who Sell Out is a rad concept, including a hilarious cover and some fun ads here and there, but does the music behind the concept bring equal joy? YES! This record hosts my favorite Who song, I Can See For Miles, and a bunch of other fun and lovely tunes. I am so grateful to have been able to grab a last minute ticket to see Townsend, Daltery, and the gang live in Tinley Park 1 1/2 years ago. The weather was gnarly that day so folks were releasing tix and I was able to grab 20th row for $20 and hang with my friend Mike (co-author of Kiss The Sky Records) and his childhood friends for part of the show. Hell, they had a full orchestra there with them! Epic!! Well, time to roll on some Odorono, grab some Heinz beans, and rock on into my evening!

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Sun Aug 15 2021
3

Honestly, it was all just research for a book.

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Wed Jan 27 2021
1

i thought the who were cool but this sucked.

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Wed Mar 09 2022
1

Fucking stupid. Seriously. What the fuck.

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Wed Nov 17 2021
5

I really enjoy this style of 60s rock. Reminds me of Odyssey and Oracle by the Zombies. Superb vocal harmonies throughout, each of the songs has complexity to its composition, hard to find a song that doesn't have a key modulation of some sort. Great playing by the band, especially the drums.

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View Author
Tue Nov 30 2021
4

When we started the 1001 journey I immediately decided all Who albums were getting a 5 but I never thought Sell Out would be on the list. This is a bizarre album by an excellent band and the LP has always had a cult following. It is a spoof on pirate stations that were quite popular in London  in the 60s and 70s. The BBC had a monopoly on broadcasting so these stations would pop up to provide  diverse music and points of view. This loose concept is probably what made this album have such  strong support from  the recording industry types.   There are some good songs on this mixed with very legitimate sounding jingles and commercials.  I Can See For Miles is Pete's sole contribution to Psychedelic music and, imo, is THE best psychedelic song. Yes I think it's even better than California Dreamin. I Can See . . . also has  Moon taking his already insane drumming style to another level as he really attacks his drums and sets the stage for things to come. It's also bizarre to see one of the best guitar players ever do a  guitar solo that repeats just one note. I always liked Mary Ann With The Shaky Hand. It brings back memories of adolescence and summer nights, lol. It's funny to see such a juvenile song written by a geezer who's now in his mid 70s. Tattoo is another excellent song. Pete plays electric and acoustic and shows remarkable picking and strumming  skills that continued to improve for the decades to come. Roger's voice is also at its best. The lyrics are deep compared to Pete's other songs to that time. I wonder how often someone getting a tattoo thinks "I expect I'll regret you but the skin graft man won't get you. You'll be three when I die Tattoo."  I hope you listened til the end since at around the 3 1/2 min mark of Rael there is the first tease of what becomes the Underture from Tommy. 

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View Author
Wed Feb 17 2021
2

Production: 3/20 Songwriting: 5/20 Innovation: 7/20 Bangers: 5/20 Emotional response: 2/20 = 22 Horrible. Only reason it got up to 2 was that at least it’s innovative. Which makes me question the whole system.

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Sun May 23 2021
1

terrible

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Thu Apr 15 2021
3

At this point, when I see another album from The Who I say "the what???" We've reviewed sixty-some albums and this our third from them--at this rate, we could expect 42 more Who albums on the list. I'm praying that's not possible. At least this one isn't live, and I did enjoy a few songs, especially the classic "I Can See for Miles." But I'm asking this list to give us a good 40-50 album break before the next Who album. Also, "mingy stingy"? Can they say that? Favorite tracks: I Can See for Miles, Odorono, Sunrise. Album art: This one's pretty funny. Roger Daltrey bathing in a full English, Pete Townshend putting on some massive deodorant, the absolute mad lads. "Get saucy." 3.5/5

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Wed Jan 27 2021
3

He escuchado la versión Mono de este disco entiendo que la calidad es la que era, pero al menos lo escucho tal como se grabó (más o menos salvando las distancias de hacerlo en streaming y esas cosas). Para ser de 1967 sorprende lo innovador que suena, sobre todo los instrumentos, y resulta curioso el uso de una especie de "jingles" entre las canciones. Curioso pero poco más, hoy en día no lo veo imprescindible. Hay 3 o 4 canciones que me han gustado bastante y sobre todo los recuerdos que me han venido de los Pink Floyd de Syd Barret.

