The Who's first new album in thirteen years, WHO, is an eleven-track album mostly recorded in London and Los Angeles during Spring and Summer 2019, and co-produced by Pete Townshend & Dave Sardy with vocal production by Dave Eringa. Singer Roger Daltrey and guitarist and songwriter Pete Townshend are joined on the album by long-time Who drummer Zak Starkey and bassist Pino Palladino, along with contributions from Simon Townshend, Benmont Tench, Carla Azar, Joey Waronker and Gordon Giltrap.
The album cover has been created by famed pop artist Sir Peter Blake, who first met the band in 1964 at a taping of the legendary TV show Ready Steady Go. Sir Peter designed and contributed a painting to the sleeve of The Who's album Face Dances in 1981.
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."
"This album is almost all new songs written last year, with just two exceptions," explains Pete Townshend. "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."
Townshend and Daltrey can still summon their inner Who-ness in their mid 70s. Even the album cover is an acknowledgement of the record's innate Who factor; it's by Peter Blake, who made the Who's similarly laid-out Face Dances sleeve (as well as Sgt. Pepper's) and it contains nods to the band's idols (Chuck Berry and Muhammad Ali) and their past (panels depicting Townshend smashing his guitar, a Union Jack, even Batman and Robin, since they once covered the Adam West Batman theme). It's a nod to the past but still wholly new... Daltrey still has all the tough-guy bravado of his early days, and there is still a dramatic combo of brutality and gentleness throughout Who, but it's tasteful, and that's not an easy balance for bands that have been around as long as the Who... when they're on, they're really on and they've found a group of pinch-hitter musicians like bassist Pino Palladino, drummers Zak Starkey and Joey Waronker, and keyboardist Benmont Tench that can approximate Moon and late bassist John Entwistle's contributions. The band may be only half the Who they were when they formed, but Who is worthy of the Who name.
- 180g Vinyl LP
- First studio album since 2006
- 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