Posts Tagged ‘Pete Townshend’

When it comes to grandiosity, Pete Townshend takes the cake. He’s always had huge ambitions, as his numerous concept albums—both with The Who (Tommy, Quadrophenia, the abandoned Lifehouse project,  and on his own—demonstrate. And I suppose I always took it he had an ego as big as his ambitions. But what is one to make of his 1972 debut solo album, “Who Came First”, on which he turns things over on two of the LPs nine tracks to other people? And performs a third song he didn’t even write? Certainly that’s an act of humility, if not abject self-abasement.

And Who Came First isn’t particularly ambitious, either: he throws on a song that would later appear on The Who’s Odds and Sods, along with a prayer set to music for his spiritual guru Meher Baba, and so on. But there’s something becoming about Pete’s laid-back approach on Who Came First he’s not trying to conquer the world for once, just to be content in it. And the LP includes a cool bunch of tunes that you’re guaranteed to love, even if “Parvardigar” (his salute to Meher Baba) isn’t one of them.

Pete isn’t entirely without ego. While he admirably declined to fill the studio with a star-studded cast of ringers, he went too far in the other direction, recording almost the entire LP all by his lonesome. The great Small Faces/Faces bassist and singer Ronnie Lane makes a cameo, as do musical gadfly Billy Nicholls and percussionist Caleb Quaye, best known for his work with Elton John and Hall & Oates, and that’s it. Townshend even plays the drums, adequately if not inspired, and who knew? I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that he also took charge of mopping the studio WC.

Opener “Pure and Easy” is real pretty, lovely actually, but it doesn’t measure up to The Who version on Odds and Sods, with its powerhouse closing and great drumming by Keith Moon. But Pete’s take is still quite nice, and well worth a listen, for his guitar solo, his equally cool keyboards, and the song’s takeout, which features some nice drumming and Townshend repeating, “There once was a note, listen,” which may be cooler on The Who version, but still packs a punch here.

Next up is Ronnie Lane’s homespun “Evolution,” on which Townshend contributes guitar. It’s not one of Lane’s best songs, but the guitar work is stellar, and you can’t beat Lane’s great vocals (and the enthusiasm he demonstrates) with a stick. The two always worked well together, and I can’t help but think a duet would have been sweet.

Billy Nicholls’ “Forever’s No Time At All” follows, and opens with a funky beat, complete with Townshend’s drumming and handclaps. Nicholls sings in a high voice, the tune sounds like great AM radio, and no way would anyone anywhere identify this baby as a Townshend song. And no wonder, as he hardly lifts a finger. “Nothing Is Everything (Let’s See Action)” is a great tune that The Who would later release as a single.

It has great propulsion, and makes you want to dance, and Townshend’s impassioned vocals and nice guitar solo work their magic until the song’s midsection, when things slow down long enough for Pete to admit that he doesn’t know where he’s going, but that’s all right with him. Then he practically goes Beach Boys on your ass, before the song takes off again, Pete backing himself on vocals, singing “Nothing is” before following himself with an echoing “Everything.” Nice. Nicer even, in my opinion, than The Who’s piano-dominated version, although the vocals on the latter are more top of the pops.

“Content” was co-written by Townshend and Maud Kennedy (another Baba acolyte) and features some lovely piano and Townshend at his most tender and devout. A quiet song with great guitars and Townshend’s voice dissolving into an echo, it’s over before you know it, and while I don’t particularly like the content (I have a low threshold for spiritual claptrap) I’m happy if he’s happy, and I just do my best not to listen to the words.

Pete’s cover of Ray Baker’s country tune “There’s a Heartache Following Me” is divine, with its keyboard and guitars and Pete’s vocals sounding as delicate as cut glass. I love the instrumental interlude, and I’d love to know who joins him on the second half of the song, but the album credits are taking the Fifth. Pete’s choice of a country cover might seem odd, but he proved he could work in the idiom on collaboration with Ronnie Lane on “When the Rivers All Run Dry” on 1977’s Rough Mix. “Sheraton Gibson” is a natty up-tempo tune with Pete sitting in the Cleveland Sheraton playing his Gibson and wishing he was home, and he does some cool stuff on the synthesizer and if it’s not a great song it’s a damn good one.

“Time Is Passing” is a bouncy domestic idyll with a catchy melody and a great bridge, some very delicate keyboards, and nice lyrics, and it all builds to a climax in which he declares it’s only through his music that he’ll be free. Which brings us to the mawkish closer “Parvardigar,” a Baba Meher prayer set to music. It’s a nice enough tune, a bit on the repetitive side, and almost sucks me in when Pete gets all passionate about his God’s attributes. Then he sings, “Before you we cower” and I turn my ears off, because there’s nothing that irks me, a devout agnostic, like a vindictive God. I have to handle it to Pete, though; the song builds to several nice climaxes, and they come close (but not close enough) to reconcile me to what amounts to a sermon set to music.

