A Quick One is the second studio album by the English rock band the Who, released on 9 December 1966. The album was also released under the title Happy Jack on Decca Records in April 1967 in the United States, with a slightly altered track listing, where the song "Happy Jack" was a top 40 hit.

A Quick One
A quick one.jpg
Studio album by
Released9 December 1966 (UK)
April 1967 (US)
RecordedSeptember – November 1966
StudioIBC Studios, Regent Sound Studios in London,
and Pye Studios in London
Length31:48 (UK)
32:18 (US)
LabelReaction/Polydor (UK)
Decca, MCA (US)
ProducerKit Lambert
The Who UK chronology
Ready Steady Who
A Quick One
The Who Sell Out
The Who US chronology
The Who Sings My Generation
Happy Jack
The Who Sell Out
Singles from A Quick One
  1. "Happy Jack"
    Released: 2 December 1966
  2. "Boris the Spider"
    Released: 1967

Unlike other albums by the Who, where guitarist Pete Townshend was the primary or sole songwriter, A Quick One features significant songwriting contributions from all band members, with singer Roger Daltrey contributing one song, bassist John Entwistle contributing two, and drummer Keith Moon contributing two. The album also included a cover of the Holland–Dozier–Holland song "Heat Wave" and ends with a short musical suite titled "A Quick One, While He's Away", which served as an inspiration for later rock operas that the Who would become known for.

Composition and productionEdit

The Who's second studio album departs from the R&B emphasis of the first. Part of the marketing push for the album was a requirement that each band member should write at least two of the songs on it, though Roger Daltrey only wrote one ("See My Way"), so this is the Who album least dominated by Pete Townshend's songwriting. It was recorded at IBC Studios, Pye Studios, and Regent Sound in London England in 1966 by record producer Kit Lambert. Townshend said that this push for equal contribution led to the exclusion of the band's singles that he had written.[1]

"Boris the Spider" was written after John Entwistle had been out drinking with the Rolling Stones' bass guitarist Bill Wyman. They were making up funny names for animals when Entwistle came up with the song. "Boris the Spider" quickly became Entwistle's most popular song, still performed decades later: in later years he often wore a spider necklace.

"Heat Wave", the only cover-version and the only reversion to the group's soul influences, a song by Tamla's Holland–Dozier–Holland team, was replaced by "Happy Jack" on the original US release but included on the 1974 double album repackaging of A Quick One and The Who Sell Out.

"A Quick One, While He's Away", the title track of the album, is a nine-minute suite of song snippets telling a story of infidelity and reconciliation, the first foray into an extended form that led to the so-called "rock operas" Tommy and Quadrophenia.

Keith Moon's "I Need You", was originally titled "I Need You (Like I Need a Hole in the Head)". Moon thought the Beatles spoke in a secret language behind his back, and this song was his way of getting back at them. Although Moon denied that a vocal part in the song was a John Lennon imitation, Entwistle said that, in fact, it was.[2]

"Cobwebs and Strange" was originally called "Showbiz Sonata", though Entwistle claimed that the melody came from the UK television series Man From Interpol.[2]

The mod/pop number "So Sad About Us", according to AllMusic, is "one of the Who's most covered songs".[3] The Merseys, Shaun Cassidy, Primal Scream, the Breeders and the Jam have recorded studio versions.

Each band member played a wind instrument on "Cobwebs and Strange": Townshend played the penny-whistle, Entwistle on the trumpet, Daltrey on the trombone, and Moon on the tuba.[citation needed]

Cover artEdit

The album was intended to be pop music, a sonic participant in the pop art movement. The cover was designed by the pop art exponent Alan Aldridge,[4] with the front cover depicting the band playing their instruments, as the titles of some songs from the album come out of the instruments in the form of onomatopoeiae: "Cobwebs and Strange" for Moon (top left), "Whiskey Man" for Entwistle (bottom left), "See My Way" for Daltrey (top right), and "A Quick One, While He's Away" for Townshend (bottom right). The back cover of the UK release is black, with the title and track listing across the top, and a colour head-shot photograph of each band member with the letters of "The W H O" superimposed individually over their faces.[citation needed] The back cover of the US release is a black-and-white photo montage of the band members accompanied by a short personality sketch of each (infamous among Who fans for Keith Moon's humorous assertion that he was keen on "breeding chickens"). A track listing, a couple of paragraphs touting the band, an ad for their first album, and a technical blurb are also crowded onto the back cover of the US release.[citation needed]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [5]
MusicHound Rock3.5/5[6]
Q     [7]
Rolling Stone     [8]
The Daily VaultB+[9]

