5-7-13 A&Ring The Who
5-7-83: Robert Wyatt “Shipbuilding” 45 charts at No. 35 in England.
Their career began at Phonogram UK on Fontana Records as The High Numbers., “I’m The Face” – a neat 45, approx. 1964/5! Producer Shel Talmy took them to Brunswick Records, a sub label of Decca UK for their debut album “My Generation” and a slew of 45’s. A deal got worked out for US Decca Records, via the MCA company in Universal City, CA – this deal stuck for 15 years!
Managers Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp brought The Who to Robert Stigwood’s label, Reaction Records, via Polydor Records; almost immediately, someone at Polydor UK licensed a 45 to Atco Records, “Substitute”. Rather quickly, Lambert & Stamp set up Track Record, via Polydor UK – so only 1 LP and a few 45’s on Reaction Records for The Who. The Who are on US Decca throughout these negotiations.
From approx. 1968 until 1974 or so, all product from The Who (including solo projects) are released via Track Record UK and on Decca or MCA Records in the US, usually on the Track Record imprint. Yet, once Track record got wound down, The Who released albums and 45’s on Polydor Records UK in the UK, and remained with Decca US until the end of the 70’s.
With Keith Moon indisposed, The Who signed to Warner Brothers Records in the US, but remained signed to Polydor UK. That scenario only lasted for 2 albums and some singles, after which everything came from Polydor UK or Decca / MCA US – who eventually absorbed the Warner Brothers titles into their re-issue program.
John Entwistle released all of his solo works issued during his lifetime via Track Record UK and all ended up on Decca / MCA US, except for his final proper studio LP, which was on Atco Records – the same place as Pete Townshend’s solo career (Atco US or Atlantic UK); Roger Daltrey eventually signed with Virgin Records UK for a couple of albums, before departing to the indie world. Townshend set up Eelpie Records, so some of his stuff comes from there now; in the last few years, the entire Townshend catalogue was been re-released via Universal Records US (still the MCA / Decca connection?).
The evolving scenario of where The Who are signed is an always amusing topic. The proper albums by The Who usually remain available; some of the solo works go in and out of print, but they usually stay in print – although I’ve been told that the deal with Townshend and Universal may be over – as the availability of his 80’s solo work seems to be in question, at present.
Long Live Rock!