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Sunday, 15 January 2017

45RPM: #124 I Can't Explain - The Who (1965)

On this day in musical history the debut single release from The Who arrived. We could argue that it was actually their second single as the debut released under the name of The High Numbers had been released in July 1964 Zoot Suit / I'm The Face. But for today's purpose we are saying it's the Debut Single (at least the first released under the banner of The Who).

It would enter the charts in February 1965 at #45 and hit its highest peak (#8) in April before ending a 13 week run on the charts at #29 in May.

The song has been a fixture of the live shows for many decades now and has been the opening number for the past couple of tours (Check out a performance from 2015 in Dublin).

It's amazing to think that the song is 52 years old!  All good music, no matter the age, continues to sound great.

The opening riff of course sounds like they borrowed it from The Kinks (and that's a discussion for another time and place!) and The Clash liked it so much they "used it" as inspiration for two songs - Clash City Rockers and Guns On The Roof. Bowie recorded it for his Pinups album in 1973 and Yvonne Elliman released it adding a woman's perspective to it also in 1973.

I Can't Explain / Bald Headed Woman
Produced by Shel Talmy
Released 15th January 1965
UK Chart #8
French Chart #14
US Chart #93



    Roger Daltrey - lead vocals, tambourine
    Pete Townshend - lead and rhythm 12-string guitar, handclaps
    John Entwistle - bass guitar, handclaps
    Keith Moon - drums, handclaps
    The Ivy League - backing vocals
    Perry Ford - piano
    Jimmy Page - rhythm guitar (recording session)

Other Releases of I Can't Explain

Bald Headed Woman was considered the A-Side and I Can't Explain the B-Side on the Italian release on Decca

It was also the A-Side on the release of the single in Denmark on Brunswick!

Bald Headed Woman was also the A-Side on the New Zealand & Australia releases on Festival Records!
When reissued 1967 in Australia I Can't Explain was given the A-Side

French EP Picture Sleeve released on Brunswick

Notice that Bald Headed Woman is misprinted as Blad Headed Woman (this appears on both sides of the sleeve)!

Picture Sleeve for German release on Brunswick

US Release on Decca

Canadian Release on Decca
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