Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy

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Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy
The who meaty beaty big and bouncy.jpg
Compilation album by
Released30 October 1971 (1971-10-30)
ProducerKit Lambert, Shel Talmy, The Who
The Who chronology
Who's Next
Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic5/5 stars[1]
Christgau's Record GuideA–[2]
MusicHound Rock5/5[3]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide5/5 stars[4]
Tom Hull – on the WebA+[5]

Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy is a compilation album of singles by British rock band The Who, released in 1971 as Track 2406 006 in the UK and as Decca DL 79184 in the US. It entered the US Billboard 200 chart on 20 November 1971, peaking at number 11,[6] and the UK chart on 3 December 1971, peaking at number 9.[7] In 1987, Rolling Stone ranked it number 99 on their list of the 100 best albums of the period 1967–1987.


Aside from two songs, "Boris the Spider" and "I'm a Boy", every track on the album had been released as a single in the UK; further, all except "A Legal Matter", "Magic Bus", and "The Seeker" were top ten hits. "Happy Jack", "I Can See for Miles", "Magic Bus", and "Pinball Wizard" had also been Top 40 hits in the US. "Boris the Spider", the one song written by John Entwistle, was taken from the album A Quick One, whilst "I'm a Boy" was an alternate longer and slower version recorded two months after the release of the original single.

Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy was compiled by Pete Townshend. The band's manager Kit Lambert attempted to have the track order changed but failed because too many copies had already been pressed. The UK release was held up because The Who and Bill Curbishley had failed to clear it with Lambert.

The album is named after the members of the band: "Meaty" is Daltrey, who was quite fit at the time; "Beaty" is Moon, for his drumming; "Big" is Entwistle, who was a large person, often referred to as "The Ox" (lending his nickname to the instrumental of the same name); and "Bouncy" was Townshend, who jumped about quite acrobatically during performances.

The original vinyl album featured a longer alternative studio take of "Magic Bus" in fake stereo which was not included on the original compact disc version, because the true stereo or mono source could not be found for the long version of the song. This longer take appeared on The Who Collection compilation in 1988. On 25 July 2007 Universal Japan re-released Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy in a mini-LP sleeve that included the long alternative version of "Magic Bus" in fake stereo, as with the original album.

In 2017 Polydor Records issued a remastered 180 gram vinyl LP of Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy using Half Speed Mastering techniques. This edition includes the same mixes of the songs found on the original 1971 issue.

Artwork and photographs[edit]

The album's original title was The Who Looks Back. On the front cover the Who are looking at four children, one of whom is Who manager Bill Curbishley's younger brother Paul.

The panoramic photograph featured on the inside cover of the gatefold vinyl packaging is an exterior shot of the side of the Railway Hotel, a pub that was sited on the bridge next to Harrow & Wealdstone station in north-west London. The Railway Hotel was a popular hangout for Mods and soon after Keith Moon joined the band, the Who became a regular attraction there from June 1964, performing every Tuesday night. It was here that Kit Lambert, their manager, first saw the band,[8] and here that Pete Townshend accidentally cracked his guitar's neck on the low ceiling above the stage. In response to laughter from the crowd, he then smashed his guitar for the first time in public; a gimmick he maintained for many years when playing live.[9] The band were filmed at the venue on 11 August – a copy of the recording turning up in 2002.[8]

The Railway Hotel was destroyed by fire in March 2000, after becoming empty and vandalised.[10] The site is now occupied by blocks of flats where the buildings, such as Moon House and Daltrey House, are named after the band members.[11]

Song notes[edit]

Several songs on the album had previously been released on long-playing albums. The Who's debut My Generation included the title track, "A Legal Matter", and "The Kids Are Alright". A Quick One included "Boris the Spider" and in its American configuration "Happy Jack." "I Can See for Miles" appeared on The Who Sell Out, and "Pinball Wizard" on Tommy. "Pictures of Lily" and "Magic Bus" previously appeared on the US compilation album Magic Bus: The Who on Tour. Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy features an alternative recording of "I'm a Boy", recorded 3 months after the original single release, which appeared later in abbreviated form on the Limited Edition bonus disc to the Ultimate Collection compilation. Most of the tracks on this album would also appear on many subsequent compilations of Who material.

Critical reception[edit]

Robert Christgau remarked that "In England, this is a greatest hits album [but] in the U.S., where some of these songs have never been released and most have never made the charts, it's a mishmash revelation".[2] Dave Marsh, however, greeted the collection as a disappointment for true fans because Townshend had publicly promised a rich, surprising, and comprehensive collection. Noting that less than half the tracks were new to the U.S. in any way, Marsh wrote somewhat bitterly on the predictable "greatest hits" nature of the tracklist: "Meaty Beaty isn't half what it pretends to be, nor is it anywhere near what it COULD have been. It's not the album we dreamed about, Peter, but since there's so much other stuff lying around unissued, do you think you could try it again?" At the time there were many rarities in the Who catalog – b-sides, demos, and other tracks that were UK-only, live, or previously unreleased – and Marsh complained, "Why reissue things for the second (third) time on an album when you have such an incredible backlog of material?"[12]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Pete Townshend except where noted.

Side one
1."I Can't Explain"2:05
2."The Kids Are Alright"2:45
3."Happy Jack"2:12
4."I Can See for Miles"4:06
5."Pictures of Lily"2:43
6."My Generation"3:18
7."The Seeker"3:11
Total length:20:20
Side two
1."Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" (Roger Daltrey, Townshend)2:42
2."Pinball Wizard"2:59
3."A Legal Matter"2:48
4."Boris the Spider" (John Entwistle)2:28
5."Magic Bus" (extended version)4:33
7."I'm a Boy" (extended version)3:41
Total length:23:00


The Who[edit]

Additional personnel[edit]


Year Chart Position
1971 Billboard Pop Albums 11[citation needed]
UK Chart Albums 9[7]


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[13] Platinum 1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy at AllMusic. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  2. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: W". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved 9 March 2019 – via
  3. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. pp. 1225, 1227. ISBN 1-57859-061-2.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  4. ^ "The Who: Album Guide". Archived from the original on 6 February 2011. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  5. ^ Hull, Tom (n.d.). "Grade List: The Who". Tom Hull – on the Web. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b "Official Charts Company – The Who". Official Charts Company. 23 July 2012.
  8. ^ a b Andy Neill, Matt Kent (26 August 2011). Anyway Anyhow Anywhere: The Complete Chronicle of the Who 1958–1978. Random House. p. 56. ISBN 9780753547977. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  9. ^ "'Who I Am': Rock icon Pete Townshend tells his story" . MSNBC. Retrieved 23 November 2012
  10. ^ Christian Duffin: "Fire destroys the home of rock legends" Archived 14 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Historic England. "THE RAILWAY HOTEL (1440043)". PastScape. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  12. ^ Marsh, Dave (February 1972). "The Who: Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy". Creem. Retrieved 16 July 2018 – via Rock's Backpages.
  13. ^ "American album certifications – The Who – Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]