"I Can See for Miles" is a song written by Pete Townshend of The Who, recorded for the band's 1967 album, The Who Sell Out. It was the only song from the album to be released as a single, on 14 October 1967. It remains The Who's biggest hit single in the US to date, and their only one to reach the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100.
Recorded in several separate sessions in studios across two continents, the recording of "I Can See for Miles" exemplifies the increasingly sophisticated studio techniques of rock bands in the late 1960s. The backing tracks were recorded in London, the vocals and overdubbing were performed in New York at Talentmasters Studios, and the album was mastered in Los Angeles at the Gold Star Studios. The US Decca single has an overdubbed second bass line.
It reached #10 in the U.K. and #9 in the U.S. Though these figures would seem successful to most bands, Townshend was disappointed. He is quoted as saying, "To me it was the ultimate Who record, yet it didn't sell. I spat on the British record buyer."
The song may have inspired The Beatles' "Helter Skelter". Paul McCartney recalls writing "Helter Skelter" after reading a review of The Who Sell Out in which the...