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The Who / Maximum As & Bs: The Complete Singles – 5CD box set

Having issued the four seven-inch vinyl single boxes during 2015/6, Universal Music now effectively present all those A and B sides (and EP tracks) on CD with a new The Who box set: Maximum As & Bs: The Complete Singles.

This five-disc, 86-track collection from the Brunswick, Reaction, Track and Polydor labels of course includes all and every hit, along with all the B-sides, many on CD for the first time.

The CDs come in separate wallets, and are housed in the familiar lift-off-lid style box that Universal use regularly (see the just announced Jam box). It also comes with a 48-page booklet, with track-by-track annotation by “acclaimed Who writers” and the usual selection of period photos and images of memorabilia.

Maximum As & Bs: The Complete Singles will be issued on 27 October 2017

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The Who

Maximum As & Bs: The Complete Singles

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Amazon uk 6LP coloured vinyl box 47.44
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Amazon it 6LP coloured vinyl box 54.46
Amazon es 6LP coloured vinyl box 58.99
Amazon ca 6LP coloured vinyl box 73.5
JPC de 6LP coloured vinyl box 49.99
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CD 1
1. Zoot Suit
2. I’m the Face
3. I Can’t Explain
4. Bald Headed Woman
5. Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere
6. Daddy Rolling Stone
7. My Generation
8. Shout and Shimmy
9. Circles (AKA ‘Instant Party’)
10. Instant Party Mixture
11. A Legal Matter
12. The Kids Are Aright
13. The Ox
14. La – La
15. The Good’s Gone

CD 2
1. Substitute
2. Circles
3. Waltz For A Pig
4. I’m A Boy
5. In The City
6. Disguises
7. Batman
8. Bucket T
9. Barbara Ann
10. Happy Jack
11. I’ve Been Away
12. Pictures Of Lily
13. Doctor, Doctor
14. The Last Time
15. Under My Thumb
16. I Can See For Miles
17. Someone’s Coming
18. Dogs
19. Call Me Lightning
20. Magic Bus
21. Dr Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

CD 3
1. Pinball Wizard
2. Dogs Part Two
3. The Seeker
4. Here For More
5. Summertime Blues
6. Heaven And Hell
7. See Me Feel Me / Listening To You
8. Overture From Tommy
9. Christmas
10. I’m Free
11. Won’t Get Fooled Again
12. Don’t Know Myself
13. Let’s See Action
14. When I Was A Boy
15. Join Together
16. Baby Don’t You Do It
17. Relay
18. Wasp Man

CD 4
1. 5:15
2. Water
3. Listening To You / See Me Feel Me (Soundtrack Version)
4. Overture (Soundtrack Version)
5. Squeeze Box
6. Success Story
7. Who Are You
8. Had Enough
9. Long Live Rock
10. My Wife (Live)
11. 5:15 (Soundtrack Version)
12. I’m One (Soundtrack Version)
13. You Better You Bet
14. The Quiet One
15. Don’t Let Go The Coat
16. You

CD 5
1. Athena
2. A Man Is A Man
3. Eminence Front
4. It’s Your Turn
5. Twist And Shout (Live)
6. I Can’t Explain (Live)
7. Bony Maronie (Live)
8. Join Together (Live)
9. I Can See For Miles (Live)
10. Behind Blue Eyes (Live)
11. Real Good Looking Boy
12. Old Red Wine
13. Wire & Glass EP – Side A (5 x tracks)
14. Wire & Glass EP – Side B – Mirror Door
15. Be Lucky
16. I Can’t Explain (2014 Stereo remix)

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61 responses to The Who / Maximum As & Bs: The Complete Singles – 5CD box set

  1. Paolo Meccano says:

    Aargh! *Another* October release!

    I’m sure that most people with more than a passing interest in the Who will already have most of these tracks, so is there any indication of which (if any) are new to CD?

  2. andrew r says:

    This news just in Daltrey and Townshend finally convicted in the case of the horse
    that flogged itself to death.Pictures later .Additional report of a drummer and bass player
    turning in their respective graves. Meet the new boss same as …you know the rest!

  3. adam shaw says:

    I have to buy it but like Jam fans I’ve got most of it already .
    Nice looking box though .

  4. truthsayer says:

    Got It!, Got It!, Got It! Got It! Got It!

    It`s gonna have to be around £20 for me to buy it.

