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Miles Better For The Who In US

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Fans of The Who, try this one: what was it that the band achieved in Britain in the spring of 1965, that it took them two and a half years longer to achieve in America? The answer is have a top ten single, which they finally enjoyed on the Hot 100 of 25 November 1967. The song in question was ‘I Can See For Miles,’ which had entered the US chart on 14 October.

The Who reached the top ten in their own country with their first hit single, when ‘I Can’t Explain’ climbed to No. 8 in April 1965. That reached a meagre No. 93 in the US, and three more chart singles in the next two years hardly tore up any trees, either. ‘My Generation’ petered out at No. 74, ‘Happy Jack’ at least gave them a top 40 entry by reaching No. 24, and ‘Pictures Of Lily’ topped out at No. 51.

Billboard’s 30 September 1967 issue reported that ‘Miles’ was said to have one of Decca’s largest advance pressings. The single was rush-released in the US to capitalise on the infamous performance of it by The Who on the Smothers Brothers’ CBS network TV show.

Who Hot 100They entered the Hot 100 at No. 72 (one place below Elvis Presley’s ‘Big Boss Man’) with ‘I Can See For Miles,’ which made steady progress, hitting the top ten on 18 November and then, a week later, spending the first of two weeks at No. 9. It was listed in Billboard’s year-end issue as the 96th biggest hit of the year; in Rolling Stone’s 2004 list of the 500 greatest songs of all time, ‘Miles’ came in at No. 258.

The most remarkable thing about the story, though, is that The Who have never returned to the top ten of the Hot 100 — and the single that came closest is one that wasn’t a chart record at all in the UK: ‘See Me Feel Me,’ which reached No. 12 in 1970.

Purchase ‘I Can See For Miles’ on the Who Hits 50! compilation here.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Yumiko Wordley

    November 26, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Their first contract through Shel Talmy was American Decca . Their first single as the Who was released by Brunswick, which was American Decca’s distributor in UK. However, Decca in USA had never tried seriously to promote the Who in USA. Still there was local phenomenon, in Detroit, whatever the reasons were. Basically Americans didn’t know the Who, till Chris Stamp went to USA with his brother Terence’s cooperation and somehow got the contract of their first gig at Marley the K. Still the second visit was as a support band for Herman’s Hermits, though it worked well for them to show their power, but they had wait till Frank Barsalona was impressed and seriously move forward for them.

  2. Thom Allen

    November 25, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    I suspected, and it was confirmed by a top DJ at WTAC in Flint Michigan, just few miles north of Detroit, WTAC was the first AM station in the USA to play The Who.

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