Several subsequent versions have emerged with bonus tracks, but none of them move me. He performs a version of “The Seeker” that is decidedly inferior to The Who version, and as with “There’s a Heartache Following Me” I’d love to know who’s singing along with Townshend on the song. And the Who Came First version also demonstrates the supernatural talents of the late Keith Moon; without him, the song lacks whump and urgency, and who wants that?

Pete Townshend is one of the immortals—I’d grant him that status based on “Baba O’Riley” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again” alone—and it’s nice to hear him in a more relaxed mode. Well, sort of nice. I’ve always put him in the same category as Bob Dylan; to wit, they’re both artists who have done their best when they were discontented, scornful, lost, you name it. A happy Pete Townshend is a good thing for Pete Townshend, but not particularly for the rest of us. In the gutter looking at the stars; to use Oscar Wilde’s words, that’s where Townshend has always done his best work. He’s the seeker, and his contentment is, alas, our loss.

It’s hard to believe, but there was a time when The Who weren’t ubiquitous, practically synonymous with loud rock concerts. For U.S. audiences, their real breakthrough came in 1967 with their appearance at the Monterey International Pop Festival. Here they showed their talents as a singles band with “Happy Jack” and “Substitute,” they demonstrated their penchant for art-rock with their rock opera “A Quick One While He’s Away,” and nearly stole the show with simply smashing finale to “My Generation.” Now that career-changing performance makes its way to red, white, and blue striped vinyl for Record Store Day Drop 3. Limited to just 6,500 copies, you’ll want to drive that magic bus to your local shop and get in the queue!.

The Who’s set at the Monterey festival in 1967, including tales of psychological warfare with Jimi Hendrix, upsetting Ravi Shankar and more… On June 18th 1967, The Who brought what Rolling Stone called their “pulverising music” to the Monterey International Pop Music Festival at the Monterey County fairground, California. Among the festival’s organisers were John Phillips of the harmony group The Mamas And The Papas and The Beatles’ press officer Derek Taylor. The organisers had pledged the festival’s profits to charity, and asked the bands to perform for free. Most accepted, albeit grudgingly, except Indian composer and sitar player Ravi Shankar who pocketed $3,000 for his afternoon performance.

As The Who had only just dented the US market, co-manager Chris Stamp agreed to the group playing for nothing. Stamp had recently permed his hair to look more like his hero Jimi Hendrix, discovered LSD and embraced what he called “love and communication… and all that shit.” But he was still compos mentis enough to know this was a good opportunity for The Who.

The other acts on the Monterey bill included Country Joe And The Fish, Jefferson Airplane and Scott McKenzie, whose hit San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair) was now an anthem for what critics were calling ‘the summer of love’. The stage was wide open for a loud, aggressive group from England.

The Who were due to play on Sunday evening and arrived the day before. Pete Townshend watched Otis Redding work his magic on Saturday night, but America’s take on psychedelia left him cold. “The effect of LSD on American music made it crap, with very few exceptions,” he complained.

If ever The Who had the opportunity to, as Townshend put it, “leave a wound” it was now. But they weren’t the only Track Records act on the bill. “The Who paid my fare home,” says Keith Altham, who covered the festival for New Musical Express, “but Jimi Hendrix paid for my flight out.” To add to the frisson, The Who and fellow Track act Hendrix were both due to play on Sunday evening. By then, as many 80,000 people had passed through the gates into the fairground or congregated outside, hoping to see and hear something, anything. The festival had also attracted unprecedented media coverage, with over 1,000 journalists besieging Derek Taylor’s press tent.

“I wasn’t wearing a psychedelic shawl. It was a tablecloth I bought in Shepherd’s Bush.” Roger Daltrey

Backstage, the Grateful Dead’s sound engineer turned chemist, Owsley Stanley, was distributing free LSD trips and Rolling Stone Brian Jones was drifting around dressed like a Regency prince, but looking, as Keith Richards once said, “like a ghost about to leave a séance”. Roger Daltrey recalls Jones joining him, Janis Joplin, The Mamas And The Papas’ Mama Cass and Jimi Hendrix for a jam session in the dressing room under the stage.

Jimi was playing Sgt. Pepper on his guitar,” said Daltrey. “But, and this was the amazing thing, he was playing all the parts. He would go from a bit of orchestration, to a vocal part, to a solo – the whole thing on one guitar.” The others stood and watched, accompanying Hendrix by beating out a rhythm on anything close to hand.

Others remember it differently. Pete Townshend recalled arguing with Hendrix about who would go on first, as neither wanted to follow the other. At one point Hendrix stood on a stool in front of Townshend to show off on the guitar, as if to say, “Don’t fuck with me, you little shit.” In the end, John Phillips suggested they toss a coin. Townshend won.

The Animals’ frontman Eric Burdon, his Newcastle accent now softened by California or drugs or both, introduced The Who as “a group that will destroy you completely in more ways than one”. Behind him, the band crashed into Substitute followed by Summertime Blues. It was hard to imagine anything more removed from The Mamas And Papas’ passive California Dreaming or anything else played that weekend.

