For their second album, the Who made a new deal where all of the members of the band were to compose songs. They had broken their contract with Shel Talmy on the advice of their management team, Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp. Lambert took on duties as producer, though he had no experience. Stamp worked out a deal for a cash advance on future royalties, provided that each member compose two songs. Only Daltrey came up short with just one song. They included a cover to try and fill the gap; but, when they needed ten more minutes, Lambert suggested they compose a ten-minute song. Townshend put together six short compositions into the mini-opera of the title track. 'A Quick One' was recorded at IBC Studios, Pye Studios and Regent Sound, in London, England. It went to number sixty-seven in the US, number nineteen in Norway, and number four in the UK.
'A Quick One (While He's Away)' describes infidelity during the absence of a lover; but Townshend says the song is "rooted in my childhood experience, and sited in my childhood neighbourhood. The first mini-opera was much more serious than it appeared: It was my first attempt at dealing musically with the thorny subject of the sexual abuse of a child, in this case myself, disguised as the little girl whose crying can be heard all around the world. That isn’t obvious of course, but if you listen to it with that in mind you may understand. "
"Down your street your crying is a well-known sound
Your street is very well known, right here in town
Your town is very famous for the little girl
Whose cries can be heard all around the world"
'Happy Jack' went to number three in the UK and number twenty-four in the US.
Townshend's mod throwback 'So Sad About Us' became one of the band's most covered tunes.
'Run Run Run' starts the album with a snarl.
'I Need You' was composed and sung by Keith Moon.
A Quick One
All songs written by Pete Townshend, except where noted.
1. "Run Run Run" 2:43
2. "Boris the Spider" (John Entwistle) 2:29
3. "I Need You" (Keith Moon) 2:25
4. "Whiskey Man" (Entwistle) 2:57
5. "Heat Wave" (Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Edward Holland) 1:57
6. "Cobwebs and Strange" (Moon) 2:31
7. "Don't Look Away" 2:54
8. "See My Way" (Roger Daltrey) 1:53
9. "So Sad About Us" 3:04
10. "A Quick One, While He's Away"
I. "Her Man's Been Gone"
II. "Crying Town"
III. "We Have a Remedy"
IV. "Ivor the Engine Driver"
V. "Soon Be Home"
VI. "You Are Forgiven"