The Who Albums Ranked (rated from worst to best)

The Who Albums Ranked (rated from worst to best)

One of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century, The Who were formed in 1964 in London. The Who have sold more than 100 million records worldwide and are responsible for developing some of the most used musical systems in place today; Including large PA systems, the Marshall Stack and the use of the synthesiser. Also some of Pete Townshend’s playing techniques (the use of feedback and power chords) have influenced many guitarists throughout the world. 

They are one of the most influential bands of all time with many punk and hard rock bands citing the Who as their main influences. The Who’s first single “I Can’t Explain” (1965) reached number 8 in the UK top ten single chart and sounds as relevant today as it ever was.

Best Who Albums Of All Time

Considering just how many compilation albums the Who have made over the past 6 decades, it’s amazing to think that all of their studio work comes down to just 12 albums. Many of the singles taken from these 12 albums still find regular airplay on radio stations worldwide. Here are our WHO albums ranked as we see them from worst to best. 

12. Who (2019)

This was the Who’s 12th studio album and it was released on December 6th 2019. It reached number 3 on the UK album charts and number 2 on the Billboard 200 chart in the US. It says something about the quality of the output of the Who that this album is only worthy of last place on this list. However something has to, and as this album has less energy than some of their earlier work we felt this is the worst of the best.

11. Endless Wire (2006)

This was their first studio release since 1982 as well as their first release since the death of John Entwistle. It debuted at number 9 on the UK album chart and number 7 on the Billboard 200 chart. 

10. It’s Hard (1982)

The Who’s 10th studio album which was released on September 4th 1982, It’s Hard only reached number 11 in the UK album charts and number 8 on the Billboard pop albums chart. It was the second and last album that Kenney Jones appeared on as drummer. And their last album for 24 years until Endless Wire in 2006. On the track “It’s Your Turn”, Andy Fairweather Low plays rhythm guitar and Tim Gorman plays keyboard on “Eminence Front”.

9. Face Dances (1981)

This was the Who’s 9th studio album and was released on March 21st 1981. The album reached number 2 on the UK album charts and number 4 on the Billboard 200 chart. It contains the single “You Better You Bet” which was one of the first music videos to be aired on MTV and was the first video ever to be repeated on MTV.

8. The Who By Numbers (1975)

This was the band’s 7th studio album which was released on October 3rd 1975 in the UK and 3 weeks later in the US. It was their first album recorded on the Polydor label and reached number 7 on the UK album charts and number 8 on the Billboard 200 chart. It contained the single “Squeezebox” which became a regular at all Who concerts after its release.

7. A Quick One (1966)

A Quick One was released on December 9th 1966 and was the Who’s 2nd studio album. The 

Track “A Quick One While He’s Away”, the title track of the album, was the Who’s first experiment into the extended track concept that later led onto the completion of two rock operas; “Tommy” and “Quadrophenia”.

6. Who Are You (1978)

The 8th studio album by the Who released on August 18th 1978, “Who Are You” reached number 6 on the UK album charts and number 2 on the US charts. It was their last album to feature drummer Keith Moon who died 3 weeks after its release. The production of the album was plagued with problems including; Keith Moon’s inability to think of anything to play, Roger Daltrey’s throat surgery, Pete Townshend’s cut hand and Session keyboardist John “Rabbit” Bundrick’s broken arm.

5. The Who Sell Out (1967)

This was their 3rd studio album which was released on October 14th 1967. It was a concept album which featured a collection of tracks interspersed with fake commercials and announcements in the style of pirate radio stations that were common in that era. The album only reached number 13 in the UK album charts and number 48 on the Billboard Pop album chart.

4. Quadrophenia (1973)

The Who’s 6th studio album, released on October 26 1973 as a double album, Quadrophenia was their 3rd concept album and 2nd rock opera.  It is the only Who album entirely composed by Pete Townshend. Quadrophenia inspired the film version which was released in 1979 and featured Phil Daniels as Jimmy and Sting as Ace Face.

3. Tommy (1969)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQ3Tul2F7vg

Tommy was the 4th studio album by the Who and it was released on May 17th 1969. It was a double album and their first fully fledged rock opera. The Who performed tracks throughout 1969 and 1970 from Tommy at Woodstock, the Isle of Wight festival and the Metropolitan Opera house. It reached number 2 on the UK album charts in 1969 and number 4 on the Billboard Pop charts.

2. My Generation (1965)

This was the Who’s debut album which was released on December 3rd 1965 and in the US under the title “The Who Sings My Generation” on April 25th 1966. It reached number 5 on the UK album charts even though the band said it didn’t reflect their stage performances of the time and was recorded too quickly, being as it was released immediately after their first successful single releases. In classic Who style they were at odds with their management company right from the start.

1. Who’s Next (1971)

Released on August 14th 1971 as their 5th studio album, “Who’s Next “was the Who’s best album ever made. It contains such classic tracks as “Baba O’Riley”, “Behind Blue Eyes” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again”. The album reached number one on the UK album charts and number 4 on the Billboard 200 charts.

Bonus Album We Had To Mention

We never usually include compilation albums or live albums in these rankings but in this case we feel we need to make an exception. That’s because this album was different from the usual live albums where people often say the record company is just cashing in. This album is actually a great record in its own right, we are talking about…

The Who Live At Leeds (1970)

This album is a recording of a concert the Who performed at Leeds University during the period of promoting “Tommy” and not long after returning from performing at Woodstock. The full album includes “Tommy” plus many of their older material and it also includes a number of covers. It captures the energy of the band when they were at their peak.

All The Who Albums In Chronological Order

AlbumYear
My Generation1965
A Quick One1966
The Who Sell Out1967
Tommy1969
Who’s Next 1971
Quadrophenia1973
The Who By Numbers1975
Who Are You1978
Face Dances1981
It’s Hard1982
Endless Wire2006
Who2019

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best selling Who album?

The WHO’s best selling album is “Tommy”which has sold over 20 million copies since its release.

What is the newest Who album?

The newest WHO album is “Who” which was released in 2019 as their 12th studio album.

What is the first Who album?

The Who’s first album was “My Generation” which was released on December 3rd 1965 in the UK and in the US under the title of “The Who Sings My Generation” on April 25th 1966.

What is the Who’s most famous song?

The Who’s most famous song is Baba O’Riley which was the opening track on the album “Who’s Next”. It has been suggested that Baba O’Riley is the greatest rock and roll song of all time.

When did the Who start?

The Who were formed in 1964 in London, England.

What genre is the Who

The Who’s genres are Rock, power pop and hard rock.

Who are the members of the Who?

The current members of the Who are Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey. The past members of the Who are Keith Moon, John Entwistle, Kenney Jones and Doug Sandom.

Disclosure: We are a professional review site that receives compensation from the companies whose products we review.

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