7. 'The Who By Numbers'
Pete Townshend was completely drained by 1975. The last four Who albums were crazily ambitious concept albums (even if Who's Next was merely the brilliant shell of Lifehouse) and it was getting increasingly hard to top himself. He also turned 30 and felt like an old man in a young man's game.
Instead of trying to create something even greater than Quadrophenia, he wisely scaled down and wrote The Who By Numbers, a series of songs about the sad state of his life. "However Much I Booze" was so intense and personal that Roger Daltrey refused to sing it. "How Many Friends" is the single saddest song in the Who's catalog, while "Dreaming from the Waist" deals with the sexual frustration of aging.
Many people have a warped sense of the album because the only hit was "Squeeze Box," a goofy song that compares an accordion to a woman's sexual organ. John Entwistle contributed "Success Story," the story of a band that gets destroyed by the music business. The Who By Numbers didn't earn the same rave reviews of the band's previous discs, but it's aged remarkably well.