The Who tore through Pictures Of Lily, A Quick One, While He’s Away, Happy Jack, and My Generation. Instead of peace, love and flowers, they offered wanking, pervert train drivers, adolescent turmoil, and Pete Townshend hacking away at the stage with his guitar, like a lumberjack trying to dismember a log with a blunt axe. In the subsequent Monterey Pop movie, you can hear the gasps from the audience as stagehands rush on to salvage the broken equipment. Ravi Shankar watched the performance and was disgusted by “their lack of respect for their music and their instruments.”

“The effect of LSD on American music made it crap.” Pete Townshend

There was an air of English decadence about The Who at Monterey. In their paisley jackets, Edwardian ruffles and puffed sleeves, the group looked like a gang of marauding dandies. In 2005, Keith Altham recalled that Moon had accessorised his outfit with a necklace made from human teeth. Even Daltrey, who’d rarely worn targets and chevrons in The Who’s pop art days, had joined the revolution. The cape draped around his shoulders was an explosion of red, brown and burnt orange hues, described in New Musical Express as “a heavily embroidered psychedelic shawl”. In fact, it was nothing of the sort. “It was a tablecloth I bought in Shepherd’s Bush market,” Daltrey admitted. “But it did the job.”

Later, Brian Jones introduced Jimi Hendrix as “the most exciting guitarist I’ve ever heard”. Townshend watched Hendrix’s set with Mama Cass: “He started doing this stuff with his guitar. She turned around to me, and said to me, ‘He’s stealing your act.’ And I said, ‘No, he’s doing my act’.”

Townshend has since achieved a Zen-like calm on the subject of Jimi Hendrix, but Daltrey still sounds defensive. “I always have to defend The Who when people start raving about Hendrix at Monterey, and what he was doing,” he huffs. “It was totally nicked from The Who.” Daltrey was right – until Hendrix sprayed his guitar with lighter fluid, set it on fire and tossed the charred remains into the audience. Keith Altham remembers running into a subdued Townshend at San Francisco airport the next day, and being warned not to just write about Jimi. “Hendrix triumphed at Monterey,” Altham points out now, “but it was The Who that had drawn first blood.”

The Who: The Who – ‘WHO’ (7” Boxset w/ Live At Kingston CD)

The Who announced the upcoming release of “WHO: Deluxe Edition”, featuring their latest album, a new Pete Townshend remix of “Beads On One String” (under the moniker Yaggerdang), and a clutch of live recordings from earlier this year called Live At Kingston”The collection will be available as a 2-CD set or in a special limited edition 6×7″/1-CD set bringing together the CD of concert material and 6 singles with songs from the album. The 2-CD set arrives October 30th while the vinyl/CD set is due for release on December 4th.

As their first album of new material, WHO reminded fans of the lasting power of one of rock’s greatest groups. Pete Townshend’s latest compositions like “Hero Ground Zero,” “Detour,” “All This Music Must Fade,” and “Beads On One String” sound both current and timeless. Townshend’s blend of symphonic rock, blues, and power-pop were matched by Roger Daltrey’s strong, expressive vocals. With a killer cast of musicians backing Townshend and Daltrey up, “WHO” has proved vivacious and worth revisiting.

To promote the album, The Who staged four intimate acoustic shows at PRYZM in Kingston upon Thames. Billed as their smallest-capacity shows in four decades, these shows are the most recent live recordings from The Who.

The WHO, live performances from their February 2020 club dates which celebrated the 50th anniversary of their historic concert at Leeds University. The first two of four acoustic concerts were held on February. 12th, followed by two more on the 14th. All four were instant sell-outs when tickets went on-sale in mid-December. All were held at a venue called Pryzm in Kingston-Upon-Thames, U.K., outside of London, which is miles away from the university where they famously performed exactly 50 years earlier, on February 14th, 1970.

The setlist for both of the Feb. 12th shows was just eight songs, spanning early favorites like “Substitute” and “The Kids Are Alright” through two tracks from the well-received December 2019 release, WHO. Those in attendance on Feb14th were treated to two additional songs when the Who offered a bit of Eddie Cochran’s “Three Steps to Heaven” and gave their first live performance since 2008 of their own “Tattoo.”

To get a sense of how intimate the concerts were, here’s a clip from the early show on Feb 14th, where Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend talk about their attempt to score a #1 album for the new album, only to be blocked, as Townshend recalls, by “that f**king c*nt Rod Stewart. We love him… actually he’s an old buddy of ours.” After more back-and-forth and thanking the fans, they perform “Behind Blue Eyes.”

