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The Who announce a new album ‘WHO’

Rock legends The Who will release ‘WHO’ their first studio album in thirteen years, this November.

The eleven-track album features the talents of long established Who musical stalwarts Zak Starkey (drums) and Pino Palladino (bass) along with Simon Townshend, Benmont Tench, Carla Azar, Joey Waronker and Gordon Giltrap. The record was co-produced by Pete Townshend & D. Sardy with ‘vocal production’ by Dave Eringa (best known perhaps for his work with Manic Street Preachers).

Bearing in mind that musicians are always terrible judges of their own work, Roger Daltrey says he 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”. See if you agree, by previewing ‘Ball and Chain’ from WHO, below.

The artwork is of course immediately recognisable as the work of Sir Peter Blake, who created the iconic cover for The BeatlesSgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The Who’s relationship with Blake actually pre-dates that period; they met him in 1964 at a taping of the legendary TV show Ready Steady Go. Sir Peter also designed and contributed a painting to the sleeve of The Who’s album Face Dances in 1981.

Pete Townshend is refreshingly candid about the new work and his and Roger’s place in the world in 2019. He says:

“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. 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”.

In terms of formats, the deluxe CD features three as unspecified bonus tracks. It’s only a jewel case (in what looks like an outer slipcase) though, so hardly ‘deluxe’ in terms of packaging. There is a standard black vinyl, but available via The Who store is a triple coloured vinyl package which features the 11-track album cut at 45RPM over 180g blue & red discs with a white 10” pressing of never before heard 1965 demo ‘Sand’. Various bundles are also available. Also, HMV in the UK have an exclusive 2LP vinyl where the second record is a selection of classic hits.

WHO is released on 22 November 2019.

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All This Music Must Fade
Ball And Chain
I Don’t Wanna Get Wise
Detour
Beads On One String*
Hero Ground Zero
Street Song
I’ll Be Back
Break The News**
Rockin’ In RageShe Rocked My World

All songs written by Pete Townshend except

*Pete Townshend/Josh Hunsacker

**Simon Townshend

Produced by Pete Townshend & D. Sardy

Roger Daltrey Vocal production Dave Eringa

Mixed by D. Sardy

SuperDeluxeEdition.com helps fans around the world discover physical music and discuss releases. To keep the site free, SDE participates in various affiliate programs, including Amazon and earns from qualifying purchases.

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Jay K.

I am so glad they offered the deluxe edition because in my view, “This Gun Will Misfire” is the best song on the entire album.

j

At Target in the USA you get 3 bonus tracks and it sounds really good compared to what I thought it would

AndyB

Had to get my deluxe edition shipped to the US from Amazon Canada. With shipping, it cost less than $20.

RikTheHib

The Who strike again!!

What a great sounding album. It’s been on heavy rotation for the last week.

Highlights (for me): All this music must fade, Got Nothing To Prove

mind you, not a bad track on there.

Well done chaps!

Guy.S

The Age of Anxiety Signed edition is available at Waterstones. : )

Guy.S

more “limited” Signed ‘softpack’ CD’s available at recordstore.co.uk though these are only available in the UK

Guy.S

anyone after the Signed UK Exclusive CD it seems to be still available, I just did a search for “The Who Who Signed” and the top search came up as https://store.thewho.com>Signed-UK-Exclusive-2019-Album-CD when you click on that it take you to the order page but strangely it states that it is for pre-order up to Tuesday 29th January Only but it is in stock and you can add it to your basket and to check out, the total comes to £17.94 which includes UK post and also £5 goes to The Double O Charity, this was at 11:50 am Saturday 7th

PhilipD

Like others, I pre-ordered the signed copy when originally announced in early 2019. It arrived this morning. It is the ‘deluxe’ edition cd (with the extra three tracks) and comes with a special edition slip case signed by Pete, NICE.

