The Who albums ranked 13 -7

After the Beatles, The Who are my favorite band. I was lucky enough to see them twice but not lucky enough to see them as nature intended…with Keith Moon. I’m going to attempt to rank 13 of their albums. I will not go by chart success or how many sold.

I usually would not include live albums but Live At Leeds is no ordinary live album. I’m also including Odds and Sods, an album of outtakes and rarities because of so few studio albums and it was released while they were still going strong.

This is 13 through 7… next will be 6 through 1



13. Endless Wire – 2006 – This album was released in 2006. Obviously, I’m not as close to this album as The Who’s other albums..but I’ve listened to it more recently than the other albums.  It’s a good album but the best way I can describe it is it’s not as defined as other albums and the mini-opera Wire and Glass can get tedious. There are some good songs such as Black Widow’s Eyes (the only song featuring Zac Starkey), A Man in a Purple Dress and the different but good  God Speaks of Marty Robbins… I will say that time has affected Rogers voice more than Petes. Petes voice sounds really good on this album. Roger does fine but age has treated Pete’s voice well.


1 Fragments
2 A Man In A Purple Dress
3 Mike Post Theme
4 In The Ether
5 Black Widow’s Eyes
6 Two Thousand Years
7 God Speaks Of Marty Robbins
8 It’s Not Enough
9 You Stand By Me
Wire & Glass (A Mini-Opera)
10 Sound Round
11 Pick Up The Peace
12 Unholy Trinity
13 Trilby’s Piano
14 Endless Wire
15 Fragments Of Fragments
16 We Got A Hit
17 They Made My Dream Come True
18 Mirror Door
19 Tea & Theatre
20 We Got A Hit (Extended Version)
21 Endless Wire (Extended Version)

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12. It’s Hard – 1982 – One thing I will say about this album. It has aged better than I thought it would.  I was never a big fan of this album. I liked some songs like Eminence Front, Athena and some of the tracks like Cry if you Want. This was the last studio Who album until 2006 Endless Wire. The band was not happy at this time and the end was coming…at least until they reunited at the end of the 80s for a reunion tour.


It’s Your Turn
Cook’s County
It’s Hard
Eminence Front
I’ve Known No War
One Life’s Enough
One At A Time
Why Did I Fall For That
A Man Is A Man
Cry If You Want


11. Face Dances – 1981 – This album has been slammed by critics and fans alike. I bought the album when it was released.  Face Dances was The first album without their engine, Keith Moon. Kenney Jones was a great drummer for the Small Faces and Faces but there is only one drummer for the Who and that was Keith. There are some good songs. “You Better You Bet”  (what I call “Who Are You’s” weak sister) Don’t Let Go the Coat, Another Tricky Day, and The Quiet One.

The album is tame compared with other Who albums but the melodies are strong.

You Better You Bet
Don’t Let Go The Coat
Cache Cache
The Quiet One
Did You Steal My Money
How Can You Do It Alone
Daily Records
Another Tricky Day


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10. Odds and Sods – 1974 –  This album was released in 1974 of outtakes and rarities that The Who had in the Vaults. The highlights are Long Live Rock, Naked Eye, Pure and Easy, and Postcard by John Entwistle. This album full of outtakes were as good as other bands A-songs.


Now I’m A Farmer
Put The Money Down
Little Billy
Too Much Of Anything
Glow Girl
Pure And Easy
Faith In Something Bigger
I’m The Face
Naked Eye
Long Live Rock


9. Who Are You – 1978 –  Keith Moon was not well during this album. Still, I’ll take a 70 percent Keith Moon over a 100 percent anyone else for the Who. It contained the Who classic title track, Sister Disco, 905, and Music Must Change. Pete continued what he started with the Who By Numbers album by writing from the perspective of an aging rocker. This album sold faster than any other Who album. Within the month of its release, Keith Moon was gone for good.


New Song
Had Enough
Sister Disco
Music Must Change
Trick Of The Light
Guitar And Pen
Love Is Coming Down
Who Are You


8. Who by Numbers – 1975 – Pete wrote songs so personal that Roger didn’t feel right about singing some of the songs. Pete was wondering at this point if The Who were still relevant anymore. He felt old by rock standards and wondered if the band should just pack it in.

This album had to grow on me but now I do appreciate the personal songs that Pete wrote.

The best-known song is Squeeze Box but the album is full of good songs. Slip Kid, However Much I Booze, Dreaming from the Waist and Blue Red Grey. With Punk music starting to happen Pete wrote in “They Are All In Love”

Hey, goodbye all you punks
Stay young and stay high
Hand me my checkbook
And I’ll crawl out to die

If Pete had only known the future…they were only in their twenties at that time…that is just the beginning now.


