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The Who - Face Dances:

UK - 1981 Polydor LP

UK - 1981 Polydor Cassette

UK - 1981 Polydor Cassette (Reissue)

UK - 1981 Polydor LP (Promo)

"Filling In The Gaps" - Face Dances Interview LP

UK - 1981 Polydor LP (Promo)

Limited Edition (250 Copies) Special Presentation Edition box. Comes with LP, and information about the artists who created the <"Face Dances"> cover

UK - 2012 Polydor/Universal LP

From "The Who Studio Albums" box set

UK/NL - 2021 Polydor/Universal LP

Record Store Day (RSD) release. 2LPs on blue & yellow vinyl. New bonus tracks (See track list and review below). European sold copies include a download card of better sounding WAV file versions of the LP

UK/NL - 2021 Polydor/Universal LP (LP 2 Inner Sleeve)

Record Store Day (RSD) release. 2LPs on blue & yellow vinyl. New bonus tracks (See track list and review below). Note "Face Dances Part 3" clever play on Pete's single, "Face Dances Part 2". Artwork from "Filling In The Gaps"

UK/NL - 2021 Polydor/Universal LP (LP 1 Blue Vinyl)

Record Store Day (RSD) release. 2LPs on blue & yellow vinyl. New bonus tracks (See track list and review below)

UK/NL - 2021 Polydor/Universal LP (LP 2 Yellow Vinyl)

Record Store Day (RSD) release. 2LPs on blue & yellow vinyl. New bonus tracks (See track list and review below)

UK/NL - 2021 Polydor/Universal LP (Closeup Of LP 1 Label)

Record Store Day (RSD) release. 2LPs on blue & yellow vinyl. New bonus tracks (See track list and review below)

UK/NL - 2021 Polydor/Universal LP (Closeup Of LP 2 Label)

Record Store Day (RSD) release. 2LPs on blue & yellow vinyl. New bonus tracks (See track list and review below)

USA- 1981 Sterling Sound LP (Acetate)

"A" side

USA- 1981 Sterling Sound LP (Acetate)

"B" side

USA- 1981 Sterling Sound LP (Acetate)

Close up of "A" side label

USA- 1981 Sterling Sound LP (Acetate)

Close up of "B" side label

USA- 1981 Sterling Sound LP (Acetate)

Paperwork included with Acetate (click on picture for closeup)

USA - 1981 Warner Brothers LP

Promo pressed on Quiex II vinyl

USA - 1981 Warner Brothers LP (Promo)

Mockup artwork for "Filling In The Gaps" - Face Dances Interview LP

USA - 1981 Warner Brothers LP (Promo)

"Filling In The Gaps" - Face Dances Interview LP

USA - 1981 Warner Brothers LP (Promo)

"Filling In The Gaps" - Face Dances Interview LP

USA - 1981 Warner Brothers Reel-To-Reel

USA - 1981 Warner Brothers 8-Track (label face)

USA - 1981 Warner Brothers LP

Columbia Record Club version

USA - 1981 Warner Brothers Cassette

RCA Record Club version

USA - 1981 Warner Brothers Cassette

RCA Record Club version

USA - 1983 MFSL LP

Vinyl is pressed in Japan - Excellent pressing

USA - 1989 MCA LP

USA - 1985 Warner Brothers CD

USA - 1985 Warner Brothers CD (Long Box)

USA - 1989 MCA CD

USA - 1989 MCA CD

Long Box Packaging

USA - 1989 MCA Cassette

USA - 1997 MCA CD

Remixed and remastered

USA - 2015 Quality Records LP (Promo)

Test pressing

USA - 2015 Quality Records LP (Promo) (Label Face)

Test pressing

USA - 2015 Geffen LP

USA - 2019 Geffen 24/96 Download

HDtracks download. <Core> album is original mix, (2) two studio bonus tracks are 1997 mixes, (2) two live tracks are new mixes (does not include bonus track, "Somebody Saved Me")

Australia - 1981 Polydor LP

Australia - 1981 Polydor Cassette

Austria - 1981 Polydor LP

Brazil - 1981 Polydor LP

Has thin white border along the top saying "The Who" and "Face Dances"

Canada - 1981 Warner Brothers LP

Canada - 1981 Warner Brothers Cassette

Canada - 1981 Warner Brothers 8-Track

Colombia - 1981 Polydor LP

Ecuador - 1981 Polydor LP

Ecuador - 1981 Polydor Cassette

France - 1981 Polydor LP

France - 1981 Polydor Cassette

Germany - 1981 Polydor LP

Germany - 1981 Polydor Cassette

Germany - 1993 Polydor CD

Germany - 1997 Polydor CD

Remixed and remastered

Greece - 1981 Polydor LP

No title on front cover

Greece - 1981 Polydor Cassette

Guatemala - 1981 Polydor LP

Holland - 1981 Polydor LP

Hong Kong - 1981 Polydor LP

Hong Kong - 1981 Polydor Cassette

Indonesia - 1981 Contessa Cassette

(With tracks from "Who Are You")