Geof

I am curious as to whether the US “Deluxe” edition is a digipak with a plastic tray, or the dreadful scratch-o-matic cardboard pocket sleeve a la McCartney, Neil Young etc. which are usually either too tight, so you have to grip the disc with your fingers which isn’t great (and accelerates the unavoidable scratching process), or so loose — Neil’s are especially bad in this regard — that the disc literally drops out if you tip the cover ever so slightly. I bought Japanese inner sleeves to deal with these dismal covers, but even if the US Deluxe edition at Target isn’t a full jewel case, hopefully it at least has a plastic tray…

noyoucmon

In the States, the edition sold at Target will have bonus tracks.

Bip

Is it my imagination,or does the melody from Guantanamo sound very much like Tracy Chapman’s “Give Me One Reason” from a few years back?

Philip Cohen

Postponed into December.

JediJoker

Any North American sources for the deluxe CD?

JediJoker

Er, I see Amazon Canada has it. Why not Amazon US?

AndyB

Paul hasn’t updated the widgets. Just click on the vinyl tab above and switch to the CD version there. $11.95 as of now.

JediJoker

That listing is for the standard 11-track CD. Altering the URL to “.co.uk” confirms this: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B07N7S9J4J. The deluxe UK URL: https://www.amazon.co.uk/WHO-Deluxe-Who/dp/B07XVFMQJ7. It has no counterpart at the US store; that ASIN doesn’t exist there. Why not, I wonder?

AndyB

My bad. I must have missed the word “deluxe.” Consider my first reply wrong.

Bip

This track is rather stiff to me,and just doesn’t have the punch I was hoping for.
I wish they had listened to Cheap Trick’s “We’re all Alright’ album for inspiration.

AndyB

Eh. Forget that album and buy some Big Star.

Enrico G.

After listening to the new track, I’m going out to purchase the 3CD edition of Live at Leeds.

John B Dunnebacke

Well, after buying, and later selling, their last studio album ‘Endless Wire’, I’ll wait till it’s released on Spotify, so I can listen to the whole thing to see if I like it enough to purchase a copy. I personally thought Endless Wire was terrible…

Geoff G

I don’t care for the song, but I will buy the album. It’s always good to see older artists that still have the balls to put out new music. New music is always a good thing in my book.

Face-ache

all a bit tired-o – the main riff in guantanomo reminds me of about two dozen other choons, and from roger’s “political” comments one would have almost thought that he would have been in favour of the lock’em up school of thought – perhaps I’ve got that wrong . Peter Blake can churn that cover “mod” art stuff out in his sleep. Do they need the money ? aren’t they famous enough ? does anybody really know what time it is ?

Bob

I quite like the track they’ve posted . I’m looking forward to hearing the rest .

Eduardo

“Ball and Chain” is just a new version of “Guantanamo” from Truancy. But it rocks and there are things that is always good to remember.

Stan Lee

Bit lazy of Peter Blake to design a cover very reminiscent of Paul Weller’s classic Stanley Road.

Adey

I was just about to say that myself! Looks like a copy and paste job.

AndyB

“It’s Hard” classics:
‘Athena’
‘Cry If You Want’
‘One Life’s Enough’
‘Eminence Front’
‘I’ve Known No War’
It was my first Who album purchased with my own money. I love it. Stop knocking it.

bruce kelso

I don’t understand why pete and roger don’t get it. the WHO are a thing of the past. the music that they are now making is pete and roger music .they are harming the legend in which created.

Romchik

When you get old you’ll get it.

bruce kelso

hi romchik, I am old, 65 yesterday,for me the WHO ended after quadraphenia. since then they have been putting out inferior music in my opinion but, if others enjoy what they do that’s fine by me.

Andreas

Why a thing of the past? Who defines that? If they have fun creating new music, and if it is even good like in this case… who are we to judge or decide about that? Just because Quadrophenia was great and well received, it doesn’t mean that they cannot try to compete with that. And if the name helps to sell – why not? You don’t need to buy it.

Honestly, I am happy for every good piece of music that is put out today – among that huge amount of unlistenable crap that we are involuntarily surrounded by. We should be thankful that there are great writers as well – whether they are young or old.

Charlie Waffles

Let’s rename Endless Wire as Who’s Worst.

Mark

Did not enjoy that album. Unsure about a song about Guantanamo bay. I guess it is controversial. I really like the music to ball and chain but the lyric is a bit controversial to the negative. I assume that beads and strings will be another slam at the catholic church. I wish they would realize that both the catholic church and protestant church as well as the public school system have all had roughly the same amount of incidents. While it is a crying shame and pure evil, it is not the catholic church, protestant church or school systems that promote this. It is the sickos who target those institutions because there are children present. I get tired of some of The Who’s politics. I wish they could just.write a few songs about Rock and Roll. Perhaps about having a good time with friends. So.eone said in the thread that they are old. Perhaps they could write a meaningful song about old age. Joe Walsh’s last album was a riot with Analog Man. And at the same time heartwarming with the song family. And it rocked with Highroller baby. I guess The Who are trying to maintain a sort of rock and roll rebel image. Most of The Who fans have all grown up. Yes, the Kids are alright but we grew up. As for me, I’ll hold out for one more Who album of good times, aging, and good old rock and roll. Love live rock.

Gorecki

I wish I understood this comment! ‘Unsure about a song about Guantanamo bay. I guess it is controversial. I really like the music to ball and chain but the lyric is a bit controversial to the negative.’ What does ‘controversial to the negative’ mean. Is writing about Guantamo Bay more or less controversial than the continuing existence of the place itself – even the guards are now referring to the facility as an old peoples’ home! After the Second World War enemy combatants held in Britain were processed, de-Nazified and returned to Germany within two years; those who were thought guilty of crimes against humanity were tried and either punished or released – surely it shouldn’t be beyond the ability of ‘the greatest nation on earth®’ to have sorted out this issue given the 18 years they’ve (so far) had.

As for ‘Beads On One String’ I can only reserve judgement until I’ve seen some lyrics: it may refer to the Rosary (quite probably does), but it might equally be Muslim prayer beads (and relate to the state of the Middle East, British Grooming Gangs, Faith in general, etc.), it might be just sweat beads on a guitar string….. I prefer to see the evidence of the lyrics before burning lyric books. I would note that I too am rather tired of facile attacks on the Catholic Church – although it’s simply untrue that there’s been roughly the same amount of incidents in Protestant denominations, Public School [by which I suspect you’re using the US term for State School], etc. – and a major difference has been the manner with which such attacks have been dealt. Ironically in British Public Schools – that is to say Private non-State schools (stupidly confusing terminology!) – there has been a long history of abuse (physical and sexual).

I get tired of most bands’/ artists’ politics simply because I never agree with the totality of what anyone says or believes – simply because that’s the state of being human – if we all agreed with everybody else all of the time it would be terribly boring and Totalitarian. I listen to people, sometimes I agree, sometimes I don’t, sometimes I change my mind, sometimes I don’t. But why should an artist devote their time to songs about old age just because they’re old any more than an Asian act make their songs about ‘being Asian’, or a Gay songwriter only write songs about being Gay? When I was at university the sole Asian student (there were only 8 of us in total) was constantly being pushed by the course leader to concentrate on writing scripts about ‘the British Asian Experience’ which the student found deeply exasperating (and embarassing) as he wanted to concentrate on writing about ‘the Superhero fighting evil experience’ – thankfully the student had the strength of character to completely ignore the course leader! :)

Steve Benson

Guantanamo was a bonus new song on a Pete compilation CD “Truancy” in 2015

Alex

I’m looking forward to this, although a bit concerned by ‘vocal production’ by an associate of Manic Street Preachers – who surely have the worst vocals in rock. I’m sure it will be OK.

Chuck E. Brie

Guantanamo? A song about Guantanamo? A thoroughly off-base and naive song about Guantanamo? I feared this album would be a farce; sad.

Ben in Colorado

“I didn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable” says Pete. And then, to your point, the first release is a song about Guantánamo Bay. “ designed to cause men pain”

Based off this track it’s a solid no for me.

Mark

Strange topic indeed.

mr Foley

That is Daltrey isn’t it upper right…? c. may 1966 ? I’ve seen v similar shots in a news item about ‘found’ photos being auctioned a while back..
Anyway that lead track sounds good. cover looks great. Anyone not a big fan or not current with these two – and half wondering about the dying of the light , or not, should check out Rogers last solo effort from 2018 produced by Dave Eringa ‘As long as I have you’. Pete contributed guitar on most it too. v good indeed to my humble ear…
looking forward to this..

Carl

I had a confirmation email in January from the Who Store confirming a pre-order for the Deluxe CD signed by Pete Townshend, so there definitely was an earlier pre sale for this.

Kevin

Yes, I pre-ordered that as well. Glad I did because the love the cover art to the new album!

gisabun

From January? It’s September!

Carl

Yes, from January! the release date was not specified

Andrew Abley

Classic Peter Blake artwork , tempted for the cover

TheProgster

Well this new track doesn’t sound too bad actually let’s hope the rest of the album is a whole lot better than “Endless Wire” which was absolutely diabolical, when I heard earlier this year they were working on a new album I thought please don’t make another endless wire, Daltrey is quite a shouty vocalist not someone who I personally would put up in the league of Steve Perry ex of Journey who is without any doubt the finest rock singer to ever front a rock band, That aside all credit to Daltrey and Townsend for still having a go at making new music and not going through the motions and sitting back and relying on the old songs to get by.

Pete

I was with you until you named Steve Perry the greatest vocalist to front a rock band. That award goes to Robert Plant of a little band called Led Zeppelin.

DaveM

And the award for greatest vocalist NOT to front Led Zeppelin goes to Terry Reid! Seriously though, that Who single is great.

DazH.

Have to agree with The Progster.Theres a lot of great rock vocalists, too many to mention, but when it comes down to sheer power and vocal range, nobody can touch Steve Perry.

TheProgster

Thank you DazH for agreeing with me on that because Plant doesn’t have the range and soul in his voice like Perry has…But again we all have our favorites and what we deem to be the best but it’s a lot down to personal preference and we should agree to disagree at times.

peter chrisp

Not to mention the legendary Paul Rogers i’d rate him one of the finest too.

Kevin

I thought ‘Endless Wire’ was good and a billion times better than most of the tracks on the dreadful ‘It’s Hard’. That is easily the nadir of The Who’s long career.

Nick Love

Shouty or not Roger (along with arguably Steve Marriott) created the blueprint for the 70’s hard rock vocalist. I even read something by Jimmy Page saying he wanted a vocalist that resembled Daltrey for Zeppelin which led to Plant.

Bruce N

pleased to see this finally out. i pre-ordered a signed CD way back in January, so I hope they’ve remembered!

J.C. Richards

I see nothing anywhere about them signing anything or else I would have pre-ordered too

Alan B

I can remember months ago seeing an option to pre order the CD. At the time there was no title or even a release date. But I didn’t see any signed version though. Was that through a special link?

Bruce N

It came via their mailing list and the link itself was on The Who website – but only for a short while, I think.

Guy.S

Yep, just checked my emails and had a receipt on the 28th January for “Signed UK Exclusive 2019 Album CD” I think the extra fiver on each cd went to a charity to do with Pete Townshend. Can’t wait.

Daryl

Nice to see the jewel case specified. I despise flimsy digipaks!

Travis

I couldn’t agree more, Daryl. I prefer jewel cases over any other type of packaging, particularly digipaks and those awful LP-style sleeves that do not include a plastic tray for the disc to sit in. In regards to the packaging of the deluxe edition of this new Who release, I agree with Paul that the addition of a simple cardboard slipcase doesn’t seem very “deluxe.”

