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Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy

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Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy
Compilation album by
ReleasedNovember 1971 (1971-11)[1]
The Who chronology
Who's Next
Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy

Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy is a compilation album of singles by English 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,[2] and the UK chart on 3 December 1971, peaking at number 9.


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 their other manager Bill Curbishley had failed to clear it with Lambert.

Several songs on the album had previously been released on studio albums. The Who's debut My Generation included the tracks "A Legal Matter" and "The Kids Are Alright"; A Quick One included "Boris the Spider", the one song written by John Entwistle, 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.

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. "I'm a Boy" is represented by an alternate longer and slower version that was recorded three months after the original single release. Most of the tracks on this album would appear in subsequent compilations.


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 album's original title was The Who Looks Back.

On the front cover the Who are looking at four children, one of whom is 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 the Who became a regular attraction there from June 1964, shortly after Keith Moon joined the band, performing every Tuesday night. It was here that Kit Lambert, their manager, first saw the band,[3] 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.[4] The band were filmed at the venue on 11 August – a copy of the recording turning up in 2002.[3] The hotel was destroyed by fire in March 2000, after becoming empty and vandalised.[5] 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.[6]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Christgau's Record GuideA−[8]
The Encyclopedia of Popular Music[9]
MusicHound Rock5/5[10]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[11]
Tom Hull – on the WebA+[12]

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".[8] 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?"[13] In 1987, Rolling Stone ranked it number 99 on their list of the 100 best albums of the period 1967–1987.[citation needed]

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" (US edit)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, Townshend2:42
2."Pinball Wizard" 2:59
3."A Legal Matter" 2:48
4."Boris the Spider"John Entwistle2:28
5."Magic Bus" (extended version) 4:33
6."Substitute" 3:49
7."I'm a Boy" (extended version) 3:41
Total length:23:00


The Who[edit]

Additional personnel[edit]


Chart performance for Meaty Beaty Big and Bounce
Chart (1971) Peak
UK Albums Chart[14] 9
US Billboard Pop Albums[15] 11


Certifications for Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy
Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[16] Platinum 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ "The Great Rock Discography". p. 869.
  2. ^ https://www.allmusic.com/artist/p5822
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ "'Who I Am': Rock icon Pete Townshend tells his story" . MSNBC. Retrieved 23 November 2012
  5. ^ Christian Duffin: "Fire destroys the home of rock legends" Archived 14 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Historic England. "THE RAILWAY HOTEL (1440043)". Research records (formerly PastScape). Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  7. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy at AllMusic. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  8. ^ 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 robertchristgau.com.
  9. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195313734.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ "The Who: Album Guide". rollingstone.com. Archived from the original on 6 February 2011. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  12. ^ Hull, Tom (n.d.). "Grade List: The Who". Tom Hull – on the Web. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  13. ^ Marsh, Dave (February 1972). "The Who: Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy". Creem. Retrieved 16 July 2018 – via Rock's Backpages.
  14. ^ "Official Charts Company – The Who". Official Charts Company. 23 July 2012.
  15. ^ "The Who Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved 26 September 2023.
  16. ^ "American album certifications – The Who – Meaty, Beaty, Big & Bouncy". Recording Industry Association of America.

External links[edit]