Seven songs from those February 2020 shows make their physical debut here. Among them, the live staples “The Kids Are Alright” “Substitute,” the fan-favorite “Tattoo” (played on stage for the first time since 2008) and pair of songs from “WHO”. In the vulnerable setting of this intimate gig, The Who present slightly stripped-down arrangements of the jaunty, Simon Townshend-penned “Break The News” and the jazzy “She Rocked My World.” All this before a show-stopping “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

As for the new remix of “Beads On One String” – released today as a digital single – here’s what Pete Townshend had to say:

‘Beads On One String’ is a co-write with Josh Hunsacker who I met on Soundcloud. He wrote the music, I wrote the lyric and vocal melody. In 1932 on a visit to London, the spiritual master Meher Baba said that he had come to draw all the religions of the world together like beads on one string. We wait in hope, with love.

C8A39F59 5079 4DA6 904C 13182F603FC1

The ‘Beads On One String’ remix was an adventure to try to recapture some of the subtleties of my first solo demo. I love the studio version, but this remix by Myles Clarke and myself returns to the original synthesizer demo shared with me by my co-writer Josh Hunsacker. I also play bass rather than the genius Pino Palladino (I’ve got some nerve) and we removed the real drums and returned to computer drum tracks programmed by my co-producer Myles Clarke. We also restored Roger’s vocal track to its first incarnation which is more heartfelt. This is a gentler version of this song, less demanding perhaps, less bullying about our need to cut each other space, each on our own path. Why does it need to be more gentle than the album version? Because it must stand alone in a period when each of us is tempted to blame someone else for our troubles, maybe even God whoever we take her/him/both to be. I’m hoping it sounds less rock, and more modern indie-pop to new listeners.”

Taken from WHO 2020 Deluxe with Live At Kingston, Out 30th October

This new deluxe edition of WHO finds the band revitalized in the studio and onstage. Whether you missed out on The Who’s triumphant return the first time around or you want to complete your collection, the deluxe edition of WHO will be one to look out for. (Note that the previously issued bonus tracks “This Gun Will Misfire,” “Got Nothing to Prove,” “Danny and My Ponies,” and “Sand (Demo)” – the latter a Japan exclusive – are all absent from this reissue.) check out Pete “Yaggerdang” Townshend’s remix of “Beads On One String,” released today across platforms.

The Who has one of the greatest rock legacies in music history – they’re one of the all-time great live bands, have sold over 100 million records worldwide, and had 10 US and 11 UK top ten albums and 14 UK top ten singles in a career spanning six decades.

WHO was mostly recorded in London and Los Angeles during spring and summer 2019 and was co-produced by Pete Townshend and Dave Sardy (who has worked with Noel Gallagher, Oasis, LCD Soundsystem and Gorillaz) with vocal production by Dave Eringa (Manic Street Preachers, Roger Daltrey, Wilko Johnson). Singer Roger Daltrey and guitarist and songwriter Pete Townshend are joined on the album by long-time Who drummer Zak Starkey, bassist Pino Palladino along with contributions from Simon Townshend, Benmont Tench, Carla Azar, Joey Waronker and Gordon Giltrap.

Limited Edition Numbered 7” Boxset includes WHO pressed on 6 x 7” vinyl pieces all with individual artwork + Live at Kingston Bonus CD, a special acoustic performance recorded on 14th February 2020, 50 years to the day since the seminal Live at Leeds show.

The Who will bring their archival “Join Together @ Home” concert series to a close over the next two weeks with a rare 2006 show from the Moon and Stars Festival at the Piazza Grande in Locarno, Switzerland. Rounding off our Join Together @ Home series we have two very special performances for you for the next two weeks. We scoured the archives for this one!.

The concert’s pro-shot video will be split over a pair of free broadcasts on Saturday, September. 5th and Saturday, September 12th (airing at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET).“It’s a very special show,” frontman Roger Daltrey said in an official statement. “I didn’t even remember this film existed! We were getting together after a three-year hiatus. The show was in an extraordinary place, in the town square, with people dancing on their balconies. I have very fond memories of it.” The 2006 gig also includes the live debut of “Greyhound Girl,” a Pete Townshend track that was only played one additional time in the band’s history. “Greyhound Girl,” was originally supposed to be a part of the infamous Lifehouse sessions which was never happened unless you have all the songs that was supposed to make it in the Lifehouse collection and piece them together. They recorded this and Mary but the tape was damaged beyond repair. I think it could have been repaired like Time is passing but version of that song that exists as a studio demo.

Pete Townshend performs Greyhound Girl in Switzerland. By request.

Roger Daltrey, lead singer of the British rock group The Who, appears on a giant video screen in the outfield of Shea Stadium in New York, October13, 1982, as the band tours for the last time in America. (AP Photo/Paul Burnett)

The Who may have been forced to delay their 2020 tour plans due to the pandemic, but they’re trying to make it up to fans by launching Join Together @ Home on YouTube this weekend. It’s a six-week series that will showcase “live and rarely seen footage, mini videos and special screen footage, culminating with a performance from a previously unreleased show,” according to a press release.

