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Who Are You

Who Are You is the eighth studio album by English rock band the
Who Are You
Who, released on 18 August 1978 by Polydor Records in the
United Kingdom and MCA Records in the United States. The
album received mixed reviews from critics, though it was a
commercial success, peaking at number 2 on the US charts and
number 6 on the UK charts.[1]

Who Are You was the Who's last album to feature Keith Moon as
their drummer, who died three weeks after it was released. The
ironic nature of the text "Not to Be Taken Away" that was
stencilled on Moon's chair on the album cover was noted by some

Studio album by the Who

Released 18 August 1978
Contents Recorded September 1977 – April
Composition 1978
Overview Studio Ramport Studios,
"Sister Disco" Battersea; Olympic
"Empty Glass" Studios; RAK Studios,
Reception St John's Wood and
Pete Townshend's own
Live performances
studio in Goring-on-
Track listing
Genre Hard rock
Personnel Length 42:13
The Who
Label Polydor · MCA
Additional musicians
Producer Glyn Johns · Jon Astley
Album The Who chronology
Singles The Story Who Are The Kids
of The Who You Are Alright
(1976) (1978) (1979)
Singles from Who Are You
External links
1. "Who Are You" / "Had Enough"
Released: 14 July 1978
Composition 2. "Trick of the Light" / "905"
Released: 2 December 1978
Who Are You was recorded at the time when punk rock became highly popular. However, this was not
reflected in the album's music, which incorporates elements of progressive rock and, according to
biographer Tony Fletcher, it was produced in such a way as to appeal to commercial rock radio at the
time.[3] The album showcased some of Townshend's most complicated arrangements, with multiple
layers of synthesizer and strings. Many of the songs also revisited themes from Townshend's long-
contemplated Lifehouse project, featuring lyrics about songwriting and music as a metaphor for life, as
indicated by titles like "Guitar and Pen", "New Song", "Music Must Change", and "Sister Disco".[4] The
latter two, along with "Who Are You", ultimately appeared on Lifehouse Chronicles, Townshend's later
actualization of the project. Several of the song's lyrics also reflect Townshend's uncertainty about the
Who's continued relevance in the wake of punk rock,[5] and his dissatisfaction with the music industry.[6]

There was a three-year hiatus between Who Are You and the Who's previous album, The Who by
Numbers. The band was drifting apart during this period, as band members were working on various solo
projects, and Moon was driving deeper into drug and alcohol abuse. The initial sessions at Ramport
Studios, produced by Glyn Johns and Jon Astley, were lackadaisical; Jon Astley recalled that "no one
wanted to work", and the members looked forward more to drinking and reminiscing at six in the
evening.[3] Astley felt that he and Johns pushed Moon too hard to play a simpler style, while Johns
believed that Moon had "lost confidence in his ability" and would deliberately go out of his way to resist
his suggestions.[5]

Moon's health was especially an object of concern, as his drumming skills had noticeably deteriorated
and his performances for most of the sessions were substandard. He was unable to play in 6/8 time on the
track "Music Must Change", so the drums were removed completely from the track, and replaced with
the sound of footsteps and a few cymbal crashes. Bassist John Entwistle remarked that Moon "couldn't
think of anything to play."[7] On another occasion, Astley recalled, "I was doing a drum track, and he
hadn't learned the song. I actually had to stand up and conduct. He said, 'Can you give me a cue when
you get to the middle part?' [...] He hadn't done his homework."[8] Entwistle similarly described Moon as
"really out of condition", and "disgusted with himself" as a result.[9]

The recording was further delayed when lead singer Roger Daltrey underwent throat surgery, and when
during a lengthy Christmas break, Townshend sliced his hand in a window during an argument with his
parents. Former Zombies and Argent member Rod Argent was also called in to replace session
keyboardist John "Rabbit" Bundrick after Bundrick suffered a broken arm falling out of a taxi at the
studio door.[9] When the sessions resumed in March, they were moved to RAK Studios, which caused
further delays due to the equipment malfunctioning, including the wiping of a backing track. Astley
stated that the RAK equipment made the existing material sound different when played back,
necessitating further delays as he attempted to fix the audio problems.[9] In one incident, Daltrey punched
Johns in the face due to an argument over a rough mix, rendering him unconscious.[9] The argument was
fueled by Ted Astley adding a string arrangement to "Had Enough", which Daltrey derided as
"slushy".[10] After a long and frustrating day, Townshend planned to fire Moon from the band unless he
cleaned up his act.[9] The plan drove Moon to attempt to kick his alcohol habit and work more
enthusiastically. Due to a prior commitment to produce the Joan Armatrading album To the Limit, Johns
had to leave in April, with Astley remaining as sole producer. Under Astley's command, the sessions
returned to Ramport, with all of the drums except for "Who Are You" recorded in the last two weeks of
production.[7] Who Are You was released on 18 August 1978.
Moon died on 7 September 1978, just under a month after the album's release; on the cover, he is shown
sitting in a chair labelled "Not to be taken away". Photographer Terry O'Neil had insisted Moon sit with
the back of the chair facing the camera so as to hide his distended stomach, a result of his