  5. Paul B says:

    Aaarrggh it is still missing at least one track…. Dancing in the Street recorded 1979 on the b side 12” of won’t get fooled again reissue 1988..Paul, get onto Universal for me will u??!

  6. Phil says:

    Is the first time Waspman has appeared on CD ?

  7. Ben Williams says:

    They should have called this “Not Another Who Compilation”… still, I am mildly interested in this. Though I have noticed one omission – “Christmas” from the 1989 Join Together Cd single..

  8. Robert Laversuch says:

    Same here – cannot resist this – will end up in the poorhouse if this keeps up. The Smiths The Jam now The Who plus all the ChinaChrisis releases arrrrgh!

  9. Philip Cohen says:

    Would it have tortured the compilers so much to have included the two selections that were exclusive to U.S.A. Decca singles, specifically “Anytime You Want Me” & the re-make/re-arrangement of “Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand”.
    As some have already noted on other internet forums, if the compilers of this set are using the same sources and masterings heard on the four sets of vinyl singles, then at least 4 of the selections in “Maximum A’s & B’s” will not be the same mixes heard on the original singles.

  10. DaveM says:

    Pre-ordered, but have reservations. Will wait to see if anyone can list exactly what is first time to CD in the box. I already have all the two disc deluxe editions, SDEs, Who Hits Fifty, Odds n Sods and Japanese Meaty Beaty.
    More excited about the three Scoop volumes coming out on August 18th as I have found the mastering on the last batch of Pete Townshend CDs to be better than the Hip-os.

    • dave m says:

      Waltz for a pig , the b side of substitute by the graham bond organisation , i believe has never been on cd before.

      • Philip Cohen says:

        “Waltz For a Pig” has appeared on the 4-CD set “The Graham Bond Organization-Wade in The Water”, released by the Repertoire label.

  11. Eric Martin says:

    Correct 1973 single mix of “5:15” though?

  12. Sylent Syd says:

    I think The Who and The Doors are in a never-ending contest to see who has the most compilation albums.

  13. Dave says:

    Wasn’t there a second single off the Who Are You album of Trick Of The Light/905?

  14. escafeld says:

    Waspman is available on CD on Rarities Vol 2 (now out of print)

  15. Avitom. says:

    It’s a shame that Anytime You Want Me is not on! Where am I going to listen to is? Of course I have on the My Generation deluxe set but including it on this compilation will, for sure, create a great flow of that 60’s era. This is the reason why I’m on the border line of buying or not. Compilers never seas to amaze me.

  16. Geoff G says:

    I’d like this, as I see a few songs I don’t have. But a few songs at this price isn’t worth it. I’ll wait and see if it drops to a price I’m comfortable with.

  17. Francis says:

    Maybe tracks from CD singles are missing because the collection is based on the A and B Sides and CD singles do not have these as they play via one side only. So the collection may only be featuring all the tracks featured on their vinyl singles, including E.Ps and possibly 12inches.

  18. elliott buckingham says:

    id like a reissue of the who collection that was on Polydor I think dbl lp with orange writing. apparently some of the tracks were different mixes exclusive to that release

  19. Neil Johnston says:

    Still no news of a Super Deluxe Edition of Who’s Next? I live in hope!

  20. dave m says:

    Come on mca / polydor lets have an offical release of Swansea 76 or Charlton 74 !!

  21. Terry G says:

    I’m not that much on the minutiae of the Who, but I’ve always been told the US singles mix of I Can See For Miles has a lot more “whomp” ( for lack of a better term) than the UK single or LP version. Anyone know about this, and where I can find the US singles mix of I Can See For Miles?

  22. Philip Cohen says:

    To be honest, I would have prefered to see another original WHO album get the Super Deluxe treatment(similar to the “My Generation” box). Perhaps “A Quick One”, “The Who Sell Out” or “Odds and Sods”

  23. AlexKx says:

    Wow! This is by far the most extensive WHO compilation is it not?! How very exciting! :)

  24. Mr. Stick says:

    I agree with Phil Cohen, in loud voice. I think a “Who’s Next” SDE still has potential, despite the deluxe editions done so many years ago. In Pete’s notes for the Quadrophenia box, he makes it clear that he has little regard for any Who album after 1973, and that’s too bad, because “By Numbers” and “Who Are You” are surely worth exploring in a deluxe format. I also don’t think they have drained the live tub either. Where’s the video release of the Charlton show? Why not a compilation of the great ’79 and ’80 shows? And, yeah, going the opposite direction from ’73, “Sell Out”, “A Quick One” and many of the famous pre-1970 performances could be tarted up. Throwing all the singles in one shoebox, after they were all issued on vinyl recently, seems like just the easiest thing they could dream up for a pre-Christmas release. Want to say, too, that I saw them this past week and it was the best I have heard The Who in maybe 15 years since Entwistle died anyway… Rog’s voice is in better shape now than for a long time, and Pete had a new Strat that he seemed to love, playing it enthusiastically. Don’t miss a chance to get your lapels grabbed by these guys one more time, at least.

