Parting Should Be Painless

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Parting Should Be Painless
Studio album by Roger Daltrey
Released February 1984
Genre Rock, new wave, soft rock, art rock, synthpop
Length 40:03
Label Atlantic – 7 80128-1
WEA 25-0298-1
Producer Mike Thorne, "Spike"
Roger Daltrey chronology
Best Bits
(1982)
Parting Should Be Painless
(1984)
Under a Raging Moon
(1985)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2/5 stars link
The Wall Street Journal (negative)
Record (negative)

Parting Should Be Painless is the fifth studio album by the English musician Roger Daltrey. The album was originally released in early 1984 on the labels Atlantic, in the United States, and on WEA in Germany, and Japan. The album was Daltrey's first solo album since the first breakup of The Who, and the first by any member of the band. "Walking in My Sleep", "Parting Would Be Painless", and "Would A Stranger Do" were all released as singles. Two of those singles failed to chart, while "Walking in My Sleep" was a success, peaking at #4 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.

On release, the album was received negatively by the majority of music critics. It was Daltrey's poorest selling studio album up to that point, peaking at #102 on the US Billboard chart, however it did make the Top 60 in the Netherlands, peaking at #45 on the MegaCharts. The album was produced by Mike Thorne, with the executive producer listed under the pseudonym "Spike". This is presumably the same female whom was credited as the executive producer of Pete Townshend's compilation album Scoop, later revealed to be Helen Wilkins. The album was re-released as a limited edition audio CD on 12 October 2004, by Wounded Bird Records, but it vanished from the market almost as quickly as it was issued, becoming something of a rarity and by 2014 copies in very good condition were trading for £250.[1][2]

The album was a concerted effort on Daltrey's part to vent his frustrations in the wake of The Who's breakup by assembling a set of roughly autobiographical songs. These include a track contributed by the Eurythmics ("Somebody Told Me") and one contributed by Bryan Ferry ("Going Strong"). The album also features contributions from Norman Watt-Roy, and Mick Gallagher whom were both members of Ian Dury and the Blockheads. It also features contributions from the critically acclaimed saxophonist Michael Brecker, and from two prolific session musicians Chris Spedding, and Allan Schwartzberg.

Production and recording[edit]

Musically, says Daltrey, the album covers areas he had wanted The Who to pursue. "Pete [Townshend] and I both said The Who was an alternative to heavy metal, but toward the end, John [Entwistle] got more into that and Pete [Townshend] and I further away from it. Because we were compromising so much, we ended up just settling into what we knew how to do best. It bored me to tears, and I know it bored Pete [Townshend] to tears, too."[3]

Composition[edit]

The track Parting Would Be Painless was one of two tracks written by the former Marshall Hain bass guitarist, Kit Hain, whose songs were written for or covered by many artists. Daltrey had reached out to famous friends for writing contributions, and this time, the list included former Roxy Music lead vocalist, Bryan Ferry ("Going Strong"), Eurythmics co-founders Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart ("Somebody Told Me"), and ex-Ian Gillan keyboardist Colin Towns ("How Does the Cold Wind Cry"), as well as successful professional songwriters Nicky Chinn and Simon Climie.

The track "Going Strong" written by Bryan Ferry is noted on the original LP's lyric sheet as being copyrighted in 1981. This suggests it was a possible out-take from the classic chart-topping Roxy Music album Avalon, or that the track was a possible b-side for the chart-topping single "Jealous Guy".

"I'm not a songwriter, but within this album I tried to get songs that — the majority of the songs, anyway — sum up my feelings in the last year," he explained during an appearance on Good Morning America. "Parting Would Be Painless" is a song that refers to the demise of The Who."[4]

Critical reception[edit]

Writing for AllMusic, critic William Ruhlmann said that the album "contains some interesting tracks, including Bryan Ferry's "Going Strong," which gives you an idea what Roxy Music would sound like if Daltrey was its lead singer", but "for the most part, it consists of mediocre material indifferently sung."[5] Writing for The Wall Street Journal, critic Pam Lambert described the album as "bland". And Wayne King in Record called it disappointing and wondered how much Daltrey wanted to have a solo career.[6]

Track listing[edit]

The original US album track listing is as follows:

Side One
No. Title Length
1. "Walking in My Sleep" (Jack Green, Leslie Adey) 3:28
2. "Parting Should Be Painless" (Kit Hain) 3:41
3. "Is There Anybody Out There?" (Nicky Chinn, Steve Glen) 4:17
4. "Would a Stranger Do?" (Steve Andrews, Simon Climie) 3:33
5. "Going Strong" (Bryan Ferry) 5:08
Side Two
No. Title Length
1. "Looking for You" (Kit Hain) 3:20
2. "Somebody Told Me" (Annie Lennox, Dave Stewart) 3:07
3. "One Day" (Gerald Milne) 3:10
4. "How Does the Cold Wind Cry" (Colin Towns) 3:46
5. "Don't Wait on the Stairs" (Steve Swindells) 6:33[7]

Non-album tracks[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "Gimme Some Lovin'" (Steve Winwood, Spencer Davis, Muff Winwood) 3:45
2. "I Won't Be the One to Say Goodbye" (Billy Nicholls) 3:19

Personnel[edit]

A promotional poster for the album.
Engineering

Sales chart performance[edit]

Album
Year Chart Position
1984 Billboard Charts (US) 102
1984 Netherlands charts (NLD)[8] 45
Singles
Year Single Chart Position
1984 "Walking in My Sleep" NME Charts (UK) 56
Billboard Charts (US) 62
Mainstream Rock Charts (US) 4
MegaCharts (NZ) 40
Ö3 Austria Top 40 Charts (AU) 19

See also[edit]

References[edit]