"Sister Disco"
"Sister Disco" seemed to mourn the death of disco, although it could be construed to be a criticism of it.
It featured complicated synthesiser tracks that were the result of hours Townshend spent programming an
ARP 2600 synthesiser.[4]

The song was never performed with Moon. However, it was performed regularly when the Who toured
with Kenney Jones as drummer, and quickly became a live favourite. It was included on the band's 2002
Ultimate Collection album. It was also revived for their fall 2008 tour.[4]

"Empty Glass"
The song "Empty Glass" appeared as a bonus track on reissues of the album. The lyrics in this version
were notable for having more suicidal undertones than those in the final version, which appeared on Pete
Townshend's 1980 solo album Empty Glass. Most notably, the line, "Killing each other, then we jump off
the ledge" was changed to "Killing each other by driving a wedge" for the latest version.

The album was a commercial success, going 2×
Professional ratings
platinum in the US and Canada, gold in UK, and
peaking at number 2 on the Billboard Pop Albums Review scores
chart. The soundtrack to Grease prevented Who Are Source Rating
You from achieving number 1 status in the US. The
AllMusic [12]
success of Who Are You generated excitement at the
prospect of a new Who tour for the album. The songs Christgau's Record Guide B+[13]
on the album were later performed on tour in 1979, MusicHound Rock 3/5[14]
when the Who were joined by new drummer Kenney
Rolling Stone (favourable)[15]
Jones and keyboardist John Bundrick. Bundrick had
The Rolling Stone Album Guide [16]
been invited to play on the album, but broke his arm
falling out of a taxi at the studio door and was unable
to participate.

Reviewing in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981), Robert Christgau said:
"Every time I concentrate I get off on some new detail in Daltrey's singing or Townshend's lyrics or
Entwistle's bass parts--though not in Moon's drumming, and I still don't relate to the synthesizer. But I
never learn anything new, and this is not my idea of fun rock and roll. It ought to be one or the other, if
not both."[13]

Live performances
Across the band's entire career, just slightly less than half of the album has been played live.
"Who Are You" was the first of the album's songs to be performed live; this was at a concert in the band's
1976 tour at the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Ontario, albeit in a very raw and abbreviated version
extremely different from the finished product. Another early and abbreviated live performance with
Moon can be found on the DVD The Who at Kilburn: 1977. It was also played as part of the encore for
the Who's 2012 "Quadrophenia and More" tour.

On the Who's 1979 tour, only four songs were played live: "Sister Disco", "Music Must Change", "Trick
of the Light", and "Who Are You". On that tour, "Sister Disco" was played quite close to the studio
version, except that the guitar outro was changed from country-style to a more bluesy one, except in
1989, where Townshend used acoustics, and 2008–09, where he could switch his Fender from 'electric
mode' to 'acoustic mode'. Townshend actually stated in an interview that this was one of his least
favourite songs to perform live (the other being "Dreaming from the Waist"), as Daltrey encouraged
Townshend to share a microphone whilst harmonizing on the final vocal tag, evoking a camaraderie
Townshend stated didn't really exist.[17] It was played in the tours of 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1989, 2008
and 2009.

"Music Must Change" was often given an extended workout live, with performances usually ranging
from seven to nine minutes. It was played in the 1979, 1980 and 1981 tours; it was rehearsed for the 2002
tour, but Entwistle died before the start of that tour and the band were not able to perform the song.

The Who have not been known to play "New Song", "Had Enough", "905", "Guitar and Pen", and "Love
Is Coming Down". However, the John Entwistle Band used to play the Entwistle-penned songs.[18]

In 1985, MCA Records released the album on CD. There were no extra tracks on this CD, as it only
contained songs from the original LP.

In 1996, the album was reissued on CD. This re-release was remixed and remastered by Jon Astley and
Andy Macpherson; some of the elements from the original mixes were eliminated or changed, including
an alternate guitar track on "Music Must Change", while other elements were restored, such as "Trick of
the Light" being restored to its full length of 4:45. This remaster included five bonus tracks: outtakes
"Empty Glass" and "No Road Romance", and alternate mixes for "Guitar and Pen", "Love Is Coming
Down", and "Who Are You".

On 24 December 2011, Universal Japan reissued the original analogue mixes of the album on limited,
numbered edition SHM-CD, remastered by Jon Astley. The bonus tracks from the 1996 album were also
included using vintage mixes where possible; however, the full band version of "No Road Romance" was
included instead of Townshend's demo from the 1996 issue. The album was reissued in a miniature
replica of the vinyl album for CD. In 2014, the album was released in its original mixes on HDtracks and
iTunes, along with the rest of the Who's catalog.

