The Who: “I Can See for Miles” (1967)

Pete Townshend writes a song for his wife-to-be that makes “Suspicion” sound like a love letter.

Kronomyth 2.9: Scarin’ Karen.

The original single version of “I Can See for Miles” dances on a razor’s edge. The harmonies on this are just amazing, and the whole effect is even more menacing than “My Generation.” Pete Townshend himself has always held the song in high esteem, and I would agree that, sonically speaking, it’s the band’s greatest achievement to date. Everything just clicks on this record: the drums, bass, guitars and vocals. Paul McCartney was inspired enough by the effort to write an even scarier song, “Helter Skelter.”

Track and Decca chose different B sides for the single. “Mary-Anne with the Shaky Hands” appears here in a longer but not necessarily better version. The band tightened it up for the album, The Who Sell Out, de-emphasizing the bass and getting rid of the annoying reverb. In the UK, Entwistle’s “Someone’s Coming” provided the perfect stalking companion. Sweet vocals from Roger Daltrey and catchy horns can’t hide the fact that the girl’s disapproving parents probably know best.

The Who, in my opinion, never got enough recognition for their brilliant harmonies. Daltrey is even quoted as saying that The Who “shit” on the Beach Boys in terms of harmony. (I know, sometimes it’s hard to believe such lovely sounds came out of that mouth.)

Original 7-inch single version (US/Ausl/France)

A1. I Can See for Miles (Pete Townshend) (3:55)
B1. Mary-Anne with the Shaky Hands (Pete Townshend) (3:15)*

*Listed as “Mary-Ann with a Shaky Hand” on the French release.

Original 7-inch single version
A1. I Can See for Miles (Pete Townshend) (4:00)
B1. Someone’s Coming (John Entwhistle*) (2:33)

* Yes, they misspelled his last name.

The Players

Produced by Kit Lambert; executive producer: Chris Stamp.

The Plastic

Released on 7-inch single on September 18, 1967 in the US and Canada (Decca, 32206), on October 13, 1967 in the UK (Track, 604011) and Germany (Polydor, 59 124), in October 1967 in Australia (Polydor Intl, NH-59099), France (Polydor, 421 160), Germany (Polydor, 59 124) and New Zealand (Polydor, 59124) and in March 1968 in Japan (Polydor, DP-1558) with regional picture sleeve. Reached #9 on the US charts (charted on October 14, 1967 for 11 weeks) and #10 on the UK charts.

Posted in Who

2 thoughts on “The Who: “I Can See for Miles” (1967)

    1. Thanks, Miles! I took a break during the summer. We’ll see if I can get back into the rhythm… Hope you had a nice summer.

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