Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy is a compilation album of singles by British 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 #11, and the UK chart on 3 December 1971, peaking at #9. In 1987, Rolling Stone magazine ranked it #99 on their list of the 100 best albums of the period 1967–1987.
Every track on the album with the exception of "Boris the Spider", the one song written by John Entwistle, had been released as a single in the UK, with all except "A Legal Matter", "Magic Bus", and "The Seeker" being top ten hits. "Happy Jack", "I Can See for Miles", "Magic Bus", and "Pinball Wizard" had also been Top 40 hits in the US. It was compiled by Pete Townshend over objection by manager Kit Lambert, who tried 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 Bill Curbishley had failed to clear it with Lambert.
The album title is referential of traits of the members of the band, Meaty: Daltrey, who was quite fit at the time, Beaty: Moon, for his drumming, Big: Entwistle, who was a large person, often referred to as "The Ox", and Bouncy: Townshend, who jumped about quite acrobatically during performances.
The original vinyl album featured a longer alternate studio take of "Magic Bus" in fake stereo which was not included on the original compact disc version, because the true stereo or mono source could not be found for the long version of the song. However, on 25 July 2007, Universal Japan re-released the album in a mini-LP sleeve that includes the long alternate version of "Magic Bus" in fake stereo, as with the original album.
Album cover and photographs 
The album's original title was The Who Looks Back and the front cover was meant to illustrate that—The Who can be seen looking at four children representing each member of the band in their childhood years. However, the children pictured are actually four kids rounded up in 1971 and dressed up in mid 1950s clothes in order to look like the Who's members as small boys. One of the boys is Who manager Bill Curbishley's younger brother Paul.
The panoramic photograph gracing the album's inside cover is an exterior shot of the side of the Railway Hotel, a pub that was sited on the bridge next to Harrow and Wealdstone railway station in north-west London. The Railway Hotel was a popular hangout for Mods and soon after Keith Moon joined the band, The Who became a regular attraction there from June 1964, performing every Tuesday night. It was 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. In the album photograph, a poster advertising a 18 May performance by The Who dates from 1965; however, the photograph itself was actually taken in 1971.
The Railway Hotel was destroyed by fire in March 2000, after many years of running at a loss. The site is now occupied by four small blocks of flats, each of which is named after a member of the band. The cover makes a brief appearance as an in-joke / sight gag on the episode of The Simpsons that features The Who, "A Tale of Two Springfields."
Song notes 
Several songs on the album had previously been released on long-playing album. The Who's debut My Generation included the title track, "A Legal Matter", and "The Kids Are Alright". A Quick One included "Boris the Spider" 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. That album features an alternate mix of the "I'm a Boy" single recording, which appeared later in abbreviated form on the Limited Edition bonus disc to the Ultimate Collection compilation. Most of the tracks on this album would also appear on many subsequent compilations of Who material.
Track listing 
All songs written by Pete Townshend except where noted.
Additional personnel 
Sales chart performance 
||Billboard Pop Albums
|UK Chart Albums
Sales certifications 
|RIAA – U.S.
||17 January 1972
||8 February 1993
External links