Slip Kid
However Much I Booze
Squeeze Box
Dreaming From The Waist
Imagine A Man
Success Story
They Are All In Love
Blue Red And Grey
How Many Friends
In A Hand Or A Face


7. A Quick One – 1966 – The mini-opera starts here. A Quick One, While He’s Away is a classic song made of fragments weaved with each other to make a whole. Everyone writes at least one song for this album. John Entwistle with his signature tune Boris the Spider, Keith Moon turns out the crazy and strange “Cobwebs and Strange,” and a bit of power pop with I Need You. They also covered Heatwave with the familiar Who flair.

A forgotten great power pop song on this album is So Sad About Us. The overall sound of this album is incredible.


Run Run Run
Boris The Spider
I Need You
Whiskey Man
Cobwebs And Strange
Don’t Look Away
See My Way
So Sad About Us
A Quick One, While He’s Away


Maybe it’s no coincidence that the last three albums in the ranking are in order of release. Face Dances and It’s Hard both have a classic Who song in You Better You Bet and Eminence Front respectively. They both have some strong songs surrounding them…I just thought that Face Dances had more than It’s Hard.

Endless Wire is missing not only Keith but by 2006 also John. It’s hard to compete against your past when you are missing your entire rhythm section. It’s a different Who album and not as exciting…but anything written by Pete is worth listening to.

Next Up will be 6 Through Number 1




Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

33 thoughts on “The Who albums ranked 13 -7”

    1. Mine also. It was all new at the time so it was in sense a new studio album to the public…

      I should have listed the albums I’m using but it’s the rest of their studio albums and Live and Leeds.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. A good list- only disagreement I have would be I’d have The Who By Numbers a slot or two higher- but not dramatically higher. Agree that the lower albums would be the ones at the end of the bands history.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. There are some like that indeed. I haven’t listened to It’s Hard in a long time- like you not a fan of it but it has a few good songs no question.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I thought too much because…Endless Wire… I thought this is like Plant and Page making an album and naming it a Zeppelin album…I enjoyed it but I didn’t think it fit.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. There are two albums that are both left for your next ranking that I am very curious about which is in front of the other… that’s all I will say..

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I liked Odds and Sods a lot- I think that is a good ranking.. There is no doubt as far as regular studio albums go- I have to have Live At Leeds ahead of it and I know it will be.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have some live albums and I got that back when I first fell for The Who- it was one of the few live albums that immediately got my attention… like WOW this is great.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Pete had the sound guy to destroy all of the other tapes he made on that tour at the time…Pridden…. he said he regrets it now of course. It’s one of a kind.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Good Question. If he would have gotten his act together which he would have had to… I do think they would have lasted longer than 82… I think they would have done like the Stones at some time and disbanded for a while…
        Pete always threaten to disband them but never did with Keith still in tow. How about you?

        Liked by 1 person

      5. The key question is- Keith getting his act together- was that possible? I could see them being off and on like the Stones have been had things worked out.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. From what I’ve read… and you also… it seemed like he was actually making an effort… but I doubt he could have overcome his mental problems… without real help… help in 1978… They would have had the same problem with Keith… X10… as they did with John money wise

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Getting help 40 years ago- a lot different than today as you mention. It is a shame because he was a great talent- and a big part of the bands success.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I get that Endless Wire is not really a proper Who album per se’…but its a fantastic album. If it’s going to be included on my list I would have it higher than the other non-Moon albums and also higher than By Numbers, Who Are You, and Odds n Sods. All those albums have something to offer, but Endless Wire is more concise, more consistent, and more fully realized than those others IMO.

    It would be interesting to include Townshend solo albums in the hierarchy. He was making amazing solo albums simultaneously with mediocre Who albums.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Personally I like Endless Wire…Now I will admit it is not as close to me as the other ones because of repeated listenings.

      These lists are hard…I’ve changed this one so many times… I take it way to serious… The first 5 I knew right away…to me anyway.. but the rest of them were hard.

      It’s hard because of the change bands would go through. From My Generation album to Who Are You…it’s hard to compare the two because they are so different.

      I like your idea…Empty Glass would go way up on this list.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Totally difficult task parsing out the catalog. The era in general was changing so fast. Sell Out and Who’s Next are only a few years apart but are completely different experiences for fans of the Who.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Same with the Beatles also…How would you compare With The Beatles and Revolver a little over 2 years later?
        The cool thing about making the list is…it’s a good excuse to listen to the complete albums again…that is the plus side. I got to know Endless Wire much better.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I can’t argue with any of your rankings, except maybe #13. I would have ranked Endless Wire higher, but it’s a hard one to place because it’s a totally different band in so many key ways. Truth is, I’m never able to rank music. The closest I can get is to say “these are some of my favorites”. So I think you’ve done an admirable job.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you… It’s hard comparing different eras… Back then it was more change going on quicker…
      These things are hard but the upside is you have an excuse to listen to it all again!


  4. You’re actually missing my two favourite Who albums: Live at Leeds, and Who’s Next. 🙂 I adore Baba O’Riley, Won’t Get fooled Again, Young Man Blues, Magic Bus… and so much more!

    Liked by 1 person

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