    • Jim says:

      Hey Mr. Stick, you say that in the Quadrophenia box that Pete “makes it clear he has little regard for any Who album after 1973.” What exactly does he say? He really speaks that badly of the later stuff?

      I don’t have the Quad boxset (I may get it at some point, but it has never been a “must buy” for me, unlike the My Generation and Tommy sets.

  25. Adrian Grove says:

    I want this and the upcoming David Gilmour release but can’t afford both

  26. Zongadude says:

    Phew. At last !
    Now that’s about time :)

  27. Sean L says:

    Waltz for a pig…issued last year on Cd in Japan last year, great issue this, 7″ sleeve etc usual Japanese attention to detail

    http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/product/UICY-77827

  28. Steve Benson says:

    Hoping it will be better than the “first CD singles box” where more attention was paid to finding international artwork than the right versions of the track (e.g. Circles on the Substitute CD)

  29. Steve Anderton says:

    The Who were a great singles band and at a rough estimate I reckon there are about 40 tracks on this box that aren’t on the “30 Years” Box. If that’s the only Who box you own (like me) then this will be a worthwhile purchase although it’s still a bit over priced.£30 would be reasonable. I wish they would hurry up and release a Live At Charlton 74 box though , before we are all too old to care !

    • Colin Harper says:

      Indeed – and isn’t it baffling that they haven’t released the San Francisco 1971 concert in full? A few tracks drizzled here and there on various compilations, some of them fairly obscure of fan-club-only…

  30. SteveT says:

    Quite interested in this now that on cd. Will be placing my order in the hope that price will reduce before release date.

  31. Kevin says:

    So I have all their domestic cd releases but there’s plenty here I do not have. Assuming cuz someone is fan they have every version of every song is incorrect. If u don’t like it don’t buy it!

    • Philip Cohen says:

      But, it’s reasonable for fans to expect, that if this set is being presented as a collection of Singles A’s & B’s, that it will use the correct edits/mixes as heard on the original singles. For Universal Music(or The Who’s management) to simply transfer the digital masters prepared for the four vinyl singles boxes verbatim, even after fans had raised questions over the mixes/edits several of the songs…..is just absurd stubborness….or laziness.
      Here’s one example. As you know, The Who recorded the song “Circles” twice. The original version(A UK B-side & a track on the American album “The Who Sings My Generation”) was a Shel Talmy production. The second version of the song(a somewhat different arrangement) was produced by The Who themselves, and appeared briefly as UK B-side of “Substitute”, then later on the “Ready Steady Who” E.P..
      When presenting the Talmy-produced version of “Circles”, Universal(for reasons of sound quality) often opts to present an alternate mix. It has its basis in the same basic take as the single version, but has some additional overdubs. There’s no question that the correct mix has poor sound quality, causing some fans to speculate that, even when first released in 1966, that it was dubbed from vinyl or acetate. Yes, there are CD releases that have the correct single mix (The U.S.A. MCA CD of “The Who Sings My Generation” has it, and the[now deleted] Japanese SHM-CD 2-disc set “My Generation Box” has both mixes).
      Questions have also been asked regarding the mixes of “Pictures of Lily”, “Someone’s Coming” & “I Can See For Miles” in the Track Records vinyl single box. I don’t own that vinyl singles box, so I can’t comment, but this much I do know: The tape for the UK single mix of “Someone’s Coming” has been lost. A good quality dub from vinyl(provided by a fan) was used in the 2-CD set “The Who Sell Out”(Deluxe Edition). Granted, Universal Music has the song’s multitrack tape, and could create a new mono mix….but that wouldn’t be authentic either.
      Authenticity DOES matter in a compilation such as this. I’m reminded of a story once told to me by an EMI executive(at the company’s old Manchester Square headquarters in London, in the early 1990’s). When The Beatles “Past Masters” compilations were being assembled, Abbey Road Studios engineers attempted to remix some of the songs on “Past Masters 1”, but these remixes were not used. The EMI executive said, “Either they(the remixes) didn’t sound much different, or they DID sound different…..and awful.” Then we should be thankful that EMI opted (in that instance) for the authenticity of original 1960’s mixes. Perhaps Giles Martin could do something better someday, but, of course, his mixes will be openly described as new remixes.