Indonesia - 1981 Contessa Cassette

(With tracks from "Who Are You")

Indonesia - 1981 US Studio Cassette

Ireland - 1981 Polydor LP

Ireland - 1981 Polydor Cassette (front)

Ireland - 1981 Polydor LP (label)

Note: "Face Dancers"

Israel - 1981 Polydor LP (front cover)

Israel - 1981 Polydor LP (back cover)

Italy - 1981 RCA LP

Japan - 1981 CBS/Sony LP

Japan - 1996 Polydor CD

Original mix

Japan - 1999 Polydor CD

Remixed/Remastered. Mini-LP cover

Japan - 2002 Polydor CD

Remixed/Remastered

Japan - 2011 Polydor CD

SHMCD. Mini-LP cover. <Core> studio tracks are the original mix. "It's In You" is the corrected version and extended by 14 seconds, "Somebody Saved Me" is a Work-In-Process version. New mastering

Japan - 2013 Polydor CD

1997 mix & mastering. SHMCD

Korea - 1981 Polydor LP (Promo)

Korea - 1981 Polydor Cassette

Korea - 1981 Life LP

Korea - 1981 SH LP

Mexico - 1981 Polydor LP (Promo)

Front cover

Mexico - 1981 Polydor LP (Promo)

Back cover

Mexico - 1981 Polydor LP (Promo)

Front cover

Mexico - 1981 Polydor LP (Promo)

Back cover

Mexico - 1981 Polydor LP (Promo)

Front cover

Mexico - 1981 Polydor LP (Promo)

Back cover

Mexico - 1981 Polydor LP

Titles in Spanish & English

Mexico - 1981 Polydor Cassette

Titles in Spanish & English

New Zealand - 1981 Polydor LP

New Zealand - 1981 Polydor Cassette

Norway - 1981 Polydor LP

Vinyl pressed in Germany

Philippines - 1981 Polydor LP

Portugal - 1981 Polydor LP

Portugal - 1981 Polydor LP (Promo)

Saudi Arabia - 1981 Foot Print Cassette

Saudi Arabia - 1981 IMD Cassette

Saudi Arabia - 1981 747 Cassette

Saudi Arabia - 1981 GMR Cassette

South Africa - 1981 Polydor LP

Spain - 1981 Polydor LP

Spain - 1981 Polydor Cassette

Taiwan - 1981 JLB LP

Thailand - 1981 Swing Cassette

Thailand - 1981 Peackock Cassette

Yugoslavia - 1981 RTB LP

Yugoslavia - 1981 RTB Cassette

Mistakes in titles: "Did You Steal The Money", "Dayly Records"

Zimbabwe - 1981 Polydor LP


Album: Face Dances

LPs (vinyl) Sampled: Polydor (UK), Warner Brothers (USA), Warner Brothers – promo copy pressed on Quiex II vinyl (USA), MFSL (USA), Sony (Japan), Polydor/UMC (UK/NL RSD Version)

CDs (original mix) Sampled: Polydor (Germany), Warner Brothers (USA), Polydor (Japan - Various)

CDs (remix) Sampled: Polydor (Germany), MCA-1st issue (USA), MCA-2nd issue (USA) *, Polydor (Japan)

Other Sampled: HDtracks Download (www.hdtracks.com), The Sound Of Vinyl Download (www.thesoundofvinyl.com). The latter include a download card with European sold copies of the 2021 RSD LP.

LP Comments: MFSL manufactured this one in Japan and it's perfect in every detail. The other versions (above) all sound fine with various minor differences.

The 2021 Record Store Day (RSD), is dull and lifeless, but can be brought back to life with some simple self-remastering. The first 30 seconds of the live, "Another Tricky Day" bonus track are distorted.

Note: MCA subsequently released this (on both vinyl and CD), after the Who deal with Warner Brothers fell apart. I have not listened to either one of these at this time.

CD (original mix) comments: The Warner Brothers (USA) sounds slightly better than the Polydor (Germany) copy. The Polydor (Japan) copy isn't as full-ranged or clear sounding as the other two.

CD (remix) comments: Both the Polydor (Germany) and MCA (USA) sound identical. * (The harshness problems associated with the several MCA CDs that preceded this release are not evident here.) The Polydor (Japan) has extra bass in the mastering, which detracts from the above.