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Tue Feb 16 2021
2

This is fine musically, but who in gods name thought it would be a good idea to mix a bunch of jingles into the songs, and who decided that they should half ass it so hard instead of committing to the bit. I get what they were trying to do, but I feel like they could have just made a good album instead. 2/5

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Mon Jan 24 2022
2

Not my kinda music, but call me Silas Stingy

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Sat Feb 26 2022
2

Dated 60s stuff. I'm sure it's classic and was very influential...

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Tue Jul 05 2022
2

I found this bloody irritating with the OH SO FUNNY radio ads and jingles. The Spotify ads that dropped whilst listening were actually less painful. The songs themselves didn't add enough for me to overcome the radio bollocks. I've given it two stars on the the strength of I Can See for Miles alone.

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View Author
Mon Mar 29 2021
5

Great listen

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Tue May 11 2021
5

I can see for miles and miles and miles and miles and miles and miles and miles and miles and miles and miles and miles... and miles!

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Fri Jul 02 2021
5

Fun jaunt in self-satirization. First Who album, and what a weird and exciting entry point!

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View Author
Wed Apr 28 2021
5

what's for tea mum? ok ok hear me out. AFTER the masterpiece that is quadrophenia i think this is one of the who's most interesting albums, evolving their early mod sound into the concept albums to come later in their career. it's wacky and stupid and wonderful and holds a very special place in my heart!! mary anne with the shaky hand, odorono, i can't reach you (and girl's eyes!)

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View Author
Tue May 11 2021
5

Nice satire on consumerism, with a few catchy “commercials” inserted into the album. Odorono has a great riff, and is a lot of fun. I Can See for Miles is an obvious favorite. I had a lot of fun here.

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Mon May 24 2021
5

Rating: 10/10 Best songs: ALL

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Mon Oct 11 2021
5

Love The Who- they are so tongue and cheek here and you can see Jen playing around with stuff that ended up creating rock opera!

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Tue Oct 12 2021
5

-"Armenia City In The Sky" is very psychadelic rock-esque -BEANS -"Odorono's" advertisement-ness is slightly flawed with how ell it fits in thematically with the rest of the album -"Tattoo" is a great little story -"Our Love Was" is a nice pretty love song, but really goes to show how even on a relatively calm song, Keith was always a madman on the drums, but it still works perfectly. He's banging away at the cymbals and doing fills all over the place and it still works -Man, I wish radio just had a few 5 second jingles between each song like on this album -"I Can See For Miles" is a pretty incredible track. Even with relatively simple lyrics and harmonies, the backing track is complex. Keith is all over the drums as always, but there's also a very interesting guitar tone that's almost like a squeaky siren. Definitely the standout track on this album -"Silas Stingy" is a very catchy track from John Entwistle that has some cool horns in there for a second -"Rael Pt.1 & Pt. 2" is a pretty cool jam, led by Keith Moon as usual, and it also hints at "Overture" and "Sparks" from Tommy -I noticed this on other early Who albums (specifically "The Who Sings My Generation"), and it applies to "The Who Sell Out" as well, but Keith's style was definitely the most developed out of the whole group. -It's The Who, I'm biased

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Wed Oct 20 2021
5

Великие?! Да, они для меня самые великие!

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Wed Nov 17 2021
5

I've never understood why people refer to The Who as a psychedelic rock band, (I've more thought of them as kind of bland 70s rock) but Sell Out is a psychedelic masterpiece. This fits in alongside Piper at the Gates of Dawn and Sgt Pepper.

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View Author
Mon Feb 07 2022
5

Amazing album start to finish - The Who really kick ass - and it’s really nice to see an album I didn’t understand when I was younger feel so good after all these years - funny - some great songs (Maryanne and I can see for miles among some other classics) tops

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Sat Mar 05 2022
5

One of the most fun concept albums I've heard

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Tue Mar 15 2022
5

meh

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Tue May 24 2022
5

What’s for tea daughtah?