The series kicks off on Saturday August 8th at 1:00 pm EST with five songs from the Who’s 1982 show at Shea Stadium, a legendary gig from their “farewell” tour that featured the Clash as their opening act. It will begin with a “red carpet premiere clip from Roger Daltrey.” The videos will be free of charge, but viewers will be encouraged to donate to the Teenage Cancer Trust and Teen Cancer America.

Late last year, the Who released “Who”, their first collection of original material since 2006’s Endless Wire and only their second since 1982’s It’s Hard. They supported it with a tour where they were backed by local symphonies and a set that was heavy on tunes from Tommy and Quadrophenia.

The Who kicked off 2020 by celebrating the 50th anniversary of their historic show at Leeds University, playing a series of intimate, acoustic concerts at PRYZM in London. It was meant to be the kickoff event for a big year, but everything else was delayed due to the pandemic. Their plan now is to resume touring in March 2021 with a run of European arena dates, but that is obviously contingent on the live music business resuming by that point.

The band has yet to announce any of the subsequent videos for the Join Together Youtube series, but they have been filming select concerts going back to the Sixties and have an extensive vault. The Who – Live At Shea Stadium 1982 ‘Join Together @ Home’ is a new series of special performances from The Who streaming worldwide exclusively on YouTube. The first set features some very special performances from our show at Shea Stadium in 1982 and will be live from 6pm UK time for 7 days.

 

One of the very first ‘rarities’ collections, released to try and defeat the bootleggers, the original 11-track album was released on the Track Records label in September 1974.Compiled in band down-time by bass guitarist John Entwistle, it includes the single ‘Long Live Rock’, the unedited unreleased version of ‘The Seeker’, the studio version of ‘Young Man Blues’, alternative versions of ‘Dogs Part Two’ and ‘Water’, amongst many other gems. This reissue includes the original LP sequence on disc one and adds 14 bonus tracks – B-sides, rarities & extras on disc two, ‘Odds & Sods Too’ – to create a definitive, 25-track double LP.

The stunning artwork and design restore the original ‘die-cut’ front sleeve and includes all Pete Townshend’s original track annotation. Graham Hughes shot the cover for Odds and Sods – “I’d stayed up the night before with Letterset, designing the letters on the American football helmets with each of the band’s names printed on. When I finally managed to get them together in one place, which happened to be the bathroom, Pete and Roger’s helmets didn’t quite fit so that’s why their wearing each other’s. That Quadrophenia tour wasn’t very pleasant and the band were arguing a lot. When I showed Pete the blow-up of the cover, he didn’t like it and told me so. I was so frustrated by this time, I started ripping it up . . . That’s when he decided he liked it! I stuck it back together with adhesive tape and Roger said, ‘call it a bunch of odds and sods.”

Tracklisting:

LP1 / SIDE A –
1. Postcard, 2. Now I’m A Farmer, 3. Put The Money Down, 4. Little Billy, 5. Too Much Of Anything, 6. Glow Girl

LP1 / SIDE B –
1. Pure And Easy, 2. Faith In Something Bigger, 3. I’m The Face, 4. Naked Eye, 5. Long Live Rock

LP2 / SIDE A –
1. Zoot Suit (remix with fade), 2. Here Tis (only previously released on 30 Years… box set), 3. Leaving Here (from ‘Pye’ acetate), 4. Baby Don’t You Do It (from ‘Pye’ acetate), 5. Young Man Blues (alternate studio version, included on 1998 CD), 6. Dogs Part Two (B-side, the single mix; included on Tommy SDE), 7. Here For More (B-side single mix), 8. The Seeker (long unedited version; unreleased)

LP2 / SIDE B –
1. Heaven And Hell (B-side single mix), 2. Don’t Know Myself (B-side single mix), 3. When I Was A Boy (B-side single mix), 4. Waspman (B-side single mix), 5. We Close Tonight (included on 1998 CD), 6. Water (B-side single mix

recordstore day

The Who’s American Album Chart Debut

The American market wasn’t fully ready for The Who when they made their album debut with ‘My Generation’ at the end of 1965. Second time around, they cracked it, winning their first appearance on the US album chart 48 years ago today, on May 20th, 1967 — but only after a delayed release and a title change.

With the US release coming five months after the UK, The Who’s American label, Decca Records, decided that the band’s second LP ‘A Quick One’ should be renamed there for their song that was climbing the Hot 100 at the time. ‘Happy Jack’ had been a top three UK hit in January, but wasn’t included on the album ‘A Quick One.’ That wouldn’t do for Decca, who removed the album’s one cover a nod back to their soul and R&B roots with a cover of Martha Reeves & the Vandellas ‘Heat Wave’ — and replaced it with ‘Happy Jack,’ which would become The Who’s first US top 30 hit in early June. The song features Roger Daltrey on lead vocals with John Entwistle singing the first verse, making it one of the few songs composed by Pete Townshend to feature Entwistle on lead vocals. Author Mike Segretto describes Daltrey’s vocal as “imitating Burl Ives”. At the tail end of “Happy Jack”, Townshend can be heard shouting “I saw you!”; it is said that he had noticed drummer Keith Moon trying to join in surreptitiously to add his voice to the recording, something the rest of the band would try to prevent (Moon had a habit of making the other members laugh). critic Dave Marsh calls this line “the hippest thing” about the song.