HD comments: Not quite as crisp sound as some of the other releases. The bonus track, "Somebody Saved Me" has been deleted and alternate mixes for the live bonus tracks, "How Can You Do It Alone" and "The Quiet One" have been substituted.

The Sound Of Vinyl comments (2021 RSD only): Oddly, European buyers of the 2021 Record Store Day LPs have a download card included with their LP package. The downloads are 16/44 (CD quality) WAV files, which are identical to the digital remastered files created prior to the LP mastering. The studio tracks sound perfect! Unfortunately, the (4) four live tracks have excessive reverb. Overall, this version is far superior to its LP counterpart.

Compare for yourself!
 
Below are 30 second WAV samples of "Don't Let Go The Coat" from various pressings of "Face Dances" as described above.

1981 USA LP   1981 Japan LP   1983 USA LP (MFSL)   1985 USA CD (Warner Brother)   1989 USA CD MCA   1993 Germany/UK CD   1996 Japan CD   1997 USA CD (Remix)   1997 Germany/UK CD (Remix)   1999 Japan CD (Remix)   2011 Japan CD     2019 HD Download   2021 UK Master   2021 UK/NL LP (HD)   2021 UK/NL Download
Note: Sound comparisons are only as good as your ears and the equipment you are listening to the music with.

Summary: If you prefer the original mix, your first choice should be the MFSL LP, followed by the Warner Brothers CD. If you prefer the remix (and its nice bonus track selection), the 2nd issue * MCA (USA) CD is the preferred choice. Be mindful of the various bonus tracks (see track listings below) if you want all of the available tracks.

Other Comments: * When "Face Dances" was originally reissued, there was a digital glitch on the bonus track, "It's In You", that sounds like a skip (listen below). As soon as MCA was notified, it immediately corrected all subsequent manufactured CDs and offered replacements to whoever wanted one. Polydor's production has been as timely. Producer Jon Astley said that he gave them a new master in 12/99 (The 2011 Japan CD not only uses the corrected version, but is 14 seconds longer). Most likely this album was a slow seller in Europe and Japan. Another mastering error occurred with "Somebody Saved Me". At 0:49, there's a quick tape wobble (listen below). The 2011 Japan CD has a different, work-in-process version of "Somebody Saved Me", which features Pete Townshend's demo/guide vocal and missing overdubs.

Face Dances - Version Comparisons (MP3):
 
You Better You Bet:

Demo   Original Mix   Remix (a)   1981 Live Version   1981 Live Version (c)

Don't Let Go The Coat:

Demo   Demo (Alternate)   Original Mix   Remix (a)   1981 Live Version (1)   1981 Live Version (2)   1981 Live Version (c)

Cache Cache:

Demo   Original Mix   Remix (a)

The Quiet One:

Original Mix   Remix (a)   1981 Live Version (1)   1982 Live Version (2) (a)   1982 Live Version (2) (b)   1981 Live Version (c)

Did You Steal My Money:

Demo   Original Mix   Remix (a)  1981 Live Version

How Can You Do It Alone:

Demo   Original Mix   Remix (a)  1979 Live Version (a)  1979 Live Version (b)   1981 Live Version

Daily Records:

Demo   Original Mix   Remix (a)

You:

Original Mix   Remix (a)   1988 John Entwistle Band Live Version   1998 John Entwistle Band Live Version

Another Tricky Day
:

Demo   Original Mix   Remix (a)   1981 Live Version (1)   1981 Live Version (2)   1981 Live Version (c)

I Like Nightmares:

Remix (a)

It's In You:

Demo   Remix (a)  1981 Rehearsal Version   Glitch Version (*)   Corrected Version (*)

Somebody Saved Me:

Remix (a)  2011 Work-In-Process Version   1981 Pete Townshend Solo Version   Tape Wobble @ 0:49 **

Dance It Away:

Remix (c)

Don't Let Go The Coat (Alternate, Pete Vocal Version):


Remix (c)

Notes:

(a) Remix versions and live versions of "1982 The Quiet One" and "1979 How Can You Do It Alone" engineered by Revolution Studios Manchester, UK
(b) Alternate sourced live tapes used for 2019 HDtracks Download
(c) Remix versions and live versions engineered by FX Studios London, UK
* See comments directly above this "grey" section relating to the story about the "glitch" and its correction.
** Tape wobble created during mastering process. Never corrected on CD versions

Face Dances RSD Remastered. Click here for step-by-step instructions to remaster your LP at home...

About: Face Dances

I recall when I bought this album on the day it came out. I had a new Saab (which of course turned into a "Saab Story" - they all seemed to).

