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 including 9 US & 10 UK top ten albums and 14 UK top ten singles in a career spanning six decades.
Now fifty-five years after they made their first recordings, The Who is back with their first new album in thirteen years, entitled WHO due for release on November 22nd and is preceded by the song “Ball & Chain,” which is available on all streaming services now.
The eleven-track album was mostly recorded in London and Los Angeles during Spring and Summer 2019, and was co-produced by Pete Townshend & D. Sardy (who has worked with Noel Gallagher, Oasis, L.C.D. Soundsystem, 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.
The artwork for WHO was unveiled Thursday night, September 12th, in New York, at the opening of the brand new eight-story Pace Contemporary Art gallery, where the band also performed a short acoustic set. The album cover has been created by famed pop artist, Sir Peter Blake, who first met the band in 1964 at a taping of the legendary TV show “Ready Steady Go!”. Sir Peter designed and contributed a painting to the sleeve of The Who’s 1981 album, Face Dances.
Photo Credit: Theo Wargo
The songs on WHO cover a myriad of subjects including the Grenfell Tower fire, musical theft, spirituality, reincarnation, the power of memory and ‘an old rock star that has lost his marbles’. Singer Roger Daltrey rates it amongst their strongest: “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”.
Pete 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 okay 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, and have finished now in late August just in time to make some vinyl… maybe even some cassettes… ready for release in November”.
Two songs on the album, the epic “Ball & Chain” and string-laden “Hero Ground Zero,” recently got their world premiere when the band played with a 40-piece orchestra to a packed Wembley Stadium.
THE WHO ‘WHO’ TRACKLISTING
All This Music Must Fade
Ball & Chain
I Don’t Wanna Get Wise
Beads On One String*
Hero Ground Zero
I’ll Be Back
Break The News**
Rockin’ In Rage
She Rocked My World
WHO will be released Friday, November 22nd, 2019