According to some sources, Townshend reported the song is about a man who slept on the beach near where Townshend vacationed as a child. Children on the beach would laugh at the man and once buried him in the sand. However, the man never seemed to mind and only smiled in response. According to Marsh, “the lyric is basically a fairy tale, not surprisingly, given the links to Pete’s childhood”.

Daltrey reportedly thought the song sounded like a “German oompah song”. But Chris Charlesworth praised the “high quirky subject matter” and “fat bass and drums that suspend belief”. Charlesworth particularly praised Moon’s drumming for carrying not just the beat, but also the itself, in what he calls “startlingly original fashion”.

The album also featured one of John Entwistle’s best-loved songs, ‘Boris The Spider’ (a title that he and Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman came up with after a night out drinking); two Keith Moon compositions, ‘I Need You’ (his first-ever song for the band) and the highly percussive ‘Cobwebs and Strange’; and a mod favourite that the band are currently reviving on their ‘Who Hits 50’ anniversary tour, ‘So Sad About Us.’

Happy Jack back

After ‘A Quick One’ reached No. 4 in the UK in January, the ‘Happy Jack’ version opened on Billboard’s Top LPs at No. 184, in between albums by Jimmy Ruffin and Dean Martin. It climbed steadily for the next nine weeks, peaking at No. 67 in June.

 

Image may contain: 3 people, text

When you think about the most important rock bands in history, The Who is undoubtedly in the conversation for many different reasons. One of those reasons is their incredible live performances – which they are still doing to this day.

Take a trip in the Iconic by Collectionzz time machine all the way back to 1970. The Who were looking for a way to follow up their 1969 album TommyThey had recorded several shows for a live album on tours supporting Tommy in the United States, but didn’t like the sound on any of the recordings. The Who decided to book two shows in early 1970 (on Valentines Day weekend) to record the live album. The first show at University of Leeds on February 14th, 1970 was planned to be the warm up show; and the second show at City Hall in Hull on February 15th, 1970 was planned to be the record. The recording equipment was rolling for both shows though, just in case.

According to The Who’s sound engineer, John Entwistle’s bass was not recorded for the first few tracks at Hull, and Pete Townshend didn’t even listen to the whole recording once he realized that. It didn’t matter though, they had made history the night before at the University of Leeds in front of 2,000 ravenous fans. Pete Townshend called it “the greatest audience we’ve ever played to.”

The Who released part of concert at University of Leeds on February 14th, 1970 as their now legendary live album “Live at Leeds.” It was the only live album that was released while the group were still actively recording and performing with their best known line-up of Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle and Keith Moon.

If Tommy announced the Who’s ascent to rock-band immortality, Live at Leeds was the headline’s exclamation point. The live album cemented their distinction as one of the world’s most powerful acts, yet it came together almost by accident.
The 1969 Tommy tour saw the Who performing to massive audiences across the globe, including a historic stop at Woodstock. Keenly aware of its popularity, and having seen the success of live albums from many rock contemporaries, the band decided to record its performances during the trek. By the end of 1969, the Who had recorded 30 shows in the U.S. and an additional eight in the U.K.

While the abundance of material seemed like a blessing at first, it was actually too much of a good thing. Poring through all the hours of music was a daunting task, one the band could not feasibly do considering the amount of time it would necessitate. Frustrated, Pete Townshend took a scorched earth approach; the guitarist instructed his audio engineer to burn all of the concert recordings. The Who would instead book two shows from which a live album would be constructed. Without the previous tapes to fall back on, the band was bravely performing without a net.

The group wanted to capture the ferocity of its live shows, something Tommy’s high-art concept had briefly taken them away from. “We were better known for doing Tommy than we were for all the rest of the stuff,” bassist John Entwistle noted in the book The Complete Chronicle of the Who. “I mean, all the guitar smashing and stuff went completely out of the window. We’d turned into snob rock. We were the kind of band that Jackie Onassis would come and see.”

The band planned one concert for February 14th, 1970, at the University of Leeds, with a second the following day in Hull. As fate would have it, the Hull performance was plagued with technical problems. Thankfully, the Who needed only the first show to make history.

The Leeds concert saw the band play more than 30 songs, including the earlier hit “My Generation” and almost all of the songs from Tommy. More than 2,000 students – many of whom had been lining up since 6AM that day – filled the capacity of the University’s refectory. Their energy was palpable.

“The students there were a great audience for us,” Roger Datrey later recalled to the BBC. “It was packed to the rafters and then some more. I heard there was a thousand fans on the roof!”

