The 1st Singles Box
Audio CD | Import, Box Set
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UK box-set includes 11 classics singles, 'I Can't Explain' (1965), 'My Generation' (1965), 'Substitute' (1966), 'I'm A Boy' (1966), 'Happy Jack' (1967), 'Pictures Of Lily' (1967), 'I Can See For Miles' (1967), 'Pinball Wizard' (1967), 'Won't Get Fooled' (1971), '5.15' (1973), & 'Who Are You' (1978), with their original B-sides, & one new single 'Real Good Looking Boy' (b/w 'Old Red Wine). Each single is packaged in reproductions of picture sleeves from various worldwide releases & feature their original NME review. Includes 16 page booklet with photos, old adverts, & graphics. Polydor. 2004.
Top Customer Reviews
Each disc comes in an exact, cd-sized replica sleeve of the original 45. And not just sleeves from UK and US. Pictures of Lily comes in the French sleeve, Happy Jack the Norwegian sleeve, I Can See For Miles - Japanese, etc. The Who did right by fans with this box set. It's a thing of beauty.
As for the new songs, they're very good. It's great to hear Daltrey giving voice to Townshend's lyrics again. For the first time in decades their hearts are in it and it's palpable. If you're expecting Who's Next 2004 though you're in for a disappointment. These guys are 60. They've matured and so has their music. Old Red Wine and Real Good Looking Boy is where they are now. Dig it.
Oh, I don't know.
That the Who's reissue campaign started wonderfully and quickly descended into a misguided, poor-quality ego-fest (Live at Leeds Deluxe, anyone?) is almost canon by this point. This set shows that it's VERY possible to indeed sink farther into the hole. It's a singles collection, alright, of one of the principal 60s' singles bands, yet it manages to steadfastly *avoid* singles that include songs the reissue campaign missed (where's The Relay? When I Was a Boy? Here For More?). And rarities? Pah. We don't get any. *Everything* here, if I've got this right, has been released on CD previously; we don't even get the original single mixes of I Can See for Miles (stereo!) or Happy Jack (fake stereo!) tossed our way. The sound quality is generally fairly abysmal.
Verdict? If done right, this set could've filled a niche. It doesn't. It sounds awful, contains nothing of even remote interest to collectors, and is just another entry in the Who's endless, misguided compilation-athon. Oh well. Avoid like the plague.
Despite Roger Daltrey saying in a recent interview that he thought The Who's best work was yet to come, the new recordings are very poor (and available elsewhere). As per the previous review, there is only one rarity on offer to interest the collector.
If you are contemplating buying this set then make better use of the money. Buy a singles compilation and donate the rest to charity. The Who has siphoned enough money from its audience and whatever integrity it used to have, in terms of the way it gave its fans value for money, has long since been dissipated.
This band used to provide superb entertainment and it is sad to see it so washed up, but determined to cash in. It's a bit like seeing a much loved family pet with a terminal illness. There comes a point when it is kindest to put the animal out of its suffering and remember the good times.