Pete Townshend’s solo work is almost as prodigious as his work with The Who, so it seems only right that his entire solo catalogue should now be available for download.
The 11 digital album releases cover Who Came First, his 1972 album and his first away from The Who. The album is a collection of music dedicated to Meher Baba, Townshend’s spiritual master and includes fellow Baba followers, including Ronnie Lane and Billy Nicholls.
Rough Mix, he teamed up with Ronnie Lane on what is a fine record that features Eric Clapton, John Entwistle and Charlie Watts that includes material written by Townshend and Lane. Among the standout tracks is the beautiful, ‘Heart To Hang Onto.’
Empty Glass included the top ten US hit ‘Let My Love Open The Door’ as well as ‘Rough Boys’, ‘Empty Glass’ and ‘A Little Is Enough’.
1982’s All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes includes ‘Face Dances pt 2’ and ‘Uniforms (Corps D’Espirit)’ and a companion promotional video featuring seven of the tracks was made for the fledgling MTV Network.
For White City, Pete returned to the concept based song cycle that had utilised in The Who. The album tells the story of life on a working class council estate in Townshend’s old West London stomping ground. The songs deal with lost love, racial tension and broken dreams.
The Iron Man is Pete’s version of the Ted Hughes story of the same name. Released in 1989 Pete had met Hughes when he was working at the publishing house Faber and Faber. The album features contributions from music luminaries Nina Simone and John Lee Hooker (who performs as the eponymous ‘Iron Man’).
1993’s Psychoderelict is a multi-layered concept album featuring dialogue harking back to his ‘Lifehouse’ project. The resulting tour featured actors performing alongside the live band.
The critically acclaimed Scoop series of albums gives the listener a privileged peek behind the scenes of one of popular music’s greatest songwriters. The albums showcase Pete’s demos for both The Who and his solo recordings. Scoop, was released in 1983 and includes versions of Who classics such as ‘So Sad About Us’, ‘Squeeze Box’, ‘Circles’, ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ and ‘Love Reign O’er Me’. Another Scoop followed in 1987 and includes demos of ‘Pinball Wizard’, ‘Substitute’, ‘You Better You Bet’ and ‘Pictures of Lily’. Scoop 3’ surfaced in 2001 and included Townshend’s initial versions of the classics ‘The Real Me’, ‘ Sea and Sand’ and ‘Eminence Front’.
In February 1985 Pete performed two charity shows at London’s Brixton Academy. The sold out shows benefitted the ‘Double O’ charity, which was formed by The Who in the 1970s. The band, performing under the banner ‘Deep End’, featured Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour. They performed ‘I Put A Spell On You’ and ‘Barefooting’ as well as more contemporary songs like The Beat’s ‘Save It For Later’ as well as classics such as ‘Pinball Wizard’ and ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ also make an appearance on the album, Deep End Live.