Face Dances

Face Dances
Face Dances
Studio album by The Who
Released 16 March 1981
Recorded July–December 1980, Odyssey Recording Studios, London
Genre Rock
Length 40:57
Language English
Label Polydor (UK)
Warner Bros. (Original US release)
MCA Records (1997 reissue)
Producer Bill Szymczyk
The Who chronology
Who Are You
Face Dances
It's Hard
Singles from Face Dances
  1. "You Better You Bet"
    Released: 21 March 1981
  2. "Don't Let Go the Coat"
    Released: 1981
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau (B+)[2]
Wiki letter w.svg This table needs to be expanded using prose. See the guideline for more information.

Face Dances is the ninth album by English rock band The Who. It was originally released in 1981 in the US on Warner Bros. Records and in the UK on Polydor Records. It was the first full new Who album with drummer Kenney Jones as a replacement for Keith Moon, and their first for Warner Bros.

Although some jeered at the album, Roger Daltrey went on record saying he liked this album in a 1994 interview. Some critics, notably in the Boston Globe in a review in April 1981, said it was the Who's best album since 1973's Quadrophenia.

The album peaked at #4[3] on the US Billboard album charts (the chart topper was Styx's Paradise Theatre) and #2[4] on the UK album charts.

The album cover features paintings of the members by many British painters, who were commissioned by Peter Blake, designer of the cover of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. Artists include Tom Phillips, Richard Hamilton, Allen Jones, David Hockney, Clive Barker, R. B. Kitaj, Howard Hodgkin, Patrick Caulfield, and Blake himself.

In 1997, the album was re-released by MCA Records with three outtakes as well as two live tracks. The live track "How Can You Do It Alone" is an edited version of the live performance.

The first single on this album was "You Better You Bet"; its music video was one of the first music videos aired on MTV in 1981.


Live performances

Every song on this album, with the exception of "Daily Records", has been performed live by either The Who or one its members' solo projects.

On the band's 1981 tour supporting the album, six songs were performed live: "You Better You Bet", "Don't Let Go The Coat", "The Quiet One", "Did You Steal My Money", "How Can You Do It Alone", and "Another Tricky Day". However, only "You Better You Bet", "The Quiet One" and "Another Tricky Day" were played after the tour.

"You Better You Bet" is one of the band's more famous live songs, being played in almost every tour following 1981, namely 1989, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009. Live performances of this song did not differ much from the studio arrangement, save for the guitar solo, which was usually played differently.

"Don't Let Go The Coat" was played in every concert of the 1981 tour, but did not last past it.

"The Quiet One" was written by Entwistle to replace "My Wife" on stage, and it did for the years of 1981 and 1982. However, in the proceeding tours, this was never played again and "My Wife" was brought back.

"Did You Steal My Money" was only played four times on the 1981 tour, three of those times as an encore, and usually leading into another song.

"How Can You Do It Alone" was first performed live much earlier than the release date of the album. In fact, all of its live performances came before its release. In 1979, Townshend introduced this song with a different, faster arrangement with different lyrics during the encores of the North American leg of the tour. It was played once more in 1980. A version more similar to the studio version (though still quite different) was played at a concert at the Cornwall Coliseum in St Austell on 30 January 1981. By that time, the lyrics had been more or less set in stone. However, it was never played again after that concert.

"Another Tricky Day" was also performed live first before 1981. Townshend introduced some lyrics of the song during a jam of "Dance It Away" in Los Angeles on the 1980 tour. 1981 performances of this song featured a lengthy jam at its conclusion, and these versions could reach as long as eight minutes. In 2002, this song was brought back for the North American tour as a tribute to Entwistle, who died right before the start of the tour. The song was played a few more times in 2004 as well.

"Cache Cache" and "You" were never performed live by The Who, but Daltrey performed the former once on his 2009 Use It or Lose It tour, while the John Entwistle Band sometimes played the latter during their concerts.

Track listing

All songs written by Pete Townshend except where noted.

Side one
  1. "You Better You Bet"  – 5:36
  2. "Don't Let Go The Coat"  – 3:44
  3. "Cache Cache"  – 3:57
  4. "The Quiet One" (John Entwistle)  – 3:10
  5. "Did You Steal My Money"  – 4:11
Side two
  1. "How Can You Do It Alone"  – 5:26
  2. "Daily Records"  – 3:27
  3. "You" (Entwistle)  – 4:31
  4. "Another Tricky Day"  – 4:55
1997 reissue bonus tracks
  1. "I Like Nightmares"  – 3:09
  2. "It's In You"  – 4:59
  3. "Somebody Saved Me"  – 5:31
  4. "How Can You Do It Alone" (Live, 8 December 1979, at Chicago International Amphitheater)  – 5:24
  5. "The Quiet One" (Live, 13 October 1982, at Shea Stadium)  – 4:28


The Who
Additional musicians
  • John "Rabbit" Bundrick – keyboards, synthesizer, backing vocals
  • Allen Blazek – engineering
  • Chris Charlesworth – executive producer
  • Bill Curbishley – executive producer
  • Greg Fulginiti – mastering
  • Ted Jensen – mastering
  • Bob Ludwig – remastering
  • Jimmy Patterson – assistant engineering
  • Teri Reed – assistant engineering
  • Robert Rosenberg – executive producer
  • Bill Szymczyk – production, engineering
Album artwork

Sales chart performance

Year Chart Position
1981 The Billboard 200 4[5]
1981 UK Chart Albums 2[4]
Year Single Chart Position
1981 "Another Tricky Day" Billboard Mainstream Rock 6[6]
"Daily Records" Billboard Mainstream Rock 36[6]
"Did You Steal My Money" Billboard Mainstream Rock 38[6]
"Don't Let Go The Coat" The Billboard Hot 100 84
"How Can You Do It Alone" Billboard Mainstream Rock 50[6]
"You Better You Bet" Billboard Mainstream Rock 1[6]
The Billboard Hot 100 18[6]
UK Singles Chart 9[4]
"You" Billboard Mainstream Rock 51[6]

Sales certifications

Organization Level Date
RIAA – U.S. Gold 20 May 1981[7]
Platinum 18 September 1981[7]

External links


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