It's Hard

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It's Hard
Studio album by The Who
Released 4 September 1982
Recorded June 1982, Turn Up-Down Studio at Glyn Johns' home in Surrey, England, UK
Genre Rock
Hard Rock
Length 46:29
Label Polydor, Warner Bros.
Producer Glyn Johns
The Who chronology
Hooligans
(1981)
It's Hard
(1982)
Who's Greatest Hits
(1983)
Singles from It's Hard
  1. "Athena"
    Released: 4 September 1982
  2. "Eminence Front"
    Released: 25 December 1982
  3. "It's Hard"
    Released: February 1983
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau (C)[2]
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars[3]

It's Hard is the tenth studio album by English rock band The Who. It is the last Who album to feature their bassist John Entwistle and their drummer Kenney Jones, as well as the last to be released on Warner Bros. Records in the US. It was their last album until 2006's Endless Wire with the last two members of the original 1964 lineup. It was released in 1982 on Polydor Records in the UK, peaking at #11,[4] and on Warner Bros. in the US where it peaked at #8 on the Billboard Pop Albums charts.[5] The US rights to both this album and Face Dances subsequently reverted to the band, who then licensed them to MCA Records (later Geffen Records, itself once distributed by WB) for reissue. The album achieved gold status by the RIAA in the US in November 1982.

History[edit]

The first track on the album, "Athena", peaked at number 28 on the Billboard Pop Singles charts.

The album cover, designed by Graham Hughes (Roger Daltrey's cousin), The album cover depicts a young boy playing an Atari's Space Duel arcade game. This is a reference to their infamous rock opera Tommy, with the pinball machine that the main character played updated to the then-modern times.

In 1997, MCA Records re-released the album with new mixes for the album correcting problems evident in the original mixes for "Athena" and "Eminence Front".

Pete Townshend has been sometimes noted to give a brief history of "Eminence Front" before playing it in concert live. He would explain what the song was about, and finish by saying the album's name ("It's Hard").

Roger Daltrey's views on the album[edit]

Daltrey later said in 1994 that "It's Hard should never have been released" and that he also had arguments with Townshend over the release of the album. But the record company wanted them to make a new record and they also wanted them to do a tour for the album, so in many ways they were forced to release it.[6]

Reception[edit]

Upon its release in 1982, Parke Puterbaugh of Rolling Stone magazine in the United States wrote a controversial review of the album, that over time has remained polarizing. Puterbaugh gave it the magazine's highest rating (5 stars) and commented that it was, "their most vital and coherent album since [the 1971 album,] Who's Next".[7] Puterbaugh also proclaimed that the song, "I've Known No War" was "a song that could become an anthem to our generation much the way 'Won't Get Fooled Again' did a decade ago."[7]

Live performances[edit]

Just over half of this album has been played live over the course of the band's career, most of the performances coming from the then farewell tour in 1982 supporting the album.

"Dangerous" was the first song from this album to be played live, as the third song on the band's first 1982 concert. Its live performances did not deviate too far from the studio cut.

"Athena" was played sporadically on the 1982 tour, sometimes as an encore and other times in the regular set. The band hated playing the song and thought that their performance on it was not up to their standards, so they dropped it in the middle of the tour.

"A Man Is a Man" was also played sporadically on the same tour, and its last performance also came during the same concert with the last performance of "Athena".

"It's Hard" was played the entire 1982 tour and regularly featured a short full-band jam at its conclusion.

"Cooks County" was only played once, on 6 October 1982 at the Rosemont Horizon in Chicago, in place of "It's Hard". This was because the song was written by Townshend after seeing a television documentary on Chicago's Cook County Hospital.

"Eminence Front" was one of two songs (the other being "Cry If You Want") from this album to last until after the 1982 tour, and the only one to become a staple of the band's concerts. It was played in the tours of 1982, 1989, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009. A highlight of these live performances was the guitar solo before the lyrics came in, where Townshend would play the solo differently every night.

"Cry If You Want" was played in every 1982 concert except one. These performances featured Townshend playing an extended guitar solo as an outro. In 2006, Daltrey requested that it be brought back, and it was for the first leg of the tour. However, it did not stay in the set list for long, only lasting three concerts. Later, the band would start incorporating it into their jams of "My Generation", albeit in a shorter and jazzier form, where it has lasted until 2009.

2011 reissue[edit]

On December 24, 2011 the original mix of the album was reissued in Japan in a miniature replica of the original album art work. The album was remastered by Jon Astley for this reissue using Direct Stream Digital (DSD) to transfer the digital files and included the bonus tracks added to the CD release of the album. The release was a limited edition in the SHM-CD format. The reissue included a picture of the original vinyl label.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Pete Townshend except where noted. The 1997 digitally remastered reissue of It's Hard added four live tracks recorded on the last show of The Who's 1982 tour, on 17 December in Toronto.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Athena"   3:46
2. "It's Your Turn" (John Entwistle) 3:39
3. "Cooks County"   3:51
4. "It's Hard"   3:47
5. "Dangerous" (John Entwistle) 3:36
6. "Eminence Front"   5:39
Side two
No. Title Length
7. "I've Known No War"   5:56
8. "One Life's Enough"   2:22
9. "One at a Time" (John Entwistle) 3:20
10. "Why Did I Fall for That"   3:56
11. "A Man Is a Man"   3:56
12. "Cry If You Want"   5:18
1997 reissue bonus tracks
No. Title Length
13. "It's Hard"   4:56
14. "Eminence Front"   5:37
15. "Dangerous"   3:48
16. "Cry If You Want"   7:12

Personnel[edit]

The Who
Additional musicians
Production
Album artwork

Sales chart performance[edit]

Album
Chart (1982) Position
Billboard 200[5] 8
UK Albums Chart[4] 11
Singles
Single Chart (1982) Position
"Athena" Billboard Mainstream Rock[8] 3
The Billboard Hot 100[8] 28
UK Singles Chart[4] 40
"Cry If You Want" Billboard Mainstream Rock[8] 34
"Dangerous" Billboard Mainstream Rock[8] 38
"Eminence Front" Billboard Mainstream Rock[8] 5
"It's Hard" Billboard Mainstream Rock[8] 39
Single Chart (1983) Position
"Eminence Front" The Billboard Hot 100[8] 68

Sales certifications[edit]

Region Certification
United States (RIAA)[9] Gold

References[edit]

  1. ^ It's Hard at AllMusic
  2. ^ "CG: the who". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2012-02-25. 
  3. ^ Parke Puterbaugh (1982-09-30). "It's Hard | Album Reviews". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-02-25. 
  4. ^ a b c "ChartArchive - The Who". Archive.is. Retrieved 2013-10-26. 
  5. ^ a b "Artist Chart History – The Who". Allmusic. Retrieved 24 June 2008. 
  6. ^ http://www.thewho.net/linernotes/ItsHard.htm
  7. ^ a b "It's Hard | Album Reviews". Rolling Stone. 1982-09-30. Retrieved 2013-10-26. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g "Home". The Who. Retrieved 2013-10-26. 
  9. ^ "American album certifications – The Who – It's Hard". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]