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Fri Jun 24 2022
5

Excellent, so many classics.

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Tue Jul 12 2022
5

Classic album. Timeless (there must be quite a few albums of The Who on the list).

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Wed Jul 27 2022
5

Roger Daltrey is especially saucy in this album, and we can smell Peter Twonshend for miles and miles.

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Thu Sep 08 2022
5

Supervet!!

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Thu Sep 22 2022
5

Meni je ovo najbolji njihov. Totalno je lud

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Sun Nov 13 2022
5

The best Who album by a country mile.

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Tue Dec 20 2022
5

A concept album that is actually fun and playful. Doesn't take itself too seriously. The concept is cohesive and works on multiple levels. Flows like butter with the radio broadcast thread. Brilliant editing and transitions, especially for the time. Some of the song structures are like proto prog with their sudden changes and vocal interplay, but still largely meaty, beauty, big and bouncy.

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Sat Dec 31 2022
5

I really love the few of listening to an hour of radio! That was unexpected. Lots of variety and fun!

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Sat Dec 31 2022
5

I'd always avoided this album because the bean business from the movie Tommy kind of freaked me out as a kid, so the cover made me nervous. But this is silly and fun and I had nothing to worry about. I love it.

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View Author
Sat Dec 31 2022
5

This was so much fun! It makes me happy after so much SERIOUS music to have a group just laugh with it all. All the songs were delightful and I felt like I was listening to the radio when I was a kid.

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Fri Jan 15 2021
4

What a journey!

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View Author
Mon Jun 07 2021
4

3.5 stars

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Wed Jul 21 2021
4

Amazing album with most tracks not normally heard when listening to thr who

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Sun Jul 04 2021
4

Gewd stewf

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View Author
Fri May 14 2021
4

Probably a 3.5

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Wed Feb 03 2021
4

Me imagino ser un viejito de 70 años en los 60s y de pronto escuchar este disco: mind-blowing

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Sat May 29 2021
4

This one was alright. I still don’t think I like The Who as well as I thought I should, but I certainly like this one better than that live one.

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Tue Apr 27 2021
4

Fun album and super creative with the fake commercials, etc. I dig it.

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Mon Jan 25 2021
4

Pretty chill, what you'd expect from The Who

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Thu Mar 11 2021
4

WAOUHHHH!!!

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View Author
Thu May 06 2021
4

Sonido experimentador sesentero. Pues cool, bastante cool. No sabía ni qué esperar de esta famosa banda que jamás le he prestado atención. No me quedó con ninguna canción, pero sí me mantuvo expectante desde ese intro muy a la Kraftwerk, hasta las versiones alternativas del final. Our love was fue la que más me gustó es muy hippie. Mood: Frito fritíto, fritísimo.

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Sat Apr 10 2021
4

- they had lots of fun - intersting, fun, popart,

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Fri Apr 30 2021
4

I'd forgotten this sound from the earlier Who years. Reading some of the context around radio in the UK at the time was helpful, and I honestly think maybe the concept of the album outweighs the overall quality on it, but it's still quite good against the high bar of The Who's entire catalog.

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Thu May 06 2021
4

El disco está ok. Me sonó como a casi todas las canciones de “Charlie y la fábrica de chocolate”, no es queja (o sí es?)

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Fri Jul 02 2021
4

A set of smashingly silly songs, the Who once again proves why they deserved to be at the forefront of the 60s British Invasion.

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Fri Jul 02 2021
4

First time I listened to an entire album by The Who. I don't plan on actively listening to it again, but not bad at all. Giving it a 3.5 for the music but rounding up for the fun factor of the album.

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Tue Apr 20 2021
4

I'm waiting for when a Who album comes up from their later years and I don't like them as much but this wasn't it. Really fun album all the way through.

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Wed Apr 28 2021
4

Kind of cool actually, although it's not the type of music I would keep on my regular playlist.

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Fri Apr 23 2021
4

fun listen 3.5/4

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Tue May 18 2021
4

Pretty awesome album, although I didn’t give it the attention it deserves. I’ll definitely have to give it another listen and pay more attention to each track. I definitely enjoyed it though.

