Who Came First

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Who Came First
Who Came First.jpg
Studio album by Pete Townshend
Released October 1972
Recorded 1969-72
Studio 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)I Am1972
Who Came First
With Love
(1976)With Love1976
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]

Who Came First is the debut 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 guru 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. Three of Townshend's demos for Lifehouse were selected, along with two songs each from the earlier tribute albums and two additional songs.

The Lifehouse demos included are "Pure and Easy" (edited from its original length of 8:35), "Let's See Action", and "Time Is Passing" (with minor overdubs). Of these, only "Let's See Action" had seen prior release; the Who's version was released as a single in 1971. (The Who's versions of the remaining two Lifehouse songs were eventually released on Odds & Sods and on reissued versions of Who's Next.[3][4] All of Townshend's Lifehouse demos were eventually released on Lifehouse Chronicles in 2000.)

From the tribute album Happy Birthday came Townshend's "Content" and Ronnie Lane's "Evolution". The latter is a reworking of the track "Stone" which had appeared on The Faces' debut album First Step in 1970; the Happy Birthday version was over six minutes long and was edited to 3:36. From the follow-up tribute album I Am, Billy Nicholls' "Forever's No Time at All" and Townshend's "Parvardigar" were selected; the latter's lyrics are adapted from Meher Baba's "Universal Prayer". The track list was rounded out with Townshend's composition "Sheraton Gibson" and his cover of "Heartache", a.k.a. "There's a Heartache Following Me", which had been a UK number 6 hit in 1964 by the American country singer Jim Reeves, and was a favorite of Meher Baba, according to Townshend's notes on the album's back cover.

The songs were recorded at Townshend's home studio, which was among the most advanced home studios in England at the time. 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 Writer(s) 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 Writer(s) 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


  • 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]


  1. ^ Who Came First at AllMusic
  2. ^ UK Chart Stats
  3. ^ Who's Next, TheWho.com, retrieved June 18, 2016 
  4. ^ Atkins, John (February 1, 2000), The Who on Record: A Critical History, 1963-1998, McFarland & Company, retrieved June 18, 2016