October 25, 2020

Boris The Spider

From the "A Quick One" liner notes by Chris Charleworth with additions by Brian Cady.

 

Recorded at Pye Studios, London Oct. 4, 1966.

John’s creepy, crawly story, the very first song he wrote for The Who, endured as a live favourite throughout their entire career. The band even played it on their 25th anniversary re-union tour in 1989.

From the A Quick One liner notes by Chris Charleworth with additions by Brian Cady:

 

Recorded at Pye Studios, London Oct. 4, 1966.

John’s creepy, crawly story, the very first song he wrote for The Who, endured as a live favourite throughout their entire career. The band even played it on their 25th anniversary re-union tour in 1989.

John has stated that "Whiskey Man" was the first song he wrote for The Who. Cornered by Pete for a second song for the LP, John said he had one about a spider named Boris, based on funny names for animals he had concocted with Bill Wyman while out drinking the night before. He then ran home and wrote the song.

The stereo version was released in the U.S., Japan and Europe on LP and on CD in the U.S. in 1988 and on the 2002 The Who Ultimate Collection. Live versions are available on the videos Who Rocks America, The Who/Live featuring the rock opera Tommy and 30 Years of Maximum R&B and the CD The Blues To The Bush.

 

From the Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy liner notes by Brian Cady:

Produced by Kit Lambert at Pye Studios, London Oct. 4, 1966.

"The only non-Townshend track on the album is also a non-single. Politics or my own shaky vanity might be the reason, but ‘Boris The Spider’ was never released as a single and should have been a hit. It was the most-requested song we ever played on stage, and if this really means anything to you guitar players, it was Hendrix’s favorite Who song. Which rubbed me up well the wrong way, I can tell you. John introduced us to ‘Boris’ in much the same way as I introduced us to our ‘Generation;’ through a tape recorder. We assembled in John’s three by ten-foot bedroom and listened incredulously as the strange and haunting chords emerged. Laced with words about the slightly gruesome death of a spider, the song had enough charm to send me back to my pad writing hits furiously."
–Pete Townshend

It was released on the U.K. LP A Quick One (December 3, 1966) and the U.S. LP Happy Jack (May 1967).
The closest it ever got to a single was as the B-side of "Whiskey Man" in Japan and on the CD single of "My Generation" in 1996.

Track #6 on My Generation – The Very Best Of The Who.

A true stereo version is available on the U.S. collection The Who: The Ultimate Collection and recent issues of A Quick One.