This deluxe reissue includes three bonus live tracks taken from their historic 1976 performance at the Swansea Football Ground!
This 1975 collection excels in large part due to its modest goal. It's the Who's singer-songwriter record. Without the ostensible shield his "rock operas" provided, Pete Townshend's personal demons strut about nakedly. Not a pretty sight, but an involving spectacle nevertheless. "They Are All in Love" and "How Many Friends" are forgotten Who songs, but they've aged beautifully. John Entwistle's "Success Story" sequences nicely with the rest of the album. And "However Much I Booze," "Dreaming from the Waist," and "In a Hand or a Face" are great decade-early exercises in mid-life self-pity. There are only three bonus tracks here--live versions of "Squeeze Box," "Dreaming from the Waist," and the earlier "Behind Blue Eyes"--but By Numbers
is such a cohesive collection that they're less welcome extras than annoying distractions. Still, By Numbers
now stands as one of the linchpins in a great band's catalog. --Steven Stolder