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PETE TOWNSHEND RECALLS 'TOMMY' BEING AN ACT OF DESPERATION

10/31/2013

With the upcoming "Deluxe Edition" Tommy reissue coming next month, as well as a recent Canadian run of the theater production garnering rave reviews, Pete Townshend is once again looking back at the fabled "deaf, dumb, and blind boy." Townshend shed light on his state of mind in 1968 when he began composing the double album in the face of the Who's then-dwindling commercial stock in England, telling BroadwayWorld.com, "When I got to Tommy, I thought, 'Well, this isn't working anymore.' Y'know, I did 'I Can See For Miles', it didn't hit in the UK, it hit quite well in the States, but I always thought that it was going to be kind of be my global Number One, and it wasn't -- it was just another song which was obviously charting our slow decline."

 

A panicked Townshend told the band's manager and producer Kit Lambert: "I am never, ever, ever going to be able to top this song -- I can never write a better song than 'I Can See For Miles.' What am I gonna do? What are we gonna do?' I don't know whose idea it was. . . but, we decided to do an opera. It felt not only a dangerous thing to do, but it did actually feel like an exception to the rule. I felt like I was stepping outside my job -- I was abandoning my rock n' roll legion. I was leaving my boys behind."

  • Despite the fact that the Who has been the primary -- and most important -- creative outlet of his life, in his heart of hearts, Pete Townshend never wanted it all to go down the way it did: "What we produced was not something that I wanted any part of, particularly. The Who didn't make the kind of music that I wanted to make, they weren't the kind of band I wanted to be in, and it was just one of those things where I just happened to be there. And when you put us together, we went off in this particular direction. And if we had been robbing banks, I would've had as little control with whether or not I was a part of it or not."
  • The "Super Deluxe" reissue of the Who's 1969 Tommy album will be released on November 11th. The set, which will feature both a remastered and 5.1 surround sound version of the album, will also feature 20 solo Pete Townshend demos.
  • The Who plan to launch its final world tour sometime in 2015.

CHECK IT OUT: The Who on December 16th, 1969 miming to "I Can See For Miles" on the BBC's Pop Goes The Sixties:

Pete Townshend On Not Wanting To Be In The Who


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