After much anticipation, The Who’s brand new album WHO was finally released today, with rave reviews from journalists and fans. This is a rare occasion to celebrate, as this is only the second album they have put out since It's Hard in 1982, following the splendid Endless Wire album in 2006. It’s a fantastic album, so lets all hope it won’t be the last one they do!
The album was recorded and produced initially at Pete Townshend’s personal studios during the summer of 2018, when Pete recorded his demos. Additional recording sessions took place with producer Dave Sardy in early 2019 at British Grove and Metropolis Studios in West London, where they recorded drums and bass with Zak Starkey and Pino Palladino, and added various other instruments. Roger Daltrey recorded his vocal tracks in a separate studio with producer Dave Eringa. Also performing on the album are Simon Townshend, Benmont Tench, Carla Azar, Joey Waronker and Gordon Giltrap. Pete Townshend wrote most of the songs on the album, except “Beads on One String” that he co-wrote with Josh Hunsacker, and “Break the News” that was written by Simon Townshend.
Roger Daltrey sings lead on most of the songs, with Pete interjecting his parts, except when Pete finally takes the lead on the sentimental ballad “I’ll Be Back”. Pete also sings on the three bonus tracks. The vocals on all of the songs are exceptionally strong, and this album sounds like it could have been recorded back in the early 80's. One of the bonus tracks, "Got Nothing to Prove" goes back even further. It is a cool demo from 1966 which has been updated with orchestration. Pete also included his unreleased 1966 demo "Sand" as a bonus track on one of the vinyl box sets, and on the Japanese deluxe CD.
Pete's instrumentation and production work is absolutely gorgeous throughout the album, with deep layers of soundscapes built up with synthesisers and a myriad of instruments, and amazing guitar and keyboard work that all provides Pete's signature sound. It makes his next project, the music for The Age of Anxiety, highly anticipated! Hopefully he will take the lead vocals more on that album, as he sounds fantastic!
The wonderful album art for WHO was done by legendary pop artist Peter Blake, who did the cover for The Who’s 1981 album Face Dances, and The Beatles Sgt. Pepper album. The artwork was unveiled at the opening of the new Pace Gallery headquarters in New York City last September, where Pete and Roger performed at an intimate outdoor party. The artwork was auctioned off to raise money for Teen Cancer America at a private backyard party charity show The Who played at in Pacific Palisades to cap off the US Who tour in October.
The new album is on Polydor Records, and leading up to this release they put out three singles. “Ball and Chain” was released on September 13, “All This Music Must Fade” followed on October 3, and “I Don’t Wanna Get Wise” on November 22. "Ball and Chain was also performed at many of the shows in the last leg of the Moving On tour after getting it’s live premiere at the Wembley show on July 6. “Hero Ground Zero” was also part of the live repetoire, but wasn't released until now. That song ties in to Pete's new novel The Age of Anxiety, as Hero Ground Zero was the name of the band for one of the main characters.
WHO is now available in a variety of formats and deluxe editions, including CD, vinyl, digital streaming and downloads, and even cassette.
Support the artist and go buy one today at your favorite record store!
Congratulations to Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey for this epic new release!
Here is the track list for the album.
01. All This Music Must Fade
02. Ball and Chain
03. I Don't Wanna Get Wise
05. Beads on One String
06. Hero Ground Zero
07. Street Song
08. I'll Be Back
09. Break the News
10. Rockin' in Rage
11. She Rocked My World
Deluxe edition bonus tracks
12. This Gun Will Misfire
13. Got Nothing to Prove
14. Danny and My Ponies
The Who also announced this week that they will be doing more shows in the US in 2020, after they tour the UK in early Spring. They have added additional dates around the make up shows for Houston, Dallas, and Denver, that were postponed from September due to Roger’s bronchial illness. The US leg now includes a show in Hollywood, FL, and a six date residency at the Caesars Palace Colosseum in Las Vegas.
They will also be returning to the Cincinnati area on April 23, for the first time in 40 years. This was announced on December 3rd, right after WCPO TV in Cincinnati broadcast the incredibly moving documentary “The Who: The Night that Changed Rock” which aired on the 40th anniversary of the tragedy at Riverfront Coliseum in 1979. Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey and Bill Curbishley recorded heartfelt interviews for it before the Seattle show in October. You can watch the full documentary at WCPO.com.
Here are the current US dates for 2020. Tickets are available now.
April 21 - Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Hollywood, FL
April 23 - BB&T Arena Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, KY
April 27 - American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX (Rescheduled)
April 30 - Toyota Center, Houston, TX (Rescheduled)
May 2 - Pepsi Center, Denver, CO (Rescheduled)
May 5 - The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, NV
May 7 - The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, NV
May 9 - The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, NV
May 12 - The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, NV
May 14 - The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, NV
May 16 - The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, NV