The Album That Proved Pete Townshend Could Do It His Own Way And Succeed - It Was Named "Empty Glass" And It Came Out In 1980.
After the critical acclaim of the discs “Who Came First” and “Rough Mix” and the state The Who was in following the death of Keith Moon, the way was paved for Pete to launch his solo career in earnest. He was to finally do so in 1980, with an album for which he saved the first ten good songs he had written (instead of keeping them for The Who as he would have done before). The record was to receive excellent reviews and sell in good enough numbers as to prove that the brain of The Who also had a lot of muscle.
The one hit of the record was “Let My Love Open The Door”, yet another “love” song that was actually inspired by Meher Baba and his teachings. There were many musicians throughout history renowned for being Baba lovers, but Pete might as well be the most popular to the public at large. It was the same love that inspired the whole “Tommy” album, and on “Empty Glass” it also resulted in the sardonic “Keep On Working”. Pete has always had an eye for touching what he loves from another angle without actually tarnishing it. He knows how to throw shadows at something without hiding it all from sight, but rather emphasizing the bits that remain uncovered until they also tell you about what was darkened. In other words: Pete knows how to suggest and insinuate a lot. Continue reading →
Pete Playing With The Who In 1972. His Leaps Were A Trademark Move Along With His Windmills.
Notwithstanding the scope and quality of his solo output, Pete Townshend will always be remembered as the driving force behind The Who. The fact remains that Pete always had such an attachment and belief on the band that his solo career took a long time to start in earnest. That is, his first solo releases were not really that – both “Who Came First” and “Rough Mix” were large scale collaborations, as if Pete wanted to dilute by all means the fact that he was recording with someone who was not his beloved band.
Come the early eighties, though, his one love had become quite fragmented and the will to strike out on his own was strengthened. The death of Keith Moon was the obvious catalyst, but he also found it uneasy trying to communicate to a younger public. And one of his recurrent themes was always that of youth and its connection with ideals and dreams. All he could do was study the evolution of these themes along with his already-established fan base.
He did so in his first solo disc, “Empty Glass” (1980). It would prove to be his most successful offering, although the second one (“All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes”, 1982) was also praised critically, even when it sometimes sank under its own pretensions.
Pete then released the first of many collections of demos. Those “Scoops” as he were to name them were invariably intoxicating to fans, for two reasons. The first was that Pete played every instrument himself, and he did so suiting the style of each member of The Who. The second was that his vocal delivery was always very removed from that of Roger, not only in terms of range but mainly in terms of interpretative force. Roger was always a ballsy performer, and his energy was to take some songs such as “Who Are You” into territory different to the one Pete had originally conceived. Continue reading →