The Who set to release ‘The Reaction Singles 1966’ 7 inch box set

There is no more significant a milestone in rock music than the 50th Anniversary. Through the decades, The Who redefined rock music as we know it and their influence continues in all areas of popular culture to this day.

The Who Hits 50 continues throughout all of 2015 with very special re-releases throughout the year, a huge celebratory show in Hyde Park and headlining the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury for the second time.

As part of the on-going celebrations, on August 14th the second in a series of 7″ singles box sets will be released following The Brunswick Singles 1965-66.

The Reaction Singles 1966 is volume two of a four-part set of classic Who singles by labels (Brunswick, Reaction, Track and Polydor), containing five 7″ singles from the Reaction label pressed on heavyweight vinyl with paper sleeves (reproducing the period graphics front and back with die-cut center holes).

The singles are housed in a rigid ‘lid-and-tray’ outer box and features a 7″ sized color booklet with liner notes about each release by Who biographer Mark Blake.

In early 1966, The Who broke their contract with producer Shel Talmy and Brunswick Records and signed a temporary deal with their agent and future music mogul Robert Stigwood’s independent Reaction Records. In March, just before Brunswick released “A Legal Matter” without the Who’s permission, the band issued their own new single, “Substitute.”

The Who’s bust-up with Shel Talmy meant that the original “Substitute” single, with “Circles” on the flipside, had to be withdrawn from sale. The Who reissued the single a week later with “Circles” re-titled “Instant Party.”

When “Substitute” reappeared for a third time, it’s new B-side, an instrumental entitled “Waltz For A Pig,” was credited to ‘The Who Orchestra’ but actually featured another of Robert Stigwood’s clients, the Graham Bond Organization. Despite that legal tug of war, “Substitute” reached No. 5 in the UK; a timeless snapshot of The Who in their power-pop prime.

The five-track EP Ready Steady Who was released in November ’66, the title of which is a reference to the popular ITV pop show Ready Steady Go on which the band were regular guests.

The EP’s song selection was certainly eclectic, “Circles,” a track that had appeared as the B-side of the original “Substitute” single, made a re-appearance on the A-side here, and was joined by a new Townshend composition “Disguises,” a song driven by hypnotic percussive rhythms and jangling guitar. The reverse side of the EP featured The Who in a lighter mood. It included one of their current live numbers, a version of the popular Batman TV show theme, plus two of Keith Moon’s favourite songs: U.S. surf duo Jan And Dean’s “Bucket T” and “Barbara Ann,” which had been a hit for The Beach Boys earlier that year.

The Reaction Singles 1966

b/w “Circles” AKA “Instant Party”
(Reaction 591001) Released March 4, 1966.
NOTE: Reaction issued 3 versions of 591001. The first two were as above but the b-side had differing titles.

b/w “Waltz For A Pig”
(Reaction 591001) Released March 14, 1966
This is version 3 with the unusual b-side credited to ‘The Who Orchestra’.

“I’m A Boy”
b/w “In the City”
(Reaction 591004) Released August 26, 1966

Ready Steady Who (EP)
“Disguises,” “Circles”
b/w “Batman,” “Bucket T,” “Barbara Ann”
(Reaction 592001) Released November 11, 1966

“Happy Jack”
b/w “I’ve Been Away”
(Reaction 591010) Released December 9, 1966

As one of the greatest live bands of all time, The Who will take to the Great Oak Stage in London’s iconic Hyde Park on Friday, June 26th for Barclaycard Presents British Summertime with very special guests Paul Weller, Kaiser Chiefs, Johnny Marr, Gaz Coombes and many others. The all-day bill will feature many more brilliant acts that owe an artistic debt to one of the most influential of all British bands.

Author: Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.