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Pete Townshend Announces New TCT Charity Solo Single ‘Can’t Outrun The Truth’

The song was written and produced by Townshend’s partner Rachel Fuller, under her nom de plume of Charlie Pepper.

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Pete Townshend 'Can’t Outrun The Truth' artwork - Courtesy: Polydor/UMG
Pete Townshend 'Can’t Outrun The Truth' artwork - Courtesy: Polydor/UMG

Pete Townshend will release his first solo single for 29 years, “Can’t Outrun The Truth,” on March 24.

The song was written and produced by Townshend’s partner Rachel Fuller, under her nom de plume of Charlie Pepper. The song will be available digitally and in a very special limited vinyl edition. All proceeds from vinyl sales, plus at least 10p from every download, will go to the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Fuller and Townshend reached out to the renowned British artist Damien Hirst to create a unique one-off spin painting of Townshend, which adorns the sleeve of 200 12” singles of “Can’t Outrun The Truth.” The 12” also features Pete’s solo hit “Let My Love Open The Door,” a US Top 10 single in 1980 from his Empty Glass album, as the B-side.

Instant collector’s items

Townshend has signed each of the singles, which are certain to become instant collector’s pieces and will be available exclusively to fans attending this year’s Teenage Cancer Trust concerts at the Royal Albert Hall from March 21-26. Those shows will culminate in A Special Gala Evening of Music with Roger Daltrey and Friends of Teenage Cancer Trust, headlined by Townshend’s The Who bandmate and featuring guests Richard Ashcroft, Far From Saints, and Joan Armatrading.

The song will also be supported by Townshend’s first solo video for 40 years. The clip was filmed in a series of one-take performances by directors Michael Nunn and William Trevitt. You can watch a trailer below.

Pete Townshend 'Can't Outrun The Truth' trailer

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“Can’t Outrun The Truth” was inspired by the emotional challenges faced by so many due to the lack of human interaction caused by the pandemic. Fuller observed that those feelings of isolation would be especially pertinent to young people already undergoing cancer treatment.

“We’d just moved house,” she recalls, “and Pete was as happy as Larry up in his studio, working every day, and I put my back out, I was just climbing the walls, I couldn’t do any creative work and obviously, we couldn’t go anywhere. And I really started to think about how unbelievably difficult this period of time was going to be for so many people.

“I wrote lyrics and then I sat at the piano and wrote the music, and then I thought, Oh, I really would like to record it, because it’s really not a bad song at all – and my singing days are long over. So, I asked Pete to record the demo.”

Adds Townshend: “I’ve helped Rachel make the demos for several of her theatrical projects. She’s a really a fast worker, it’s not that you say to me, ‘Let’s go into the studio for two weeks and work on this project.’ We do it two hours later, or an hour later, it’s done – so it’s easy to work with her.”

Townshend on lap steel and violin

The song was recorded in September of 2021 in Townshend’s home studio, where he sang lead vocals and played lap steel guitar and violin. Once the pair had recorded it, they took the decision to release it and raise funds for TCT.

“The pandemic years were terrible for charities,” says Pete. “The Teenage Cancer Trust was created in order to take the money from a series of concerts at the Albert Hall every year and various other things and that had all dropped out. So, the idea of doing this, which is it’s something that has sprung out of lockdown about mental illness, but also for this particular charity. If you’ve got a scenario in which somebody in your family or a teenager has got cancer, they’re being treated, lockdown hits, and you’re not allowed to go and visit them. There’s a poignancy to the whole thing about the song.”

Notes Fuller: “I think one of the things about the song is that it felt like we drew a line, and it was, okay, back to normal. Nobody’s really talking about Covid anymore. There aren’t stories in the papers, and no one wants to talk about those two years. And I think for so many people, there is a long tail, people really, really struggled and just because people are saying let’s move on. I think a lot of people are still finding it really hard.”

Concludes Townshend: “Rachel is absolutely right; this is something that deserves to be carried in our daily life.”

Listen to the best of Pete Townshend on Apple Music and Spotify.

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