The Who

Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere

Song Review by

While their debut single, "I Can't Explain," had introduced the Who's power pop to the British rock scene, its follow-up, "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere," took that power pop into territory that no rock band had ever previously explored. That was not just power pop (and there was much power pop in the sung verses); this was also rock as pop art, and in the cacophonous instrumental break and finale, rock as auto-destruction. The track kicks off with a furiously strummed, almost bolero rhythm series of guitar chords, as if announcing a bullfighter about to step into the ring. The verses are supremely confident expressions of the mod ethos: the freedom to do anything, anywhere, at any time, Roger Daltrey's typically macho vocal bolstered by full pop harmonies. Then it's into a slow dramatic section -- it's more like a detour than a bridge or chorus -- in which Daltrey's hoarse boasts are backed by a seismic rubble that boils over into a maelstrom of guitar feedback and crashing drums. Feedback had been previously used on rock recordings -- most notably the Beatles' "I Feel Fine" -- and explored in concert, principally by the Who themselves. However, there had never been a rock recording where guitar feedback became the actual solo, screeching, swooping, and bleeping like a Morse code signal. It was downright avant-garde for mid-1965: Even more surprisingly, it sat in the middle of a Top Ten British single. As the feedback came to a close, the rumbling noises returned, the instrumental break concluding with a series of supremely exclamatory power pop guitar chords from Pete Townshend. After one more verse, another explosion threatened to rear its head, as a blustering Daltrey extemporized some variations on the title phrase and the rhythm picked up in pace, suddenly halting with a burst of shock-wave feedback. Daltrey is credited as co-writer, though the song was principally the work of Townshend, but a Townshend-Daltrey songwriting partnership was not to be: This is the only Townshend-Daltrey composition ever to be recorded. Although it made the British Top Ten, "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" totally missed the charts in the U.S. Unfortunately -- unlike the Who's other two 1965 British hits, "I Can't Explain" and "My Generation" -- it didn't become a perennial live standard for the band, although surviving footage of mid-'60s performances confirms that they did even wilder versions of "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" on stage. Certainly the song had a major impact upon David Bowie, who put a feedback break similar to that used in "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" in his flop 1965 single "You've Got a Habit of Leaving" (produced, as the Who single was, by Shel Talmy). Bowie eventually did "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" itself on his album of covers of mid-'60s British rock classics, Pin-Ups.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The Who Sings My Generation 1965 Universal 0:00
Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy 1971 MCA 2:42
The Kids Are Alright [Video] 1979 Sanctuary
Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy/Who by Numbers 1982 MCA
No Image 1984
Various Artists
MGM / UA
The Who 1985 Grupo Laser Disc
Who's Better, Who's Best 1988 MCA 2:39
No Image 1990
Various Artists
Pioneer
Thirty Years of Maximum R&B 1994 MCA 2:38
My Generation: The Very Best of the Who 1996 MCA 2:40
In Crowd: the Ultimate Mod Collection 1958-67 2001
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 2:41
The Ultimate Collection 2002 Universal Distribution 2:41
The Early Collection: Magic Bus/Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy/Who's Missing 2004 Griffin 2:42
My Generation [Japan Box Set] 2008 Universal 2:43
The Who Hits 50! 2014 Geffen 2:41
Maximum A's & B's 2017 MCA / Polydor 2:41
Anyway Anyhow Anywhere Geffen / Universal 2:44
No Image Hiwatt 2:41
Maximum BBC [Bootleg]