Although this is the first time that I’ve commented on this particular site, I visit SDE at least once per day, without fail. Paul, I appreciate everything that you do. I seemingly always find myself reading your in-depth articles, even when they are written about artists that I am not interested in. Thank you, sir.

Federico

That’s crazy. I was just listening to A Quick One.

Alan

The sleeve is a total ripoff of Stanley Road, even some of the things like the heart and the star are replicated.

I hope the album is better than Endless Wire.

TimB

Stanley Road was just part of a series of works done by Peter Blake in this style. He’s done similar works since the 60’s. In fact he did one for The Who in the 80’s with a similar look.

Jarmo Keranen

Paul Weller’s early The Jam years were a total ripoff of The Who!

daveid76

You mean Peter Blake has ripped off Peter Blake. How dare he.

gary oliver

… dont know about the album, but i WOULD like a framed print of the cover art
.

Colin Harper

Terrific. I’m a fan of their imperial phase (1969-78) and saw them a couple of years back – no more the 4-piece jam band of old but a few carefully set aside bars per song for Pete to turn up his guitar and do something unscripted amid the shackles of the otherwise ruthlessly (re)arranged stage songs, with a shower of extra backing singers and tambourinists. If that’s what they need to get them through a stage show or tour at this point, that’s okay – as Pete said in the quote above, there’s a time to accept when things have to change. (Though the recent tour with orchestras sounded like adding a litre of water to a fine whisky.) But I’m more impressed than I expected to be the new track – perhaps more as a ‘record’ (a recording/arrangement as a sonic artefact) than as a song, but a fair songwriting idea in that respect too. There’s a lot of analogue feel and the coiled spring tension of studio recordings like ‘Relay’ and ‘Who Are You?’ in the way it’s been assembled and mixed. ‘Endless Wire’ (the last Who album) seemed to be full of rather strange lyrical references – almost like a songwriting version of Peter Blake’s cut & paste designs – scattergun references to Doris Day, Mike Post, The Pope, Johnny Ray, sundry other people, which just implied a paucity of vision. Fingers crossed that Pete’s reigned in his attempts to write big themed stuff (as he says is the case), which often just ends up as bluster. (Quadrophenia was a bridge too far for me let alone any Big Idea since.) If it’s a record full of rocking chair reflections and observations by a former angry young man, that sounds like a winning idea to me. I’m now going to press ‘buy’ on the thing. I wouldn’t have done that before hearing the track. Ironically, perhaps, given Pete’s quote about nostalgia, I’ll buy the album at least partly out of nostalgia – for the Who of 1970, the greatest rock’n’roll band in the world. It sounds like there’s just enough of that DNA left to turn it up and pretend to oneself that we won’t get fooled again.

andrew r

Cover wise puts me in mind of stanley road
and is that mr weller puffing hard on a ciggie
top right? You have to salute them for keeping on
but based on that track you would have to say the best since Who are you
not Quad which is Townshends masterpiece. Sorry Pete and Rog

James C

Spot on with the Stanley Road comment… particularly the cover of the box set / deluxe edition of that album. Clearly intentional on Peter Blake’s part but not very original all the same.

vikerii

I was close in my bet with my wife. Was thinking it would be called WHO’S LAST. Glad they are putting out another album!

Aaron

There already is a Who’s Last album…

Alan

There is already an album called “Who’s Last” in their repertoire

Dave

No ! This is the who s next !!!

David M

They already did that.

James C

Would have been a good title if it wasn’t for the fact Who’s Last came out 37 years ago!

Stan Butler

Who’s Last was used as a (live) album title in 1984. At the time it was going to be their last.
Ironically, year’s wise, it turns out that they weren’t even half way through their career

Ollie Carlisle

And they already did a song called My Wife! :-)

vikerii

Yes, um, I was just …errr testing you all. And I’m happy to report you all passed the test. Good job! :o