Pete Townshend gave fans an update on the upcoming Who box set, which is currently in the works for later this year. Townshend told Mojo: “2021 would have been the 50th anniversary of the Who’s Next album and a good opportunity to do a box set and to have conversations about it. But we missed it for obvious reasons. And so in 2022, there is a box set and the box set is to some extent being perfumed by the fact that I’ve been working with a guy called Jeff Krelitz on a Lifehouse graphic novel, and we’re hoping that that will come out around the same time. There’s talk of a documentary, all of this stuff. It makes me want to run away (laughs).”
He touched upon the missing Who track from the era he mentioned in a recent Instagram post and gave an update on its inclusion on the set: “The record company had found a track they said was from the Lifehouse sessions. This track, called ‘Ambition,’ had Keith Moon, John Entwistle and me playing on it. And then I found a demo that I had done at home with a vocal. So they were like, ‘Well, let’s just get Roger (Daltrey) to do a vocal on the version that the other guys in the band did, and we can add it to the record and it will be brand new.’ So I spent a week reconstituting or finishing off the demo, sent it to the record company, and they said, ‘Ahhhh, no. . . Maybe you could put it on a solo album?’ So I said, ‘Well, y’know, there’s reason it’s never been released before. It’s because it’s crap!'”
- The Who‘s fifth studio album, Who’s Next, was released in America on August 25th, 1971. The album, which is largely regarded as their masterpiece, peaked at Number Four in the U.S. — yet fared better in the UK where it topped the album charts.
- The album, which is one of the rare albums in rock history in which every track became an FM staple, featured, arguably, the band’s three most important ’70s classics — with the Pete Townshend-written “Baba O’Riley,” “Behind Blue Eyes,” and the epic “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”
- Originally Townshend’s songs were to be utilized in a futuristic multimedia project called Lifehouse. By the time the songs were released on Who’s Next, the project had been scaled back dramatically – but the songs, regardless of their story – were immediately embraced by fans as Who masterpieces.
- Lifehouse, which had huge Orwellian undertones, was based around Townshend’s tale of society existing in pods which are controlled by an evil government that uses an Internet-like power grid to brainwash people and dupe them into thinking the experiences they go through are actually life. A revolution ensues before the masses are eventually freed as the humans become attuned to a single note of music.
CHECK IT OUT: The Who on May 18th, 1974 performing “Behind Blue Eyes” live at England’s Charlton Athletic Football Club:
CHECK IT OUT: Pete Townshend in 2006 performing “Ambition” on his In The Attic web series: