Direct Hits is the first U.K. compilation album released by The Who. It collects singles, B-sides, and album tracks originally recorded for Reaction Records and Track Records between 1966 and 1968. Original U.K. issues of this album were released in both stereo and mono versions. The album was not a strong seller and was deleted in the early 1970s. This was the fourth U.K. LP released by The Who.
Earlier Who recordings from 1965, such as My Generation, were released in the U.K. by Brunswick Records and were not available for this release due to licensing issues. This limitation makes the collection rather unrepresentative of The Who's work up to 1968.
Direct Hits shares a few songs with the earlier U.S. compilation album Magic Bus: The Who on Tour, but is otherwise unrelated to that release. Strangely, it does not include the song Magic Bus, which had reached #26 on the U.K. singles chart during the summer of 1968. Until the early 1980s this was the only album to include a few Who rarities such as "In the City", "Dogs", and "The Last Time."
The album is of interest mostly to collectors. It was re-issued on vinyl in stereo during the 1980s in Japan. In 2006 the mono version of this album was made available in the U.S. as a limited edition vinyl re-issue by Classic Records. This release was pressed in regular weight (150 gram) and heavy weight (200 gram) versions. The first CD version was released as a limited edition in Japan in 2007.