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Listen To ‘Ball And Chain’ As The Who Announce ‘WHO’ Album, UK Tour

While unveiling the artwork and tracklist for ‘WHO,’ the band also shared the first song from it, along with UK arena shows for 2020.

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The Who 2019 Press shot CREDIT Rick Guest
Photo: Rick Guest

Following the announcement of their first album in 13 years, The Who have confirmed a number of UK arena tour dates to support WHO, out on 22 November.

Starting in the spring of next year, the band will embark on a UK tour accompanied by an orchestra, as they are on their current Moving On! itinerary. The tour kicks off on 16 March at Manchester Arena, with a number of stops in Dublin, Newcastle, Glasgow, Cardiff, Birmingham and Wembley Arena on 8 April.

While unveiling the new album’s artwork and tracklist, they also shared the new song ‘Ball and Chain,’ which the band premiered with a 40-piece orchestra during their epic performance to a packed Wembley Stadium this past July.

The Who are currently in the US on the second leg of the Moving On! tour, which will include two nights at the famed Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on 11 and 13 October. The tour moves on to Fenway Park in Boston tonight (13).

The 11-track set is the band’s 12th studio release and first since Endless Wire in 2006. It was recorded chiefly in London and Los Angeles during the spring and summer of this year. WHO was co-produced by Pete Townshend and D. Sardy (whose credits include Noel Gallagher, Oasis, LCD Soundsystem and Gorillaz) with vocal production by Dave Eringa, known for his previous work with The Who and with Manic Street Preachers, Roger Daltrey and Wilko Johnson.

The album features contributions from longtime Who drummer Zak Starkey and bassist Pino Palladino; Townshend and Daltrey are also joined by Pete’s brother and fellow Who live band member Simon Townshend, Benmont Tench, Carla Azar, Joey Waronker and Gordon Giltrap.

Songs on the record cover such subjects as the Grenfell Tower fire in London, musical theft, spirituality, reincarnation, the power of memory and “an old rock star that has lost his marbles.” Daltrey says proudly of the new work: “I think we’ve made our best album since Quadrophenia in 1973, Pete hasn’t lost it, he’s still a fabulous songwriter, and he’s still got that cutting edge.”

Says Townshend: “This album is almost all new songs written last year, with just two exceptions. There is no theme, no concept, no story, just a set of songs that I [and my brother Simon] wrote to give Roger Daltrey some inspiration, challenges and scope for his newly revived singing voice.

“Roger and I are both old men now, by any measure, so I’ve tried to stay away from romance, but also from nostalgia if I can. I didn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable. Memories are OK, and some of the songs refer to the explosive state of things today. I made new home studio demos of all these songs in the summer of 2018 using a wide collection of instruments old and new.

“We started recording as The Who in March 2019,” continues Townshend, “and have finished now in late August just in time to make some vinyl…maybe even some cassettes…ready for release in November.”

The artwork for WHO was unveiled last night (12) in New York, at the opening of the eight-storey contemporary art gallery Pace, where the band also played a short acoustic set. The WHO cover has been created by the revered pop artist Sir Peter Blake, who first met the band in 1964 at a recording of the famous TV music show Ready Steady Go! Blake designed and contributed a painting for the cover of The Who’s 1981 album Face Dances.

Visit the official website for tour and ticket details.

The Who UK Tour 2020

16 March – Manchester Arena
18 March – Dublin 3 Arena
21 March – Newcastle Utilita Arena
23 March – Glasgow SSE HydroArena
25 March – Leeds First Direct Arena
30 March – Cardiff Motorpoint Arena
1 April – Birmingham Resorts World Arena
3 April – Nottingham Motorpoint Arena
6 April – Liverpool M&S Bank Arena
8 April – SSE Wembley Arena

WHO is released on 22 November. Scroll down for the tracklisting, and pre-order it here.

Listen-Buy

All This Music Must Fade
Ball And Chain
I Don’t Wanna Get Wise
Detour
Beads On One String*
Hero Ground Zero
Street Song
I’ll Be Back
Break The News**
Rockin’ In Rage
She Rocked My World

All songs written by Pete Townshend except
*Pete Townshend/Josh Hunsacker **Simon Townshend
Produced by Pete Townshend & D. Sardy
Roger Daltrey vocal production Dave Eringa
Mixed by D. Sardy

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