Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Censored In America: The Who's "Substitute"

THE WHO-Substitute/Waltz For A Pig U.S. Atco 6509 1966

Not too many British bands in the 60's had their lyrics altered on vinyl to suit American consumers. The Who might well have been the first!

"Substitute" was the band's fourth single, released in the U.K. on Robert Stigqood's Reaction (591001 March 1966) label after litigation with producer Shel Talmy and their break with Decca's Brunswick subsidiary.  There was considerable uproar when the band originally issued the 45 with the Talmy produced "Circles" on the B-side, it was withdrawn, reissued with "Instant Party" (a reworking of "Circles" that also cropped up on the U.S. issue of  their "My Generation" LP) only to see that cancelled and finally issued with an interesting number called "Waltz For A Pig" on the flip side credited to "The Who Orchestra" (more on that in a bit).

The American issue one month later was prepared for a one off on Atco as their legal troubles in the U.K. with Brunswick also carried over to their issues with U.S. Decca (with whom they'd released three 45's with from Brunswick material).  However the folks at Atco took exception to the line "I look all white but my dad was black" and the band knuckled under and re-recorded it with a new verse "I try going forward but my feet walk back". Little bother as it'd be another year or so until "I Can See For Miles" firmly catapulted The Who into America's charts for the first time.

On the flip The Graham Bond Organization (managed by Robert Stigwood) provided a Ginger Baker penned dirge called "Waltz For A Pig" (songwriting credits were "Butcher". Baker, get it?).  In addition to Graham Bond on organ and Baker on drums stalwart member Dick Heckstall Smith played sax and trumpet was played by Mike Falana. In the 2006 Cream documentary "Cream:Classic Artists" Baker volunteers that he got £2,000.00 for selling the tune to The Who and spent it on a brand new Rover 2000. For years the track was a mystery to my friends and I as it graced many a Who bootleg in the 80's, though it's horns made it feasibly sound like a demented Entwistle number!!

Hear the U.S. 45 version of "Substitute":

Hear "Waltz For A Pig":

No comments: