Daltrey is the debut solo album by The Who's lead singer, Roger Daltrey which is the third member to make a solo album. It was first released in 1973. The album took six weeks to record during January and February 1973. Sessions took place at Daltrey's Barn Studio, Burwash, East Sussex, where the backing tracks were laid down; vocals, overdubs, and mixing were completed at The Beatles' Apple Studios at 3 Savile Row (the vocals for "One Man Band (reprise)" were recorded on the Apple rooftop, where The Beatles had performed their famous final concert in January 1969), and at Nova Sound Studios.
The album was recorded during a hiatus time in The Who's touring schedule. The top single off the album, "Giving it All Away", reached number five in the UK and the album made the Top 50 in the United States. He also released a single in 1973, "Thinking" with B-side "There is Love" which features Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin on guitar. Bizarrely, the British release, with considerable airplay of "Giving it All Away" (first lines "I paid all my dues so I picked up my shoes, I got up and walked away") coincided with news reports of The Who being sued for unpaid damage to their hotel on a recent tour, including a TV set being thrown out of the window.
The album was packaged in a gatefold sleeve, photographed and designed by Daltrey's cousin Graham Hughes featuring a Victorian locket-style soft focus image portraying Daltrey's Pre-Raphaelite looks. The inner sleeve photography shows a trompe-l'œil in reference to the Narcissus myth, as Daltrey's reflection in the water differs from his real appearance.
The success of the album caused some upheavals behind the scenes. With Pete Townshend being generally regarded as The Who's mouthpiece, Daltrey's renewed confidence now placed him in a strong position to influence the group policy. The Who's management team, Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp were reportedly concerned that the album might spell the end of The Who or at the very least, a Rod Stewart and the Faces type situation where the singer's solo success eclipsed the parent band. To Daltrey, at the time, these fears were misplaced. "I think it will do The Who some good if it's a hit, and I think there's a market for my album," he told Chris Charlesworth. The fact that Lambert and Stamp tried to derail the album's chances for the aforementioned reasons and their increasingly erratic handling of the group's affairs meant that their days as The Who's managers were numbered in Daltrey's eyes. He entrusted his affairs to Track employee Bill Curbishley who was fast rising through the ranks, having already successfully renegotiated the terms of a European Who tour the previous year.
All but two of the songs were co-written by the previously unknown Leo Sayer, who later became a well-known singer in his own right. At the time, Daltrey was playing in his home recording studio with Sayer, who told Daltrey about his struggles to get a record deal. Daltrey joking asked Sayer to write him some songs for a solo album. Sayer came back with ten songs, which Daltrey recorded for his first solo album.
Sayer went on to become quite the pop star and enjoyed greater chart success than Daltrey did as a solo artist. In fact the opening and final track on the album, "One Man Band" became one of Sayer's biggest hits.
Upon its release, the album was well received by many critics, and sold quite well. Writing for AllMusic, critic Dave Thompson said that the album is "a sometimes horrifying shock for die-hard fans, but a pleasant surprise for anyone tired of hearing him voice the increasingly dictatorial Townshend's self-aggrandizement."