So... driving along in my blue Saab - I was thinking the whole time - wow! What a great album! This was the first Who album of new material that I heard since becoming a fan late in 1978... (Dumb kid - what did I know)

As I learned more about the band over the years and in 1982 started seriously collecting (from 17 Who records in the summer of 1982 to over 100 by year end...), I quickly began to realize how flawed this album was.

The album's producer, Bill Szymczyk (also sometimes endearingly referred to by fans as Mr. Myxlplyx) says it best:

"Face Dances was the roughest album I have ever made. It was worse than The Long Run. It really was hard as hell. Pete was in really bad shape, at that point. He has long since cleaned up, but he was in really rough shape. The band couldn’t stand Roger Daltrey, at the time, and Roger couldn’t stand the band. We would do tracks without Roger and then when Roger would come in to do vocals, the band wouldn’t show up. It really was a tough album to make. Keith was gone; this was the first album after Keith died. Kenny Jones is good, but he’s not Keith Moon. I, also, could not for the life of me, make John Entwistle stop thinking that he was a lead guitar player. It got to the point, halfway through the album, he hated me and the feeling was mutual."

hMMM...

John Entwistle on "Face Dances" (from the July 6, 1981 Rolling Stone Magazine Radio Show):

When asked if he liked the album

"No, not really. I think it should have been a lot heavier. That we set out to make it a lot heavier than it was. It turned out a lot softer than we thought it would be. It was a mixture of things. One of us, mainly me, was supposed to be prepping the mixes and everything was put back two or three weeks. Ahhh… So Bill Szymczyk was mixing at the same time we were rehearsing in England, ahh… so I couldn’t be there. Ummm… I could have sorted out a lot of my problems and a lot of my feelings with the album had I been there."

It wasn't Pete's writing (which was actually very good), it wasn't the style (The Who imitating The Police???) Was it the drumming?

No... It was the production style, which just wasn't right for The Who (a tough lot to work with!).

The sound quality of the original recording (and most of its successors) is great - and the remix is far better than the original - but - where the hell is Pete??? The guitar(s) are mostly absent from this album. Great vocals from Roger, some nice drum sounds, keyboards, John's bass in the distance and Pete occasionally shows up to add little guitar parts (in the middle of "Don't Let Go The Coat" Pete has a guest appearance).

Does this make any sense? What were they thinking? Or, perhaps as described in the producer's own words, he unintentionally created a clusterfuck.

The one track which seems to be best produced is "It's In You". It has a much better bass sound (and some guitar). The irony of course is that it was left off the original album...

Oh well...

As for the music...

My favorite tracks in the album are...

* You Better You Bet (I actually prefer the demo with the rolling piano better!)
* Don't Let Go The Coat (it's a nice song)
* Did You Steal My Money (it's a fun song and I like the vocals effects)
* Daily Records (one of my hobbies - great song)
* You (great "break up" song, isn't it?)
* Another Tricky Day (isn't it always?)
* It's In You (a really great song *)

* When the remix was released - I played it and noticed immediately a digital glitch on this song. It was just like an old fashion record needle skip and the song did a quick repeat of a previous section. Apparently
Bob Ludwig who mastered the album didn't notice! So I called up my friend, Andy McKaie at MCA and he had Bob fix his error and immediately corrected it in production. Andy/MCA was gracious enough to offer replacement CDs to anyone who was unhappy with the glitch. Polydor fixed their copies after 1999, but its anyone's guess how to identify them.

2021 Record Store Day RSD Reissue

The Record Store Day concept is a good one - provide something special to support the independent record stores. With that in mind, a new "Face Dances" was constructed. Unfortunately after discussing all the cool live performances (i.e. Did You Steal My Money & How Can You Do It Alone) from the 1981 UK tour, the only concert tapes existing in the vaults from the "Face Dances" period were the March 1981 Rockpalast show. With an additional LP to fill with bonus material, we were short. I had initially suggested including Pete's demos of Daily Records and Another Tricky Day, since the rest of Pete's demos (for the core album) have been released via his Scoop series. However, that idea was rejected because they wanted this release to be "100% Who". Around the same time, I had been chatting with a friend, who owns "Face Dances" outtake reels, so I knew there must be some additional material in the vaults (unless it was lost or tossed). Fortunately, (2) two previously unreleased outtakes were discovered!

* Dance It Away (a complete Who version with Roger on lead vocals!) Compare to his one and only live performance from St Paul, MN in 1980 Dance It Away (Live)

* Don't Let Go The Coat (an alternate, longer version with Pete on lead vocals and different lyrics)

The original studio bonus tracks (from 1997 on) and these tracks and (4) four remixed tracks from the Rockpalast show (see track listing below), now comprised a refreshed, new and exciting "Face Dances".