Rolling Stone's Steve Appleford said that the album's cheerful pop style has an authentic quality with trifles like "Cobwebs and Strange" that are reconciled by "absolutely perfect, poignant pop tune[s]" such as "So Sad About Us".[8] The album was later described as "fascinatingly quirky" by the magazine.[10] In Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981), Robert Christgau included the album's American version in his "basic record library".[11] Rolling Stone ranked the album #383 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, published in 2003,[12] and #384 in 2012.[13]

Track listingEdit

A Quick OneEdit

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."Run Run Run"Pete TownshendRoger Daltrey2:44[a]
2."Boris the Spider"John EntwistleJohn Entwistle2:29
3."I Need You"Keith MoonKeith Moon2:25
4."Whiskey Man"EntwistleEntwistle2:57
5."Heat Wave"Daltrey, with Pete Townshend1:57
6."Cobwebs and Strange"Mooninstrumental2:31
Total length:15:02
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."Don't Look Away"TownshendDaltrey2:54
2."See My Way"Roger DaltreyDaltrey1:53
3."So Sad About Us"TownshendDaltrey3:04
4."A Quick One, While He's Away" (
  1. "Her Man's Been Gone"
  2. "Crying Town"
  3. "We Have a Remedy"
  4. "Ivor the Engine Driver"
  5. "Soon Be Home"
  6. "You Are Forgiven"
TownshendDaltrey, Entwistle and Townshend9:10
Total length:17:01

1 The mono version fades out sooner, giving it a total running time of 2:33.[14]

Happy JackEdit

Side one
1."Run Run Run"2:44
2."Boris the Spider"2:30
3."I Need You"2:25
4."Whiskey Man"2:57
5."Cobwebs and Strange"2:31
6."Happy Jack"2:11
Total length:15:18
Side two
1."Don't Look Away"2:53
2."See My Way"1:53
3."So Sad About Us"3:04
4."A Quick One, While He's Away"9:10
Total length:17:00

Jigsaw PuzzleEdit

An early version of the Who's second album was to be titled Jigsaw Puzzle.[2] Its preliminary running order consisted of the following tracks:


The Who

  • Roger Daltrey – lead vocals, trombone on "Cobwebs and Strange"
  • Pete Townshend – guitar, backing vocals, co-lead vocals on "A Quick One, While He's Away", tin whistle on "Cobwebs and Strange"
  • John Entwistle – bass, backing vocals, lead vocals on "Boris the Spider", "Whiskey Man" and co-lead vocals on “A Quick One, While He’s Away”, French horn, trumpet on "Cobwebs and Strange"
  • Keith Moon – drums, backing vocals, lead vocals on "I Need You", tuba on "Cobwebs and Strange"

A Quick One personnel

1995 credits

  • Design [original vinyl sleeve]: Alan Aldridge
  • Design, Art Direction: Richard Evans
  • Executive-Producer: Bill Curbishley, Chris Charlesworth, Robert Rosenberg
  • Liner notes: Chris Stamp
  • Producer: Jon Astley
  • Producer [original recording]: Kit Lambert
  • Remix, remastered by: Andy Macpherson, Jon Astley


Weekly chartsEdit

Year Chart Position
1966 UK Chart Albums 4[15]



Year Single Chart Position
1967 "Happy Jack" Billboard Pop Singles 24[17]
1966 "Happy Jack" UK Singles Charts 3[15]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Townshend, Pete (2012). Who I Am. HarperCollins. pp. 93–4. ISBN 978-0062127242.
  2. ^ a b c "The Hypertext Who – Liner Notes – A Quick One". Thewho.net. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
  3. ^ https://www.allmusic.com/song/t3563653
  4. ^ Liner notes to the CD reissue
  5. ^ AllMusic review
  6. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 1227. ISBN 1-57859-061-2.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  7. ^ Q. London (September): 140. 1995.CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)
  8. ^ a b Appleford, Steve (1995). "A Quick One (Happy Jack) Album Review". Rolling Stone. New York (5 October). Retrieved 9 October 2014.
  9. ^ Thelen, Christopher (2019). "The Daily Vault Music Reviews : A Quick One". dailyvault.com. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  10. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  11. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: W". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved 9 March 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
  12. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 25 November 2016.
  13. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time Rolling Stone's definitive list of the 500 greatest albums of all time". Rolling Stone. 2012. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  14. ^ "The Who – Run Run Run (Original MONO Mix) – YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
  15. ^ a b "The Who at". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
  16. ^ "Certified Awards Search". SNEP. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  17. ^ "The Who Official Band Website – Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle, and Keith Moon , , A Quick One". Thewho.com. Retrieved 15 May 2011.

External linksEdit