New reissue of the Who’s My Generation includes first ever release of three forgotten tracks

The Who continue to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their 1965 debut album, My Generation, with a 5-CD super deluxe box set via MCA/UMe. The new stereo mix from a mono remaster features unheard songs, unreleased demos, and alternate mixes, according to a label news release. An 80-page, full-color book also offers “unseen period photos and insightful new notes” from Pete Townshend. The LP that debuted in the U.S. during 1966 is noted for its iconic title track as well as the singles ‘A Legal Matter,’ ‘The Kids Are Alright,’ and ‘La-La-La-Lies.’ The new deluxe edition also marks the first release of the tracks ‘The Girls I Could Have Had,’ ‘As Children We Grew,’ and ‘My Own Love.’

Roger Daltrey (lead vocals), Pete Townshend (guitar, vocals), John Entwistle (bass), and Keith Moon (drums) were teenagers in 1964 when they decided to form a band that evolved out of an outfit Daltrey led called The Detours. A name change to the Who, attracting large crowds to London's popular Marquee Club, and a rave review of their live act in “Melody Maker” combined to get the attention of producer Shel Talmy, who was renowned for his work with The Kinks—a group the press announcement notes was a favorite of Townshend’s.

“In the half century since its release, the Who's debut album My Generation hasn't lost any of its raw, visceral power and still stands as the ultimate musical declaration of teenage rebellion,” declares the news release, adding the title track has been covered “innumerable times” by artists including Green Day, Patti Smith, Billy Joel, Alice Cooper, Iron Maiden, Oasis, and others.

My Generation is described as an album that sounds like it looks: “terse, confrontational and full of youthful angst and energy.” The LP first appeared in the UK on Brunswick Records during December 1965. It was released in the U.S. the following April on Decca Records as The Who Sings My Generation. The reissue project came about in 2015 during a break in the Who’s 50th anniversary tour. Townshend discovered the original tapes in his personal audio archive and found they contained previously unheard demos for the album as well as the three aforementioned songs, which were recorded for the album but never released.

Gathering these demos for this collection has been enjoyable; it's wonderful for me to have these tapes made fifty-two years ago to listen to,” states Townshend. “They have a naiveté and innocence, a simplicity and directness, and an ingenuousness that reveals me as a young man struggling to keep up with the more mature and developed men around me. What an incredible group of strong, talented, young and engaging men they were,” he says.

The voluminous five-disc, 79-track edition of My Generation features a stereo remix that was created by Daltrey and Townshend using new overdubs. Townshend also uses the same guitars and amps he plugged in during the 1965 recording sessions, while Daltrey uses the same type of microphone. In addition to the CDs and book, the super deluxe edition of My Generation contains rare and unseen period photos, candid and insightful new notes from Townshend, and period memorabilia. Vinyl editions of the reissue are set for release in February.

Watch the Who in various studio and live outtakes performing ‘My Generation.’

As A Matter of Fact…

* “The Who exploded out of the West London Mod scene and pushed rock and roll to new levels of intensity and volume on [My Generation],” reads a review by Rolling Stone. The album’s “raw, delinquent intensity” is further labeled “a blueprint for much of the garage-rock, punk and heavy metal that flourished after it was released.”

* The U.S. edition of My Generation titled, The Who Sings My Generation, is ranked No. 237 on Rolling Stone’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of all Time,” while the title track comes in at No. 11 on the magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Songs of all Time.” The Who have sold more than 100 million records worldwide including 11 studio albums and 16 singles that reached the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100.

* In late June 2002, the Who were set to kick off a North American tour when news of John Entwistle’s death rocked the group. The band’s touring lineup now includes Daltrey and Townshend along with Ringo Starr’s son, Zak Starkey, on drums and percussion; Townshend’s younger brother, Simon Townshend, as another guitarist; and veteran session and touring musician, Pino Palladino (Paul Simon, Joe Walsh, John Mayer), who plays bass.

* In October 2006, Townshend and Daltrey released Endless Wire, the Who’s first full-length studio album of original material since 1982’s It's Hard. The album debuted at No. 7 the Billboard 200 and No. 9 on the UK Albums Chart. Some of the songs were also part of a musical adaptation presented by Vassar College's Powerhouse Summer Theater workshop series.

* Townshend and Daltrey received the Kennedy Center Honors in 2008 in recognition of the Who's lifetime contributions to American culture. The following year was marked by The Who Sings My Generation, being selected for inclusion in the U.S. Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry.

* Full performances of the Who’s rock operas Quadrophenia and Tommy highlight tours to benefit the UK’s Teenage Cancer Trust. Upcoming live performances include the Tommy and More edition at Royal Albert Hall in London (March 30-April 1); Liverpool (April 3); Manchester (April 5); Glasgow (April 7); Sheffield (April 10); and Birmingham (April 12).

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