The Who: Happy Jack (A Quick One)


APRIL 1966 (46 YEARS AGO)
The Who: Happy Jack (A Quick One) is released in the US.
# ALL THINGS MUSIC PLUS+ 4.5/5
# allmusic 4.5/5
# Rolling Stone (see original review below)
Happy Jack (renamed A Quick One) is the second album by The Who, released in April, 1966. The American record company executives at Decca Records released the album under the title Happy Jack, rather than the sexually suggestive title of the original UK release, and due to “Happy Jack” being a top 40 hit in the US this track replaced a cover of the Holland–Dozier–Holland hit Heat Wave) which was included on the original UK version of the album. In 2003, the album was ranked number 383 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
This is widely regarded by fans to have been a pivotal album for the group, due to the departure from the R&B/pop formula featured on the band’s first release. Part of the marketing push for the album was a requirement that each band member should write at least two of the songs on it (although Roger Daltrey only wrote one), so this Who album is the least dominated by Pete Townshend’s writing.
The album was also the band’s first foray into the form of rock opera, with “A Quick One, While He’s Away”, the title track of the LP, a nine-minute suite of song snippets telling a story of infidelity and reconciliation. The Who would later go on to write and record the full scale rock operas Tommy and Quadrophenia.
The album was intended to be pop music, a sonic participant in the pop art movement. The cover was designed by the pop art exponent Alan Aldridge, with the front cover depicting the band playing their instruments. The back cover is a black-and-white photo montage of the band members accompanied by a short personality sketch of each (infamous among Who fans for Keith Moon’s humorous assertion that he was keen on “breeding chickens”). A track listing, a couple of paragraphs touting the band, an ad for their first album, and a technical blurb are also crowded onto the back cover.
The blurb reveals the recording technology of the time by announcing “This is a high-fidelity record! For proper reproduction use RIAA or a similar Record Compensator setting.” The album was recorded at IBC Studios, Pye Studios and Regent Sound, in London, England in 1966 with Kit Lambert as the record producer.
REVIEW
by Richie Unterberger, allmusic
The Who’s second album is a less impressive outing than their debut, primarily because, at the urging of their managers, all four members penned original material (though Pete Townshend wrote more than anyone else). The pure adrenaline of My Generation also subsided somewhat as the band began to grapple with more complex melodic and lyrical themes, especially on the erratic mini-opera “A Quick One While He’s Away.” Still, there’s some great madness on Keith Moon’s instrumental “Cobwebs and Strange,” and Townshend delivered some solid mod pop with “Run Run Run” and “So Sad About Us.” John Entwistle was also revealed to be a writer of considerable talent (and a morbid bent) on “Whiskey Man” and “Boris the Spider.”
TRACKS:
Side One                                             
1              Run Run Run (Townshend)     2:43
2              Boris the Spider (John Entwistle)               2:29
3              I Need You          (Moon)                2:25
4              Whiskey Man    (Entwistle)          2:57
5              Cobwebs and Strange    (Moon)                2:31
6              Happy Jack          (Townshend)    
                                               
Side Two                                             
7              Don’t Look Away              (Townshend)     2:54
8              See My Way       (Daltrey)              1:53
9              So Sad About Us               (Townshend)     3:04
10            A Quick One, While He’s Away  (Townshend)     9:10
                                               
1995 Bonus Tracks                                          
11           Batman                (Neal Hefti)        1:37
12           Bucket T (Dean Torrence/Roger Christian/D.Altfeld) 2:12
13           Barbara Ann       (Fred Fassert)    2:12
14           Disguises             (Townshend)     3:12
15           Doctor, Doctor                  (Entwistle)          2:59
16           I’ve Been Away                 (Entwistle)          2:08
17           In the City           (Entwistle/Moon)            2:21
18           Happy Jack (Acoustic version)    (Townshend)     2:55
19           Man With Money (incorrectly titled ‘Man With The Money’)        (Don Everly/Phil Everly)                2:45
20           My Generation/Land of Hope and Glory               (Townshend/Edward Elgar)         2:05
                                               
1974 re-release                                
All songs written by Townshend except where noted.                                  
Run Run Run                                     
Boris the Spider (Entwistle)                                        
I Need You (Moon)                                        
Whiskey Man (Entwistle)                                            
Heat Wave (Holland/Dozier/Holland)                                     
Cobwebs and Strange (Moon)                                  
Don’t Look Away                                             
See My Way (Daltrey)                                   
So Sad About Us                                              
A Quick One, While He’s Away                                  
Happy Jack                                         
A QUICK ONE
Side One                                             
No.         Title       Writer(s)              Length
1              Run Run Run      (Townshend)     2:43
2              Boris the Spider                (John Entwistle)               2:29
3              I Need You          (Moon)                2:25
4              Whiskey Man    (Entwistle)          2:57
5              Heat Wave (B. Holland/Lamont Dozier/Edward Holland)          1:57
6              Cobwebs and Strange    (Moon)                2:31
                                               
Side Two                                             
1              Don’t Look Away              (Townshend)     2:54
2              See My Way       (Daltrey)              1:53
3              So Sad About Us               (Townshend)     3:04
4              A Quick One, While He’s Away  (Townshend)     9:10
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