This was written by bassist John Entwistle, who typically wrote quirky songs which served as foils to Pete Townshend's efforts.
This was recorded in the studio in 1970 but the take didn't meet the satisfaction of The Who. The studio take was only released as the B side to the "Summertime Blues" single.
The song surfaced in live acts starting in 1968. It was used to start concerts until the end of 1970. It was used as a test song, making sure all of the equipment worked before they jumped into more familiar material.
The Who recorded this at their performances at Leeds. It didn't make the original Live At Leeds album, which had only 6 tracks but was released on the expanded CD in 1995. The 1995 version has an edit at the beginning - Entwistle's amp wasn't set correctly and missed singing the first verse.
Entwistle released a slower version on his solo album Smash Your Head Against The Wall.
Suggestion credit: Jon - Sunnyvale, CA, for all above
Maelje from Kansas City, Missouri, MoIt's finally good to hear the version on "Live At Hull," after all these years of people thinking the show was unreleasable because so much of John's bass parts had not been recorded! Not true -- only the first reel lacked it. Since "Heaven and Hell" is the opening track, the bass performance was "flown in" from the Leeds shows, digitally, for the "Live at Hull" release. I think it works beautifully.
Wes from Hockley, ArI found the Summertime Blues/ Heaven and Hell 45 at a garage sale when I was a kid, so the single version was the only one I knew until a few minutes ago when I heard the one on Leeds for the first time. Not to go against the grain, but I prefer the studio version.
Entwistle was a badass, huh?
I was at the Hard Rock in Vegas about a week after his passing there. I've thought about that and the death of Toto's drummer (from the same causes) recently.
Brad from Lexington, KyThe Live at Leeds version kicks the studio version's butt. They both are good though. I also like John Entwistle's solo recording.
Jc from Tucson, AzGreat song with a very simple meaning.
Roy from Granbania, MaYoung Man Blues from Live at the Isle of Wight is the best live performance I have ever seen or heard and it was very close to perfect on Live at Leeds as well. I think it's pretty amazing that there's no songfacts page for that song, which actually appeared on the original LP version of Live at Leeds, unlike Heaven and Hell (which is also pretty great).
Jc from Tucson, AzOnly Entwistle could break things down to such a simple level. You either go to heavan or hell.
Jack from Riverside, CaThe Who used this to open their set frequently from 1968 to 1970.
Lester from New York City, NyEntwistle does the song very well on 'Smash Your Head Against the Wall'.
Allen from Bethel, AkHmmm. I think John should have sung more...
Jon from Tucson, AzThe Who used Heaven and Hell to open their set at Woodstock.
Griffin from New York, NyMy dad has the original Summertime Blues single. Haven't been able to listen to either song yet except on Live at Leeds. The Live at Leeds versions are incredible!!
Jaym from The Dark Side Of The MoonI love this song. It's awesome live.
David Corino from Hawley, PaWhat els would you except Erik?
Barry from New York, NcYou can see a live version of this song in the video THE WHO LIVE AT THE ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL 1970.