PETE TOWNSHEND – ” Tommy Demo’s “

Posted: March 4, 2018 in MUSIC
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Beginning in the late 1960s, Pete Townshend was on the forefront of the development of home studios. In a world before ProTools and GarageBand, the idea of having a recording studio in your own home was quite extraordinary, but Townshend took to it immediately and started producing amazingly rich demo recordings on which he sang and played every instrument (including drums and bass). For tracks that later found their way onto The Who albums, these demos provided a template for the other members of the Who to flesh out with their individual parts, adding their own flourishes and touches. It’s incredible, however, how fully Townshend had already worked out the arrangements of these future Who classics. In many respects he’d figured everything out ahead of time, and it was just up to the Who to lay it down in a professional studio, bringing to it the animal electricity that only the Who could.

The first album for which Townshend did extensive home demoing was 1969’s Tommy, a perfect example of his arranging genius, as his home recording maps out the song pretty much exactly in line with the Who version that would sweep the world by storm: He heard in these demos exactly what we hear today—that Keith Moon’s manic drumming, John Entwhistle’s muscular bass, and Roger Daltrey’s guttural vocal fury launch these songs to a whole other level.

Of Tommy Pete Townshend said, ” Until we made TOMMY we had largely been our own bosses. Suddenly all that changed – for the first time in our lives we were really successful, really taken over by the audience, and we had to do as we were told. America, the great consumer nation told us, ” There are 50 million kids over here that want to see you perform. What are you going to do about it – stay in Twickenham and work on your next album, or come on over here and perform ? ” So we went on over and got involved in the standing ovations and the interviews, the 19 page Rolling Stone article, the presentations of the gold albums, all that. It took two years to work on anything new. ”

Out of the work from Tommy, I don’t recall this song ever being released. I extended Keith’s opening drum lines and the song, as well. I only know of two other takes that exist, but by far — I love this one the best.

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