A Quick One

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A Quick One
Studio album by The Who
Released 9 December 1966
Recorded September–November 1966 at IBC Studios and Pye Studios, London, England
Genre Rock
Length 31:48
Label Reaction/Polydor (UK)
Decca, MCA (US)
Producer Kit Lambert
The Who chronology
Ready Steady Who
A Quick One
The Who Sell Out
Singles from A Quick One
  1. "Happy Jack"
    Released: 2 December 1966
  2. "Boris the Spider"
    Released: 1967
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars link
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars link

A Quick One is the second studio album by English rock band The Who, released in 1966. The album was also released under the title Happy Jack on Decca Records in the United States, where the song "Happy Jack" was a top 40 hit.

Rolling Stone magazine ranked the album #383 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, published in 2003.

Composition and production[edit]

The Who's second studio album departs from the R&B emphasis of the first. 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, though Roger Daltrey only wrote one (See My Way), so this is The Who album least dominated by Pete Townshend's songwriting. It was recorded at IBC Studios, Pye Studios and Regent Sound, in London, England in 1966 with Kit Lambert as the record producer.

"Boris the Spider" was written after John Entwistle had been out drinking with Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman. They were making up funny names for animals when Entwistle came up with the song. The chorus utilises vocals that influenced the vocal style of death metal singers.[citation needed]

"Heat Wave", the only cover-version and the only reversion to the group's soul influences, a song by Tamla's Holland-Dozier-Holland team, was replaced by "Happy Jack" on the original US release but included on the 1974 double album repackaging of A Quick One and The Who Sell Out.

"A Quick One, While He's Away", the title track of the LP, is a nine-minute suite of song snippets telling a story of infidelity and reconciliation, a first foray into extended form that led to the so-called "rock operas" Tommy and Quadrophenia.

"Boris the Spider" quickly became Entwistle's most popular song, still performed decades later: in later years he often wore a spider necklace. "Happy Jack", though quirky, remains a favourite.

Keith Moon's "I Need You", was originally titled "I Need You (Like I Need a Hole in the Head)". Moon thought The Beatles spoke in a secret language behind his back, and this song was his way of getting back at them. Although Moon denied that a vocal part in the song was a John Lennon imitation, Entwistle said that, in fact, it was.[1]

"Cobwebs and Strange" was originally called "Showbiz Sonata", though Entwistle claimed that the melody came from the UK television series Man From Interpol.[1]

The mod/pop number "So Sad About Us", according to Allmusic, is "one of the Who's most covered songs".[2] The Merseys, Shaun Cassidy, Primal Scream, The Breeders and The Jam have recorded studio versions.

Each band member played a wind instrument on "Cobwebs and Strange": Townshend played the penny-whistle, Entwistle on the French horn and Daltrey on the trombone.

Cover art[edit]

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,[3] with the front cover depicting the band playing their instruments. The back cover of the UK release is black, with the title and track listing across the top, and a colour head-shot photograph of each band member with the letters of "The W H O" superimposed individually over their faces.[4] The back cover of the US release 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 of the US release.[5]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Pete Townshend, except where noted.

A Quick One[edit]

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Run Run Run" ([a]) 2:43
2. "Boris the Spider" (John Entwistle) 2:29
3. "I Need You" (Keith Moon) 2:25
4. "Whiskey Man" (Entwistle) 2:57
5. "Heat Wave" (Brian Holland/Lamont Dozier/Edward Holland) 1:57
6. "Cobwebs and Strange" (Moon) 2:31
Side two
No. Title Length
7. "Don't Look Away"   2:54
8. "See My Way" (Roger Daltrey) 1:53
9. "So Sad About Us"   3:04
10. "A Quick One, While He's Away"
  • I. "Her Man's Gone"
  • II. "Crying Town"
  • III. "We Have a Remedy"
  • IV. "Ivor the Engine Driver"
  • V. "Soon Be Home"
  • VI. "You Are Forgiven"  
1995 Bonus tracks
No. Title Original release Length
11. "Batman" (Neal Hefti) Ready Steady Who 1:37
12. "Bucket T" (Dean Torrence, Roger Christian, Donald J. Altfeld) Ready Steady Who 2:12
13. "Barbara Ann" (Fred Fassert) Ready Steady Who 2:12
14. "Disguises"   Ready Steady Who 3:12
15. "Doctor, Doctor" (Entwistle) B-side of 'Pictures of Lily' 2:59
16. "I've Been Away" (Entwistle) B-side of 'Happy Jack' 2:08
17. "In the City" (John Entwistle, Moon) B-side of 'I'm a Boy' 2:21
18. "Happy Jack (Acoustic version)"   Previously unreleased 2:55
19. "Man with the Money" (Don Everly, Phil Everly) Previously unreleased 2:45
20. "My Generation/Land of Hope and Glory" (Townshend/Edward Elgar) Previously unreleased 2:05

1 The mono version fades out sooner, giving it a total running time of 2:33.[6]

Happy Jack[edit]

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Run Run Run"   2:44
2. "Boris the Spider"   2:30
3. "I Need You"   2:25
4. "Whiskey Man"   2:57
5. "Cobwebs and Strange"   2:31
6. "Happy Jack"   2:11
Side two
No. Title Length
1. "Don't Look Away"   2:53
2. "See My Way"   1:53
3. "So Sad About Us"   3:04
4. "A Quick One, While He's Away"   9:10
1974 re-release
No. Title Length
1. "Run Run Run"    
2. "Boris the Spider"    
3. "I Need You"    
4. "Whiskey Man"    
5. "Heat Wave"    
6. "Cobwebs and Strange"    
7. "Don't Look Away"    
8. "See My Way"    
9. "So Sad About Us"    
10. "A Quick One, While He's Away"    
11. "Happy Jack"    

Jigsaw Puzzle[edit]

An early version of the Who's second album was to be titled Jigsaw Puzzle.[1] Its preliminary running order consisted of the following tracks:

No. Title Length
1. "I'm a Boy" (Slow version, released on Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy) 3:41
2. "Run Run Run"   2:44
3. "Don't Look Away"   2:55
4. "Circles" (Version 2) 2:27
5. "I Need You"   2:25
6. "Cobwebs and Strange"   2:32
7. "In the City"   2:21
8. "Boris the Spider"   2:29
9. "Whiskey Man"   3:00
10. "See My Way"   3:04
11. "Heat Wave"   1:57
12. "Barbara Ann"   2:00


Sales chart performance[edit]

Year Chart Position
1966 UK Chart Albums 4[7]
Year Single Chart Position
1967 "Happy Jack" Billboard Pop Singles 24[8]
1966 "Happy Jack" UK Singles Charts 3[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "The Hypertext Who – Liner Notes – A Quick One". Thewho.net. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  2. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/song/t3563653
  3. ^ Liner notes to the CD reissue
  4. ^ "Images of A Quick One". Discogs.com. 
  5. ^ "Images of Happy Jack". Discogs.com. 
  6. ^ "The Who – Run Run Run (Original MONO Mix) – YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "The Who at". Chartstats.com. Archived from the original on 23 Jul 2012. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  8. ^ "The Who Official Band Website – Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle, and Keith Moon , , A Quick One". Thewho.com. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  • Many of the factual details in this article are derived from the insert to the remastered CD of 1995 (MCAD-11267).

External links[edit]