Who Came First

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Who Came First
Studio album by Pete Townshend
Released October 1972
Recorded Eel Pie Sound, London, England
Genre Rock
Length 38:04
Label Track/Polydor (UK)
Track/Decca/MCA (US)
Producer Pete Townshend
Pete Townshend chronology
I Am
(1972)
Who Came First
(1972)
With Love
(1976)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]

Who Came First is the first major-label solo album by Pete Townshend, released in 1972 on Track Records in the UK and Track/Decca in the US. It includes demos from the aborted concept album Lifehouse, part of which became Who's Next. The original release had a gatefold cover and included a poster with additional photos of Meher Baba from the Louis van Gasteren film Beyond Words. It peaked at number 30 on the UK album chart and at number 69 on the US Billboard 200.[2]

Background and content[edit]

Townshend had already participated with other artists on two previous albums in tribute to his Avatar Meher Baba, Happy Birthday and I Am. These albums were privately distributed in very small quantities between 1970 and 1972 in the UK. Soon after Decca asked Townshend for release rights, as inferior copies were circulating in the US as bootlegs. Rather than re-issuing the original albums Townshend decided to change the track list substantially for his first "official" solo album.

The songs were recorded at Townshend's home studio, which was among the most advanced home studios in England at the time. Two songs each from the earlier albums appear on Who Came First, including the contributions by Ronnie Lane and Billy Nicholls, "Evolution" and "Forever's No Time at All". Townshend's "Content" had been issued on Happy Birthday and "Parvardigar" had appeared on I Am.

The demos "Pure and Easy" and "Let's See Action" had been recorded by The Who for Lifehouse, but were not used for Who's Next. Both versions by the Who would be released, "Let's See Action" as a single in 1971, making it to number 16 on the British singles chart, and "Pure and Easy" on Odds & Sods in 1974. "Evolution" by Lane is a reworking of the track "Stone" which had appeared on The Faces' debut album First Step in 1970. "There's a Heartache Following Me" had been a UK number 6 hit in 1964 by the American country singer Jim Reeves. Townshend does not appear on the Nicholls track, but does play guitar on the Lane track; he plays all other instruments on the remainder of the album. One dollar from each sale of the 1972 album went to charities.[citation needed]

Release history[edit]

Original UK copies were on Track Records, reissued by Polydor Records after Track ceased operations in 1978. The first US issue appeared on the silver Track/Decca label. In 1973 it was reissued in the US on the MCA Records black with rainbow label, but without the gatefold cover or the poster.

The first compact disc release by Rykodisc appeared in 1992 with six bonus tracks taken from the privately distributed albums, also issued in a limited edition deluxe version with extra artwork. A remastered edition appeared in 2006 on Hip-O Records, the legacy division of the Universal Music Group, with nine bonus tracks, the first six being the ones from the Rykodisc reissue. The Hip-O version includes all the Townshend performances issued on the Happy Birthday tribute album.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Pete Townshend, except where noted.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Pure and Easy"   5:32
2. "Evolution" (Ronnie Lane) 3:44
3. "Forever's No Time at All" (Billy Nicholls, Katie Mclnnerney) 3:06
4. "(Nothing is Everything) Let's See Action"   6:25
Side two
No. Title Length
5. "Time is Passing"   3:27
6. "There's a Heartache Following Me" (Ray Baker) 3:23
7. "Sheraton Gibson"   2:37
8. "Content" (Maud Kennedy, Townshend) 2:58
9. "Parvardigar" (Meher Baba, Townshend) 6:46

Personnel[edit]

  • Pete Townshend – vocals, guitars, keyboards, bass guitar, drums, percussion, harmonica on "Day of Silence"
  • Ronnie Lane – vocals, guitar on "Evolution"
  • Billy Nicholls – vocals, guitar on "Forever's No Time at All"
  • Caleb Quaye – guitars, bass guitar, percussion on "Forever's No Time at All"

External links[edit]

References[edit]