      • Chris H says:

        I own the vinyl boxes,and none of the songs you mention appear in their original UK single mixes on these sets.
        Add to this list the October 1973 UK single 5:15,which has never appeared on CD and has only been reissued on The Who’s UK “the Singles”LP This mix is characterized by extra echo and a very narrow stereo,or wide mono,mix.It also does not have the “screeching ” noise after the intro,
        approximately where the horns kick in
        It runs about 4and a half minutes.

        • KevinK says:

          The 4:19 single mix of 5:15 is on my original 80s CD version of “the singles” collection. (I notice that on the recent expanded Japan SACD reissues they have used the 4:53 album version.)

  32. Luke says:

    This uses all the same mixes as the vinyl box sets issued recently. A number of mixes are incorrect: Circles (Shel Talmy version), Pictures of Lily, I Can See For Miles, Someone’s Coming, 5.15 (1973 single). Offhand I’m not sure what hasn’t been issued before on CD, either. If you’re looking for something new/unique, this isn’t the set to get.

  33. Larry Davis says:

    I think this box is a great expansion on the 2cd “The Who Hits 50″…will replace that with this…and reasonably priced too…

  34. Philip Cohen says:

    Certainly, Universal could have done something to make the set more interesting, like a DVD with video clips of the a-sides, or perhaps a Blu-ray audio disc with High Resolution audio for all of the songs.

  35. Ben says:

    Honestly, what they should do by this point are box sets of the albums, and the respective singles/bonus tracks, like what they’re doing with Bowie’s discography. Instead of these weird, piecemeal shenanigans. Remaster the whole discography.

  36. movement says:

    @Ben that doesn’t really work because their discography is so convoluted. It is hard to draw a line where one era ends and another begins. Take Sell Out for example. There are tracks in the first extended edition that are not in the deluxe edition. When you consider the large number of alternative mixes, it isn’t clear how you can make any kind of tidy compilation without producing something that will annoy a lot of people.

  37. Tim Ranger says:

    Instead of messing around with silly projects like this, how about getting a team of expert engineers like the Beatles used and spending a year or two digitally remastering The Who’s back catalog with the ORIGINAL MIXES. Of all the major bands, The Who’s CD’s sound the worst. The only good thing about the mid-90’s reissues were the bonus material and the great booklets. I consider it blasphemous for an artist to remix their classic records. If they want to do that, fine, but keep the original mixes in print. But really, a team of first class engineers needs to sit down with the original tapes and do everything they can to make “Who Are You,” “The Who By Numbers,” etc., sound the best they can possibly sound as the CD era closes. Just like Jimmy did with Led Zep. Just like James Guthrie did with the Floyd. Original mixes only, and no bonus tracks. Keep the albums as they were originally released. At the end of the run they can take all of the mid-90’s bonus tracks and remaster them with their original mixes as a part of a 4-CD package or whatever. Reuse the mid-90’s packaging with all the liner notes and essays. No changes needed there, unless they want to add extra pictures and such. The Who more than any classic rock band desperately needs this. And we also need the originally mixed “Quadrophenia” with the song “Bell Boy” closing CD #1. I still cannot understand for the life of me why they made “Drowned” the last tune on CD #1 of the 2-CD deluxe edition resissue of the album. There was plenty of time of CD #1 to put “Bell Boy” on and get sides 1 and 2 of the original LP on CD #1. By putting “Bell Boy” on CD #2, they once again rewrote history. “Bell Boy” was written as a tune to close an album side of one of the greatest records ever made. I still have yet to hear an explanation as to why this was done. Yet another consequence of not having a publication like ICE Magazine which “protects” consumers of compact discs. If you write Universal Music a letter to complain these days, they just throw it in the waste bin. Consumers of music need a journalist who knows all the big wigs.

