The Who’s twelfth studio album, WHO was released on 6 December 2019 in the following formats: Standard vinyl (Polydor 7747053), Deluxe audiophile triple vinyl (with rare demo ‘Sand’ on LP3) (Polydor 7748605), Standard CD (Polydor 773036), Deluxe CD (with three bonus tracks) (Polydor 0826465) and Cassette (Polydor 0806462). Bonus tracks on the Deluxe CD are ‘This Gun Will Misfire’, ‘Got Nothing To Prove’ and ‘Danny And My Ponies’, all three tracks sung by Pete Townshend.
- All This Music Must Fade
- Ball and Chain
- I Don’t Wanna Get Wise
- Beads On One String
- Hero Ground Zero
- Street Song
- I’ll Be Back
- Break The News
- Rockin’ In Rage
- She Rocked My World
The eleven-track album was mostly recorded in London and Los Angeles during spring and summer 2019 and was co-produced by Pete Townshend and Dave Sardy with vocal production by Dave Eringa.
Singer Roger Daltrey and guitarist and songwriter Pete Townshend were 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 album cover was created by Pop artist, Sir Peter Blake who first met the band in 1965 at a taping of the legendary TV show Ready Steady Go! Peter Blake designed the cover and contributed a painting to the sleeve of The Who’s 1981 album Face Dances.
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 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.”
Cover art by Peter Blake
Sleeve design by Peter Blake and Simon Halfon
Photography by Rick Guest
For Alan Rogan. In memory.