"Long Live Rock" was to have been included Rock Is Dead—Long Live Rock!, a 1972 Who album which was also to have had an accompanying television special, before the album was shelved. Pete Townshend said of the song:
Well there are dozens of these self conscious hymns to the last fifteen years appearing now and here's another one. This was featured briefly in the film for which Keith made his acting debut, That'll Be The Day. Billy Fury sang it. This is most definitely the definitive version. I had an idea once for a new album about the history of The Who called Rock Is Dead—Long Live Rock!. That idea later blossomed into Quadrophenia.
Following its appearance on Odds & Sods, the song saw a 1974 single release in Israel, Italy (where it was backed with "Pure and Easy") and Japan (where it was backed with "Put the Money Down"). "Long Live Rock" also was featured during the credits of seminal 1979 Who documentary, The Kids Are Alright. Following this appearance, the song was released as a single in Britain, America, and many other countries. The single reached number 48 in Britain, as well as number 54 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 66 on the Cashbox charts.
A live version recorded by The Who at the BBC was released on their album BBC Sessions.