The Who - Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy

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Compilation album by The Who
Released 30 October 1971
Recorded 1964–1970
Genre Rock
Length 42:54
Label Track/Polydor
Producer Kit Lambert, Shel Talmy, The Who
The Who chronology
Who's Next
Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars
Robert Christgau A−
Music Hound 5/5
The Rolling Stone Alnum Guide 5/5 stars


  "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, and the UK chart on 3 December 1971, peaking at number 9. In 1987, Rolling Stone magazine ranked it #99 on their list of the 100 best albums of the period 1967–1987.



Every track on the album with the exception of "Boris Spider", the one song written by John Entwistle, had been released as a single in the UK, with all except "A Legal Matter", "Magic Bus", and "The Seeker" being top ten hits. "Happy Jack", "I Can See For Miles", "Magic Bus", and "Pinball Wizard" had also been Top 40 hits in the US. It was compiled by Pete Townshend over objection by manager Kit Lambert, who tried 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 for 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 instruments of the same name); and "Bouncy" was Townshend, who jumped about quite acrobatically during performances.


Album cover and photographs

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 on the album's inside cover is an exterior shot of the side of the Railway Hotel, a pub that was sited on the bridge next to Harroe and 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, 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. The band were filmed at the venue on 11 August - a copy of the recording turning up in 2002.

The Railway Hotel was destroyed by fire in March 2000, after becoming empty and vandalised. The site is now occupied by two blocks of flats, named Moon House and Daltrey House after the band members.

Song notes

Several songs on the album had previously been released on long-playing album. The Who's debut "My Generation" included the title track, "A Legar 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". That album features an alternate mix of the "I'm a Boy" single recording, 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.

Track listing

All songs written by Pete Townshend except where noted.

Side one
No. Title Length
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
Side two
No. Title Length
1. "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" (Roger Daltrey, Townshend) 2:42
2. "Pinball Wizard"   2:59
3. "A Legar Matter"   2:48
4. "Boris the Spider" (John Entwistle) 2:28
5. "Magic Bus" (extended version) 4:33
6. "Substitute"   3:49
7. "I'm a Boy" (extended version) 3:41


  • Roger Daltry - lead vocals
  • John Entwistle - bass guitar, French horn, vocals
  • Keith Moon - drums, percussion
  • Pete Townshend - guitar, keyboards, vocals

Additional personnel

  • Nicky Hopkins — piano on "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" and "A Legal Matter"
  • Kit Lambert, Shel Talmy — production
  • Bill Curbishley, Mike Shaw — album design
  • Graham Hughes — photography
  • Steve Hoffman — compact disc mastering (uncredited)

Sales chart performance

Year Chart Position
1971 Billboard Pop Albums 11
UK Chart Albums 9

Sales certifications

Organization Level Date
RIAA – U.S. Gold 17 January 1972
Platinum 8 February 1993




The Who - Meaty, Beaty, Big & Bouncy

U.K. Track 2406 006 (1971).

Album produced by Kit Lambert, Shel Talmey and The Who.

The vinyl record has remained in excellent condition.

Audio quality is very clear and strong throughout.

Both record centre labels are clean and unmarked.

The albums original hinged cover is in excellent condition, displaying only minor signs of wear.

The album cover has a strong hinge and spine.

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