The WHO – ” Lifehouse ” The Album That Never Was

Posted: October 10, 2017 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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In 1969, The Who released their classic rock opera Tommy, which has gone on to be considered one of the most influential rock albums of the time. Emboldened by the success of Tommy, the group decided to capitalise on their success by recording yet another rock opera, this time, one called Lifehouse. Intended to be an album that focused on a post-apocalyptic world, the original version of the album was scrapped in favour of creating a more straightforward rock album.

The album they chose to record instead was Who’s Next?, one of the group’s most famous records. Containing tracks such as ‘Behind Blue Eyes’, ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’, and ‘Baba O’Riley’, the album was made up of abandoned ideas from Lifehouse. The group would later revisit ideas from the abandoned sessions on their record Who Are You. While we may never know what Lifehouse was going to sound like, we did manage to get Who’s Next? instead, so maybe this one was actually for the best.

This is what “Who’s Next”, the greatest official rock album ever made in my opinion, would have been with some changes and additional songs, a complete rock opera.

The resulting album “Who’s Next”, and in an ironic twist of fate the failure of the Lifehouse project made Who’s Next a greater album than it could have been as simply Lifehouse’s soundtrack. Enough material was recorded for a two-record set but the band decided to release a single album. Townshend explained:

“We were gonna do a whole thing, Then we figured it would be far better to just pick the best stuff out and make it a good, hard, rock-solid album ’cause we were afraid of doing what the Beatles did, just laying ourselves wide open like they did with their double album and making it so that there was too much, too many unlinked ideas which to the public would look like untogetherness, despite the fact that it’s always there in the background.”

Over the years, Townshend never really let go of Lifehouse. As songs from “Smile” did for The Beach Boys, bits of the abandoned project surfaced through the years, on subsequent Who albums.

  • Some of the Lifehouse songs ended up on Pete’s first solo album, “Who Came First”, including “Let’s See Action” and “Pure and Easy”.
  • “Pure and Easy” also found a home on 1974’s “Odds and Sods” album.
  • “Slip Kid” ended up on 1975’s “The Who By Numbers” album.
  • “Music Must Change”, “New Song”, “Sister Disco” and “Who Are You” were on 1978’s “Who Are You” album.



00:00:00 “Pure and Easy” 00:04:22 “Baby Don’t You Do It” (Holland—Dozier—Holland) Live at the Young Vic 26/4/71: 00:09:36 “Naked Eye ” 00:15:07 “Water” 00:21:33 “Bony Moronie” (Larry Williams) 00:24:56 “Too Much of Anything” 00:29:21 “Time Is Passing” 00:32:51 “I Don’t Even Know Myself” 00:37:47 Studio Dialogue 00:38:34 “Behind Blue Eyes” New York Record Plant session: 00:42:00 “Baby Don’t You Do It” (Holland—Dozier—Holland) 00:50:22 “Getting In Tune” 00:56:57 “Pure and Easy” 01:01:31 “Love Ain’t For Keeping (Electric Version, Townshend on lead vocals)” 01:05:34 “Behind Blue Eyes” 01:09:02 “Won’t Get Fooled Again” 01:17:50 “Water” 01:22:30 “I Don’t Even Know Myself (Cancelled EP Version)” 01:26:38 “Pure and Easy” All tracks composed by Pete Townshend unless otherwise noted.

check out these sessions too,

Teenage Wasteland– Pete Townshend Going Mobile– The Who Baba O’Riley– The Who Time is Passing– The Who Love ain’t for Keeping– The Who- The album version combined with the electric outtake version Bargain– The Who Too much of Anything– The Who Greyhound Girl– Pete Townshend Mary– Pete Townshend Behind Blue Eyes– The Who outtake version I Don’t Even Know Myself– The Who Put The Money Down– The Who Pure and Easy– The Who Getting in Tune– The Who Let’s see Action– The Who Relay– The Who Join Together– The Who Won’t Get Fooled Again– The Who The Song is Over– The Who

After almost thirty years, Pete Townshend was finally able to bring some conclusion to the Lifehouse project with the release of the LIFEHOUSE CHRONICLES in February of 2000. The set consists of 6 discs including demos, the 1999 radio play and various remixes. The Lifehouse Chronicles can be purchased exclusively through Pete’s official merchandise site

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