    • Philip Cohen says:

      While the 1-CD(+ bonus tracks) version of “Sell Out” was remixed and the 1-CD(+ bonus tracks) “Who’s Next” was partly remixed(for those songs whose multitracks still exist), I should note that the 2-CD “Deluxe Edition” releases of “Sell Out” & “Who’s Next” use the original mixes for all of the album tracks. The bonus tracks are “Remixed” only in those instances where no original mix exists.
      And the 5-disc “My Generation” box achieves the best of both worlds; it includes the original mono mix and a stereo remix. Despite what you think, not all Who CD’s sound bad.

  38. Jayson T. says:

    The problem Philip is that while the 2-CD deluxe edition of Who’s Next used the original tapes, the mastering engineers butchered the sound of both CD’s. The first disc has a DR7, which is way, way too loud:

    http://dr.loudness-war.info/album/view/6829

    I can’t listen to it. Too loud, too bright.

    I 100% agree with Tim Ranger. While I cannot speak for the rest of the world, I would bet big money that if you took a poll of classic rock music fans from the USA about which band has the worst sounding records, The Who would be the hands down winner. I stress “sound” – not the quality of the songs and albums.

    Now part of it has to do with the original recordings themselves. One of my theories about why the Who albums generally sound awful is that with the exception of Who’s Next, almost every Who album was recorded in a garbage studio or some film studio. The reason Who’s Next – despite being a recent victim of the loudness wars – is by far and away the best sounding Who album is because with the exception of one song, it was recorded at the legendary Olympic Studios (currently closed, sadly). I guess the Who’s ceaseless financial problems prevented them from using decent studios or hiring people who could build a decent studio for them.

    Like Ranger, I believe there is a desperate need for an expert team of engineers to go through the whole catalog one last time and remaster with master quality control. Original mixes and song lineups only. Yes, that includes the original 6 song Live At Leeds.

    There is currently no consistency, sound wise, from album to album due to all of the reissues, and some albums have been given multiple treatments. My favorite Who album actually happens to be Who Are You, which was butchered more than any of the mid-90’s remixes. Roger’s vocals have way too much echo all over them on the remix, which sucks because in many people’s view, Who Are You featured Roger’s best vocals on any Who album.

    The Who deserve this. They are one of the 5 greatest bands in history. It is truly a shame that lawsuits, patronage, silly business decisions, ex-managers, drug problems and crazy record company people have taken one of the greatest catalogs in recorded music history and have not treated it with the love and respect it deserves. We only have so much time left. The CD era is ending. I hope this is not an opportunity lost.

    • Philip Cohen says:

      Guys like you obviously prefer “Live at Leeds” as a 6-song highlights album with all of the crackling noises left “As Is”.They are recording defects caused by equipment problems on the “Pye Mobile Unit” recording truck. I prefer the concert presented complete and de-crackled. So do many other people.
      The Who’s best music was recorded between 1965-1978. It is inherent that these recordings are not up to 21st century standards.
      The Beatles’ 1963-64 recordings have plenty of recording and production imperfections, but many people still think that they have musical qualities that outweigh these imperfections, or indeed The Beatles’ technical limitations as instrumentalists.
      Few recording artists & record producers from the 1960’s & 1970’s could have ever imagined that radio stations would still be playing these recordings 40 to 50 years later.

  39. Philip Cohen says:

    The Who’s earliest recordings with producer Kit Lambert(the 1966 recordings) were intentionally poor sounding. Pete Townshend once explained that kids in England had tinny-sounding phonographs. “We recorded them tinny to sound tinny. If you recorded them hifi to sound tinny, you were wasting your time”. An example of these Tinny-sounding recordings is the album “A Quick One”.

  40. Tim says:

    I guess we’ll never get the original (and best) mix of 5.15 on CD then :(

  41. Chris H says:

    This is most likely a straight reissue of the vinyl sets,
    with the incorrect non- single mixes of ” Instant Party”and”I Can See For Miles”probably still included as they were with the vinyl sets.
    I hope the correct mixes are used,
    but I’m not optimistic.
    The 2 minute edited” Christmas” from Tommy will evidently be making it’s CD debut here.

  42. Phil says:

    Does anyone know if at least the early stuff is in mono?

  43. Gis Bun says:

    Not surprised. release replica singles and then as a compilation. They did it for Marillion and others. So why not The Who.
    The Who have been milking the releases of late anyways. I’m expecting further compilations, live shows, etc.
    Pete and Roger need the money for retirement.

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