Maximum A's & B's

Maximum A's & B's

by The WhoThe Who


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Given the sheer number of Who compilations over the years -- including The Who Hits 50!, a career-capping retrospective that appeared just three years prior to this 2017 box -- it may be easy to cast a cynical eye upon Maximum A's & B's, which it doesn't deserve. For one, there hasn't been a large-scale Who box set since 1994's Thirty Years of Maximum R&B -- most of the comps have been simple hits collections -- and, secondly, the Who benefit from having attention being drawn to their singles. At the dawn of their career, the Who mastered 7" blasts of pop art and even when Pete Townshend toiled over rock operas, he couldn't resist the pull of a 45, releasing non-LP singles as late as 1972 and hiding excellent songs on B-sides along the way. The Who continued to release singles over three-plus decades, using them as calling cards for reunions or samplers of latter-day live albums, and Maximum A's & B's collects them all, give or take a couple of variations in international markets. Its very comprehensiveness can be something of an Achilles Heel, particularly in the late '80s and '90s when the group were cranking out singles from fine but forgettable live albums, but putting the flops and B-sides alongside the weary warhorses winds up reviving the entirety of the Who's catalog. These oddities provide a bracing jolt of context: when they were Mods, they were grooving with the "Batman" theme -- later revived by the Jam in this arrangement -- saluted the Stones once Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were imprisoned, and invented Brit-pop with the flop "Dogs." After Tommy, some of Townshend's best songs found no room on albums -- "The Seeker," "Don't Know Myself," "Let's See Action," "Join Together," and "The Relay" never found a home -- as did a performance as phenomenal as a live 1972 B-side "Baby Don't You Do It," which has never been reissued prior to this collection. But perhaps the real revelation of Maximum A's & B's is how the 21st century reunion wound up producing bittersweet tunes that serve as an effective elegiac coda to their career. Usually, this latter-day material seems like an afterthought, but thanks to the weight of this box, it's given its proper space and helps illustrate just how remarkable the entirety of the Who's career is.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/27/2017
Label: Mca
UPC: 0602557807059
catalogNumber: 5780705
Rank: 18939

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Who   Primary Artist

Technical Credits

James Brown   Composer
Eddie Cochran   Composer
Roger Daltrey   Composer,Liner Notes
Mick Jagger   Composer
Pete Townshend   Composer,Producer
Who   Producer
Larry Williams   Composer
Neal Hefti   Composer
Jon Astley   Producer
Nicky Hopkins   Composer
Keith Moon   Composer
Simon Townshend   Producer
Otis Blackwell   Composer
Bert Berns   Composer
Jerry Capehart   Composer
Chris Charlesworth   Liner Notes
Bob Clearmountain   Producer
Luigi Creatore   Composer
Bill Curbishley   Executive Producer
Lamont Dozier   Composer
John Entwistle   Composer,Music Direction
Dave Eringa   Producer
Clive Franks   Producer
Glyn Johns   Producer
Eddie Holland   Composer
Brian Holland   Composer
Kit Lambert   Producer
Hugo Peretti   Composer
Phil Medley   Composer
Billy Nicholls   Producer
Keith Richards   Composer
Bill Szymczyk   Producer
Shel Talmy   Composer,Producer
Don Altfeld   Composer
Cy Langston   Producer
Chris Stamp   Executive Producer
Dean Torrence   Composer
Pete Meaden   Composer,Producer
Chris Parmeinter   Producer
Robert Rosenberg   Executive Producer
Fred Fassert   Composer
Richard Evans   Art Direction
Roger Christian   Composer
Matt Kent   Liner Notes
David Weiss   Composer
Mark Blake   Liner Notes
Harry Butcher   Composer

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