Keith Moon echoed similar sentiments. “We fed on the audience as much as they fed on us,” the drummer explained to the University’s student newspaper. “They were just too incredible.”

Though the Who initially planned on releasing a double live album from the set, they honed Live at Leeds to a powerful six-song LP. The track listing would go as follows: “Young Man Blues,” “Substitute,” “Summertime Blues,” “Shakin’ All Over,” “My Generation” and “Magic Bus.”

Originally released on May 23rd, 1970,Live at Leeds was quickly hailed as a triumph and has sealed its legacy as one of the Who’s best albums and one of the greatest live records ever made. The complete Leeds and Hull shows were eventually released on various expanded editions of the album.

In celebration of Live at Leeds’ 50th anniversary, Collectionzz is releasing officially licensed concert posters for the University of Leeds concert. The images feature the faces of Daltrey, Townshend, Moon and Entwistle cloaked by the Union Jack. The design also includes the Who’s trippy logo, psychedelic trim and original concert details. Two versions of the poster are available: a glow-in-the-dark edition and a black metallic edition. They go on sale May 15th exclusively through the Collectionzz website.

Image may contain: 4 people

Pete Townshend’s “Empty Glass” Turns 40 years old, In 1980, the Who guitarist’s cup overflowed as the finest solo outing of his career. Although a true solo album from The Who’s wunderkind might have been eagerly anticipated at the time, Empty Glass–Pete Townshend’s first fully fleshed out album outside the boundaries of his band–still begs the question of why he didn’t opt to record these songs with the Who.

The album was written and recorded between 1978 and 1980, when activity with the Who had started to pick up again, and Townshend found himself having to write for both his solo project and his band. After all, Face Dances, the album the group released shortly thereafter, was, by all estimations, an inferior effort, widely derided as one of the weakest releases of the Who’s career. Roger Daltrey himself claimed he was disappointed that Townshend denied the group the opportunity to take a shot at Empty Glass and make it a masterpiece the band could claim as its own.

Some could consider the singer’s resentment a matter of professional jealousy. If so, it’s easily dismissed. Where Townshend’s first nominal effort on his own, “Who Came First”, was essentially a grab bag of demos and solo sketches, Empty Glass is a masterpiece even by the Who’s exacting standards.

The album title alludes to Townshend’s eternal search for spiritual salvation, particularly at a time where he was beset by an array of issues that had all but consumed him — among them, alcoholism, substance abuse, marital difficulties, and the death of his friend and bandmate Keith Moon two years before. Symbolically, “Empty Glass” refers to an analogy that compares a bar patron passing a bartender an “empty glass” in hopes it will be filled, and a seeker of spiritual redemption approaching God with an open heart, looking for the solace only the Almighty can provide. Townshend was finding further inspiration in the works of a Persian poet named Hafez, who drew the musician’s interest in the wake of  his fascination with his personal guru, Meher Baba.

Indeed, the songs offered such a sense of reflection and rumination, it’s hard to imagine Empty Glass being delivered from anything other than his personal perspective. The song that emerged as the album’s initial hit, “Rough Boys,” bows to Townshend’s unresolved sexual ambiguity. Although he dedicated it to his children Emma and Minta, it made more sense as a shout-out to the Sex Pistols who, at the time, represented punk’s brooding, blistering upending of traditional rock norms. Years later, Townshend himself alluded to its alleged homosexual references, noting that he knew members of the gay community but was not gay himself. Given that some saw the song as a coming out of sorts a decidedly wrong assumption, Townshend assured them — it would have been an awkward choice for the macho Daltrey to voice. Nevertheless, The Who did eventually include it in their live sets, a wise choice considering that it ranked among their strongest contemporary material at the time. It also hit America in the top ten, the only Townshend solo song ever to achieve that distinction.

The rest of the album is similarly introspective. “Let My Love Open the Door,” the second single from the album, made its way up the charts, although both Townshend and his management allegedly expressed some misgivings about the song. A third single, the similarly philosophical “A Little Is Enough,” which Townshend acknowledged was his bow to the Kinks’ Ray Davies, failed to make any impact at all, although Townshend considered it a better bid for chart success than the aforementioned “Let My Love Open the Door.”

While several songs could have been compelling candidates for inclusion on a new Who album — “And I Moved,” “Empty Glass,” “Gonna Get Ya,” “A Little Is Enough,” and “I Am an Animal” would have been fine fits for Daltrey’s vocals — Townshend surrounded himself with an able support cast. Producer Chris Thomas, best known for his work with the Pretenders, Procol Harum, Paul McCartney, Elton John and Pink Floyd, helped manage his client’s blend of pomp and poignancy, while four different drummers — recent Who recruit Kenney Jones, all-star session man Simon Phillips, Big Country’s Mark Brezicki and James Asher — as well as the Who’s erstwhile keyboardist John “Rabbit” Bundrick, Medicine Head’s Peter Hope-Evans on harp, and another Big Country stalwart, bassist Tony Butler provided the instrumental underpinnings.