However, we all know the line from Quadrophenia...

     "Here by the sea and sand, nothing ever goes as planned..." 

Unfortunately, what should have been a fantastic release, was ruined! The sound quality of the new LPs is comparable to an old 8-Track Tape (the sound is dull and lifeless).

Some reviews around the net...

"When I put on this new Face Dances it sounded like a blanket had been thrown over the speakers. Quiet, flat pressing-but lifeless..."

"The sound spectrum is fairly dull and lifeless..."

"What I hear is on LP 1 is a dull and muddy mix..."

"This one (RSD release) just sounds bad. I can get some high end by adjusting the treble but not much..."

"I'm sure the lack of high end cannot be resolved. Not the definitive version fans deserved..."

"Even with the treble knob up to 11, there wasn't much high end on the 1st LP. Dull and at times, muddy..."

"The RSD reissue is definitely thuddish sounding with not enough top end..."

"I don't know how this pressing became so muddy..."

"The recording is a quite dead sounding..."

"Tinkering with my bass/mid/treble dials did nothing to compensate for sounds that just aren't there..."

"Lack of high frequencies detracts from an otherwise excellent reissue pressing and package. No twiddling of knobs is able to restore the upper range, so that part is rather flat..."

I've heard the studio masters and they were absolutely perfect.

Something must have gotten screwed up between the 1/2 speed mastering at Abbey Road Studios and/or the record plant in Holland.

While most of us have multiple copies of "Face Dances", this LP is the only source for the <new> bonus tracks.

(I recorded the LP digitally and have been playing with the EQ. I believe I've fixed it. You can try it yourself by following the step-by-step instructions on the Face Dances Remastered page)

While it's nice to get a sharply packaged new LP set, the main purpose of any music release is the listening experience (vs. hanging the LP on your wall as art). If that isn't the primary objective, there's no real point to the rest.

(Perhaps the record company will consider offering some type of download purchase for North American customers unhappy with their LP purchase. Note: European buys had a download card included with their purchase.)

The original LP came with a poster of the cover art. This release substitutes the same with (4) four 12"x12" prints of each of the band members (from the original cover art).

Lastly, the credits...

The original 1997 bonus tracks "I Like Nightmares", "It's In You" and "Somebody Saved Me" were remixed by Andy Macpherson at Revolution Studios, Manchester, UK. Nowhere is he credited for his work.

Track Listing:

Original Mix: You Better You Bet, Don't Let Go The Coat, Cache Cache, The Quiet One, Did You Steal My Money, How Can You Do It Alone?, Daily Records, You, Another Tricky Day

Remix (1997 And Various Subsequent Versions): You Better You Bet, Don't Let Go The Coat, Cache, Cache, The Quiet One, Did You Steal My Money, How Can You Do It Alone?, Daily Records, You, Another Tricky Day, I Like Nightmares, It's In You, Somebody Saved Me, How Can You Do It Alone (live in 1979), The Quiet One (live in 1982)

2011 Japan CD: You Better You Bet, Don't Let Go The Coat, Cache, Cache, The Quiet One, Did You Steal My Money, How Can You Do It Alone?, Daily Records, You, Another Tricky Day, I Like Nightmares, It's In You (Corrected & Extended by 14 Seconds), Somebody Saved Me (Alternate, Work-In-Process Mix), How Can You Do It Alone (live in 1979), The Quiet One (live in 1982) (This CD features the original mix on the original "Face Dances" tracks and the alternate version of "Somebody Saved Me". This CD uses remixes for the remainder of the bonus tracks.)

2019 HD Download: You Better You Bet, Don't Let Go The Coat, Cache, Cache, The Quiet One, Did You Steal My Money, How Can You Do It Alone?, Daily Records, You, Another Tricky Day, I Like Nightmares, It's In You, How Can You Do It Alone (live in 1979 - Alternate Mix and extended), The Quiet One (live in 1982 - Alternate Mix)

2021 Record Store Day LP/The Sound Of Vinyl Download: You Better You Bet, Don't Let Go The Coat, Cache, Cache, The Quiet One, Did You Steal My Money, How Can You Do It Alone?, Daily Records, You, Another Tricky Day, I Like Nightmares, It's In You, Somebody Saved Me, Dance It Away, Don't Let Go The Coat (alternate Pete Townshend lead vocal version), Don't Let Go The Coat (Live), You Better You Bet (Live), The Quiet One (Live), Another Tricky Day (Live)

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