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Thu Jun 10 2021
4

The adverts are brilliantly British! Lots of fun listening to this album. Some good hits on here too and I really like the who already! Wasn't aware of this album so it's even more a delight to discover.

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Wed Jul 07 2021
4

Oh genoten heb ik, ga ik zeker vaker beluisteren

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Mon May 17 2021
4

Whoa, this is awesome. I love The Who, but have not listened to this one. So much fun. Standouts: "Mary Anne with the Shaky Hand" "I can see for Miles" "I Can't Reach You"

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Sun May 30 2021
4

4

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Wed Jun 09 2021
4

Good Tunes

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Sun Jul 18 2021
4

started off alright, but that run from track 5 to 7 is INCREDIBLE. Peak music from there on imo. It is a lil too long though ingl

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View Author
Fri Aug 20 2021
4

Gefällt mir gut - die Idee mit dem Radiosender und den Commercials, der plötzlich auch hier psychedelisch werdende Sound, die fantastische Singe "I can see for miles", der Anfang mit Armenia City. Das Cover-Artwork ist großartig, der Humor und die zero fucks given Attitüde auch. Bin in Laune für 4 Punkte, und wäre ich damals jung: die Beatles wären mein Ding, aber The Who meine Bande gewesen.

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Wed Sep 15 2021
4

Как жаль, что им приходилось слушать Битлз Прогрессивно, но типа ыыыых 3.5/5)

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Thu Sep 16 2021
4

really fun album kinda reminded me of magical mystery tour i’ll try listening to more of The Who’s stuff soon 8/10

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Sat Sep 25 2021
4

"I Can See For Miles" is the only song on this album that I've heard before, and the only song that sounded like what I typically think of when I think of the Who. That track, "Relax", and "Mary Anne with the Shaky Hand" are tracks I would easily go back to for a second listen. The rest of the album was at least okay. Again, this is another album that I'm not quite sure what to do with. I think there might be something to uncover for a second listen, so that might bump this up to 4 stars

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Wed Oct 06 2021
4

This is really cool. not a 5 for me but definitely cool.

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Thu Oct 07 2021
4

I'm not a big Who fan, so I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed The Who Sell Out. Blissfully ignorant of the album's concept, I used to make mixtapes with commercials in them, comedy snippets, news reports, etc, so you can see why I might be susceptible to its charms. The commercial spots are consistently amusing. Another surprise for me: the songs are consistently good. For me, The Who was never much of a rock band as I understand the term, more like a pop band with an especially powerful drummer, and songwriter Pete Townshend is in unusually good form here. The songs are tuneful and varied, including a surprisingly effective stab at psychedelic on the album's opener, Armenia City In The Sky. The songwriting gets slightly weaker towards the end of the album, but there are no outright stinkers, unusual for a Who album. The Who Sell Out probably won't rock your world, but it's a pleasant and amusing listen.

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Sat Oct 09 2021
4

A sterling realization of loose concept. I heard less jingles in the back half, but there were plenty of those, given genuine musical love. Other than that, The Who give a tour of the era of pop through their ears and instruments. Unrelentingly fun. Not quite Sgt. Pepper's, but I hear the same genius.

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Wed Nov 03 2021
4

I first heard this album in high school and I just did not get it. This listen through went way better. The concept is interesting and seems to support what Pete Townsend has expressed in interviews about how he feels about the capitalist nature of his success despite his socially liberal political views. This album is self satirizing and earnest at the same time and is quintessentially The Who. The flow from song to song is great and nothing is misplaced

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Tue Nov 16 2021
4

Such a funky af album. The Who were very strange, but I dig them, I always have. This album is no exception. Big fan of some of the bass lines on this album. John Entwistle had magic fingers.

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Fri Dec 03 2021
4

Experimental and quite progressive for the time. Didn’t catch though

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Sat Dec 18 2021
4

Levy oli vähemmän rokkia kuin mitä olin kuvitellut. Aina vaan tullut kuunneltua niitä The Whon perushittejä, mutta tämä kuulosti ehkä asteen taiteellisemmalta. Tuli mieleen Beatlesit, mutta karvan verran vähemmän sekoilua. Tykkäsin, tätä voisi kuunnella joskus muutenkin.

