Monday, February 13, 2012

Pete Townsend- Lifehouse Demos

I've been a little under the weather the last little while, so later in the day when I write these posts my brain has been mush and I've resorted to watching videos on YouTube and episodes of New Girl I've downloaded. Feeling a bit better today, so I'll try to squeeze out another post.

Yesterday, I did manage to get outside to ice skate at the Forks (popular Winnipeg tourist spot) or more specifically on the river. It was a sunny beautiful day, a good excuse to get out and get some exercise and keep my mind off my runny nose. After a skate and a hot beverage I browsed through the Antique mall in the Johnson Terminal at the Forks looking for anything interesting. Of course, I get drawn to the records and flipped through the usual amount of popular crap (Wham!, Prism, Bee Gees etc...) most often seen at garage sales, but a few caught my eye, a number of Who records. A couple of the bad ones (It's Hard and Face Dances), as well as A Quick One, Who's Next and Pete Townsend's, Who Came First. I have all the Who records in one form or another, but I had a genuine interest to get the original vinyl versions of A Quick One and Who Came First, but the collector's pricing of $25 and $40 dampened my interest. When I got home I put on Who's Next and thought what an amazing record, which leads me to...

The Who's 1971 release, Who's Next is probably the bands most commercial and critical success and was arguably the high point in their career. The album was originally conceived as a rock opera by Pete Townsend called Lifehouse. Townsend wrote and arranged about 20 tracks for the Lifehouse project as all the instruments (played by Pete) were overdubbed for a full band effect. All the demos were recorded before the band even heard the songs and he basically had enough material for a double album with the quality of the "demos" incredible. Townsend intended the project to be a futuristic rock opera, live recorded concept album and as the music for a scripted film project. Instead, the project was abandoned, but many of the songs written for the project were re-recorded by the band and compiled on Who's Next as a collection of unrelated songs. A couple tracks also ended up on Pete's solo record, Who Came First, the next year.

In 2000, Townsend did finally release the Lifehouse Chronicles a sprawling 6 CD box set that captured not some, but all of the recording from the Lifehouse project. The set includes the demos, themes and experiments, arrangements and orchestrations, and a 2 CD radio play. This set is a lot to take in and might be too much detail for the casual fan, but the demos are an interesting listen especially if you're a Who fan (or not), as these versions of the Who classics stand up on their own. Judge for yourself.

The Lifehouse Demos 1

Teenage Wasteland
Goin’ Mobile
Baba O’Riley
Time Is Passing
Love Ain’t For Keeping
Too Much Of Anything
Music Must Change
Greyhound Girl
Behind Blue Eyes
Baba O’Riley (Instrumental)
Sister Disco

The Lifehouse Demos 2

I Don’t Know Myself
Put The Money Down
Pure And Easy
Getting In Tune
Let’s See Action
Slip Kid
Who Are You
Join Together
Won’t Get Fooled Again
Song Is Over

PETE TOWNSEND- Lifehouse Demos 1. rar
PETE TOWNSEND- Lifehouse Demos 2. rar


James said...

As strange as it may sound, particularly as I own a LOT of music, I haven't listened to the Who much. But Lifehouse has intrigued me for ages, so thank you very much! I suppose it's the fascination of the 'unfinished masterpiece', as with SMiLE, Get Back etc. Anyway, this is very much appreciated!

bglobe313 said...


Anyone even remotely thinking of checking this out SHOULD. You will be amazed at the greatness of these demos.

AND, I can say that having been checking out the Lighthouse project since first finding the VINYL bootleg "The Genius of Pete Townsend", I find this the best quality I have ever heard.

Great stuff. (Even if I can't quite figure out the Lifehouse storyline!)


zappahead said...

Thanks for this excellent share...very much appreciated....definatley the work of a genius....excellent sound....cheers.

Anonymous said...

Hi, thank you very much for the post.
Do you think we can fin the 4 other CDs?

binky said...

The complete Lifehouse Chronicles: read here

Download here:

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