Townshend once claimed he wanted Todd Rundgren to oversee the proceedings, but changed his mind, fearing Rundgren’s abilities as a singer and guitarist would steal the album’s focus.

Regardless, Empty Glass still ranks as the best individual effort of Townshend’s career and a worthy companion piece to his Who resume. In this case, the glass was more than half full.

Who the a quick live one

The Who’s incendiary live performance at the legendary 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival, available for the first time on vinyl LP: Red / White / Blue striped vinyl. Fancy old fashioned high-gloss tip-on style jacket. Printed inner sleeve. The Who’s set at the Monterey festival in 1967, including tales of psychological warfare with Jimi Hendrix, upsetting Ravi Shankar and more…On June 18th 1967, The Who brought what Rolling Stone magazine called their “pulverising music” to the Monterey International Pop Music Festival at the Monterey County fairground, California. As The Who had only just dented the US market, co-manager Chris Stamp agreed to the group playing for nothing. Stamp had recently permed his hair to look more like his hero Jimi Hendrix, discovered LSD and embraced what he called “love and communication… and all that shit.” But he was still compos mentis enough to know this was a good opportunity for The Who.

The Animals‘ frontman Eric Burdon, his Newcastle accent now softened by California or drugs or both, introduced The Who as “a group that will destroy you completely in more ways than one”. Behind him, the band crashed into Substitute followed by Summertime Blues. It was hard to imagine anything more removed from The Mamas And Papas’ passive California Dreaming or anything else played that weekend.

The other acts on the Monterey bill included Country Joe And The Fish, Jefferson Airplane and Scott McKenzie, whose hit San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair) was now an anthem for what critics were calling ‘the summer of love’. The stage was wide open for a loud, aggressive group from England.

The Who were due to play on Sunday evening and arrived the day before. Pete Townshend watched Otis Redding work his magic on Saturday night,

Among the festival’s organisers were John Phillips of the harmony group The Mamas And The Papas and The Beatles’ press officer Derek Taylor. The organisers had pledged the festival’s profits to charity, and asked the bands to perform for free. Most accepted, albeit grudgingly, except Indian composer and sitar player Ravi Shankar who pocketed $3,000 for his afternoon performance. The Who tore through Pictures Of Lily, A Quick One, While He’s Away, Happy Jack, and My Generation. Instead of peace, love and flowers, Pete Townshend hacking away at the stage with his guitar, like a lumberjack trying to dismember a log with a blunt axe. In the subsequent Monterey Pop movie, you can hear the gasps from the audience as stagehands rush on to salvage the broken equipment. Ravi Shankar watched the performance and was disgusted by “their lack of respect for their music and their instruments.”

If ever The Who had the opportunity to, as Townshend put it, “leave a wound” it was now. But they weren’t the only Track Records act on the bill. “The Who paid my fare home,” says Keith Altham, who covered the festival for New Musical Express, “but Jimi Hendrix had paid for my flight out.” To add to the frisson, The Who and fellow Track act Hendrix were both due to play on Sunday evening. By then, as many 80,000 people had passed through the gates into the fairground or congregated outside, hoping to see and hear something, anything. The festival had also attracted unprecedented media coverage, with over 1,000 journalists besieging Derek Taylor’s press tent.

“I wasn’t wearing a psychedelic shawl. It was a tablecloth I bought in Shepherd’s Bush.” Roger Daltrey

Backstage, the Grateful Dead’s sound engineer turned chemist, Owsley Stanley, was distributing free LSD trips and Rolling Stone Brian Jones was drifting around dressed like a Regency prince, but looking, as Keith Richards once said, “like a ghost about to leave a séance”. Roger Daltrey recalls Jones joining him, Janis Joplin, The Mamas And The Papas’ Mama Cass and Jimi Hendrix for a jam session in the dressing room under the stage.

recordstore day

“Jimi was playing Sgt. Pepper on his guitar,” said Daltrey. “But, and this was the amazing thing, he was playing all the parts. He would go from a bit of orchestration, to a vocal part, to a solo – the whole thing on one guitar.” The others stood and watched, accompanying Hendrix by beating out a rhythm on anything close to hand.

Others remember it differently. Pete Townshend recalled arguing with Hendrix about who would go on first, as neither wanted to follow the other. At one point Hendrix stood on a stool in front of Townshend to show off on the guitar, as if to say, “Don’t fuck with me, you little shit.” In the end, John Phillips suggested they toss a coin. Townshend won.

This is a Record Store Day 2020 item. It will be available to purchase from 8am 20th June. 

Setlist:
Eric Burdon Introduction
Substitute
Summertime Blues
Pictures of Lily
A Quick One, While Hes Away
Happy Jack
My Generation

All songs written by Pete Townshend except Summertime Blues, written by Eddie Cochran and Jerry Capehart.

The-Who-770.jpg