Track listing
All songs written by Pete Townshend, except where noted.

Original LP Release and MCA Records 1985 CD re-release

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "New Song" 4:12
2. "Had Enough" (John Entwistle) 4:30
3. "905" (Entwistle) 4:02
4. "Sister Disco" 4:21
5. "Music Must Change" 4:37
Side two
No. Title Length
1. "Trick of the Light" (Entwistle) 4:48
2. "Guitar and Pen" 5:58
3. "Love Is Coming Down" 4:06
4. "Who Are You" 6:21
1996 remastered edition bonus tracks
No. Title Length
10. "No Road Romance" 5:05
11. "Empty Glass (Demo)" (Title Track for Pete Townshend's solo album Empty Glass) 6:23
12. "Guitar and Pen (Olympic '78 Mix)" 6:02
13. "Love Is Coming Down" (Work-in-Progress Mix)" 4:05
14. "Who Are You" (Lost Verse Mix)" 6:22


The Who
Roger Daltrey – lead vocals, percussion
Pete Townshend – guitars, backing vocals, piano, synthesizer, lead vocals on "Sister Disco"
(bridge), "No Road Romance" and "Empty Glass"
John Entwistle – bass guitar, backing vocals, synthesizer, brass on "Had Enough" and
"Music Must Change", lead vocals on "905"
Keith Moon – drums, percussion

Additional musicians
Rod Argent – synthesizer on "Had Enough", piano on "Who Are You", keyboards on "Guitar
and Pen" and (uncredited) "Love is Coming Down"
Ted Astley – string arrangement
Andy Fairweather-Low – backing vocals on "New Song", "Had Enough", "Guitar and Pen",
"Love Is Coming Down", and "Who Are You"
Billy Nicholls – backing vocals on "New Song" and "Had Enough"
Michael Nicholls — backing vocals on "Had Enough"


Year Chart Position

1978 Billboard Pop Albums 2[19]

1978 UK Chart Albums 6[20]


Year Single Chart Position

1978 "Who Are You"/"Had Enough" Billboard Pop Singles 14

1978 "Who Are You"/"Had Enough" UK Singles Chart 18[20]


Region Certification Certified units/sales

Canada (Music Canada)[21] 2× Platinum 200,000^

United Kingdom (BPI)[22] Gold 100,000^

United States (RIAA)[23] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone

^shipments figures based on certification alone

1. "The Who Official Band Website – Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle, and
Keith Moon , , Who Are You" (
ography_item_id=70&discography_tag=albums). Retrieved 15 May 2011.
2. Fletcher, Tony (1998). Dear Boy: The Life of Keith Moon. Omnibus Press. p. 416. ISBN 978-
3. Fletcher 1998, p. 408.
4. The Hypertext Who. Who Are You Liner Notes (
ms/WhoAreYou.html). Retrieved 22 April 2010.
5. Fletcher 1998, p. 409.
6. Townshend, Pete (2012). Who I Am. HarperCollins. pp. 265–7. ISBN 978-0062127242.
7. Fletcher 1998, p. 414.
8. Fletcher 1998, p. 412.
9. Fletcher 1998, p. 413.
10. "The Hypertext Who › Liner Notes › Who Are You" (
4043/ Archived from the
original ( on 1 July 2007.
11. Fletcher 1998, p. 416.
12. Who Are You ( at AllMusic
13. Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: W" (
chap.php?k=W&bk=70). Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor
& Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved 9 March 2019 – via
14. Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide
( Farmington Hills, MI: Visible
Ink Press. p. 1227 ( ISBN 1-
15. [1] (
16. "The Who: Album Guide" ( Archived from the original (ht
tps:// on 6 February 2011.
Retrieved 2 September 2015.
17. "The Who Least Favorite Songs To Play" (
nU). YouTube. 21 July 2009. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
18. Klemens Jaeger. "The Who Concert Guide: Concerts" (
eige_konzert.php?GroupID=3&Status=0&Jahr=1999). Retrieved 15 May
19. "Artist Chart History – The Who" ( AllMusic.
Retrieved 25 November 2009.
20. "The Who at" ( Official Charts Company. Retrieved
15 May 2011.
21. "Canadian album certifications – The Who – Who Are You" (
latinum/?_gp_search=Who+Are+You%20The+Who). Music Canada.
22. "British album certifications – The Who – Who Are You" (
certified/). British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in
the Certification field. Type Who Are You in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press
23. "American album certifications – The Who – Who Are You" (
Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format,
then select Album, then click SEARCH.

External links
Allmusic. Who Are You Credits ( Retrieved 27
December 2004.

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