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Mon Jan 17 2022
4

I would call it early psychadelic rock, it is good but has ways to go

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Fri Jan 21 2022
4

Many good songs, but didn't like the concept

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Mon Jan 24 2022
4

One of the most fun albums you'll ever listen to.

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Tue Feb 01 2022
4

Who are these guys? Really fun album! Of course, I Can see for Miles is the big single, but the rest is really entertaining as well. Need to listen a couple more times.

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Tue Feb 01 2022
4

I love the Who but I think this album was not the one

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Sat Feb 05 2022
4

The Who before they got really big. The sound is typical 60's rock, but the interspersed commercials give it a nice touch. Very easy listen, without any real standouts. 3.5/5

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Thu Feb 10 2022
4

Fun

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Sat Feb 12 2022
4

Interesting album. Strange and fun transitions between songs. Not their most complex or energetic album, but fun and worth a listen.

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Sun Feb 27 2022
4

I mostly enjoyed this album and its oddities. Shout out to the pre-Tommy riff in Rael. 8/10

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Sun Feb 27 2022
4

7/10. The Who get a lot better later on… Miles and Miles is good of course, and I liked most of the songs at least a bit. Silas Stingy is like the lame grandfather of the "Scrooge" from the Muppet Christmas carol. Also I hate that the Who refuse to just put normal versions of Albums on spotify. It has to be "super deluxe editions".

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Mon Feb 28 2022
4

One of my favourite albums by The Who. The, at the time, unheard of linking of songs with verité, here in the form of radio jingles and adverts as heard on pirate radio stations, make this an album that flows seamlessly. And it contains the sublime "I Can See For Miles".

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Mon Feb 28 2022
4

Brilliant combination of satire and great music. ~4.5/5

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Tue Mar 01 2022
4

I feel this is the Who's most enjoyable albums to listen to. The first of many concept records from Townsend and the band and this one particularly works...well almost. Side one is great, mixing in the fake commercials with some top notch songs, this is my favourite side one from the Who. Unfortunately, it loses a bit a stream on side two and never quite flows as well, otherwise this would be 5 stars. The later riff during Rael is heard on the next album (Tommy) and the band's sound is evolving from garage to pop psych. This is the beginning of a great run of Who albums.

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Wed Mar 02 2022
4

Other than I Can See For Miles and Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand, this is somewhat of a forgettable album, especially with the type of material The Beatles were putting out at the time. But the best thing it had going for it was the humor. It was a funny tongue-in-cheek album that never claimed to take itself seriously. It's a 3.5/5 for me, but I'll round up for the all-time great I Can See For Miles.

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Fri Mar 04 2022
4

A strange concept album of unrelated songs framed as a faux pirate radio station, complete with musical advertisements. Still some really great music to be found on this album, and it's interesting to hear the seeds of what would become The Who's rock opera Tommy, in songs like Real and Mary Anne With The Shakey Hand. Definitely worth a listen.

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Fri Mar 11 2022
4

Wow, just wow

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Tue Mar 15 2022
4

Muito bom.

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Mon Feb 21 2022
4

So while I admire the creativity of the album. The commercials get annoying after a listen or two. Perhaps it was more funny in the 60's. However it's the Who and I love the Who.

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Sat Apr 02 2022
4

who?

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Wed Apr 06 2022
4

With just one hit single: the brilliant I Can See For Miles, it might not be self evident why The Who Sell Out would be many fans favourite Who album. But one listen shows just how many, interesting and fully formed musical ideas that ....Sell Out, has. It's the perfect distillation of their obvious musical chops and their songwriting chops, before they became arena rock darlings. I think it's subtle and understated and totally compelling. Quadrophenia is still my fave but Sell Out continues to close the gap with each listen. 4.5 🌟

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Sat Apr 09 2022
4

Good

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Sat Apr 30 2022
4

Different to what I expected. More psych and less plod

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Sun May 01 2022
4

A little weirder than their other albums, I really enjoyed this.

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Wed May 11 2022
4

Rock de The Who. Ningún megahit. Se me ha hecho largo para ser vinilo. Un 4.

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