Who – Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand

This song was on the album called The Who Sell Out. I’ve said before that titles sometimes grab my attention and this one certainly did. This one has had many covers from other bands and artists.

The Who Sell Out is A Pop Art album that was fashioned after Pirate radio. The Who created spoof promo slots for Radio London, Premier Drums and Rotosound Strings, recorded in the brash ad-speak of 60s pirate radio. John Entwistle wrote two commercial jingles for Heinz Beans and Medac spot pimple cream.

Pete Townshend: “I’d already written two songs for [co-manager] Kit Lambert for the American Cancer Society – Little Billy and Kids! Do You Want Kids? – and I had Odorono, about a girl who loses a record contract. It wasn’t meant to be a commercial, it was just a song about body odor.”

I always thought it was a brilliant idea and remains a great satirical take on 60s consumerism.

The song would be the B side in America to I Can See For Miles.

The album was released on December 16, 1967. It peaked at #13 in the UK and #48 in the Billboard Album Charts. Their album Tommy would be released 2 years after this one and it would be their breakthrough all over the world.

Critic Dave Marsh called it “the greatest rock and roll album of its era” and “the Who’s consummate masterpiece, the work that holds together most tightly as concept and realization”.

Pete Townshend on the album: I’d demoed ‘Tattoo’ in my hotel room in Las Vegas during our three-day vacation, and a song called ‘Odorono’, named after a deodorant stick. ‘Odorono’ led us to the most perfect pop idea of all time: we would make our next record a vehicle for advertising. When we called Kit to explain, he was as excited as we were. I suggested we link the gaps between songs with jingles like those on commercial pirate radio.

John and Keith leapt on the idea, and, inspired by ‘Odorono’, began making up advertising jingles for all kinds of things, like Medac spot cream, Premier Drums and Heinz Baked Beans. But when the album was ready to be put together we were still short of tracks. John’s track didn’t feel right either, so he quickly produced a demo for another song called ‘Silas Stingy’, which, to be honest, was equally eccentric. But this was obviously going to be a very eccentric record.

Who – Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand

I danced with Linda
I danced with Jean
I danced with Cindy
Then I suddenly see

Mary-Anne with the shaky hands
What they’ve done to her man
Those shaky hands

Mary is so pretty
The prettiest in the land
Guys come from every city
Just to shake her shaky hands

Linda can cook
Jean reads books
Cindy can sew
But I’d rather know

Mary-Anne with the shaky hands
What they’ve done to her man
Those shaky hands

Mary-Anne with the shaky hands
What they’ve done to her man
Those shaky hands

Mary-Anne with the shaky hands
What they’ve done to her man
Those shaky hands


Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

19 thoughts on “Who – Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand”

  1. The Who is one of my most favorite bands, and this album has such a cool title and those iconic images, but I don’t connect to it at all, other than ‘I Can See For Miles’. So basically, I love everything about this album but 9/10 of the music. It’s just too much weirdness for me. I will say that ‘Mary Anne’ fits neatly into this album. :/

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I like it. sounds a bit like ‘Magic Bus’ to me, maybe its the percussion. Certainly a pretty interesting and different concept for an album. Did Heinz have anything to say about it?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. While I was well aware of the album and the concept behind it, except for “Armenia City in the Sky” and the excellent “I Can See For Miles”, I couldn’t recall any of the other tunes. It’s been a long time I’ve listened to it!


  4. You inow I love this stuff. Just watched a recent “Two” concert on PBS. It was very good. Something about them exudes coolness. A couple of guys that have aged well and still bring the music with a punch and integrity. Didnt feel forced or like going through the motions. I changed the line from the song you posted tp “Linda CAN’T cook” I like it better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good to see you CB!!! I don’t think Pete would mind at all! about the change I love this album…what a brilliant concept!
      Have a happy new year man….you and your family dude!

      Liked by 1 person

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