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Guitar and Pen
See Me, Feel Me
A Legal Matter
A Word about Copyrights
History of The Who › 1980-1983
beginning of the year Pete was a mess, separated from his wife, living
it up in London, drinking heavily and acquiring a cocaine habit.
Nevertheless, he had one of his greatest triumphs with his solo album, Empty Glass, released April 4, 1980,
containing the hit "Let My Love Open The Door" that matched The Who's
highest U.S. success on the singles chart at #9. Just before that album
came out, he presented The Who with his demos for their next album, songs
that were as quirky and personal as the ones he had just recorded, only
to see them get a cool reception.
|Roger, who had continued with his acting
career, released the movie
McVicar that May as
part of Who Films. It
did not make much money and The Who decided to end their effort
as movie producers. Once again, a planned Lifehouse movie was
Dances, was launched March 6, 1981 to heavy publicity by
The Who's new record label Warner Brothers but tepid reviews
from the press. The band came to agree that the material did not
fit the Who.
It was during
the British Face Dances tour that Pete began to unravel. After
drinking four pints of brandy, he launched into a political rant during
The Who's February 4 show at the Rainbow Theatre. Roger began to believe
that if The Who continued touring, Pete would soon join Keith Moon in
happened in September when Pete, who had progressed from cocaine to
heroin, took one speedball too many at London's Club For Heroes and
nearly died. Work on his next solo album came to a halt.
|Stardom was also taking its toll on the
other members as well. John's marriage came to a bitter
conclusion after he began dating a Hollywood wardrobe set
designer while working on a solo album and Kenney's
marriage was collapsing as well.
in December, Pete's parents convinced him to seek help. He moved back in
with his wife and left for California for addiction treatment.
from California clean if a bit shaky to find The Who already rehearsing
and ready to record another album. Since he had been unable to write any
new songs for it, Pete asked the band to decide on the approach; what
were they concerned about/interested in now? The answer was the current
political climate, then in a buzz over the combination of the recent war
over the Falklands, riots in Brixton and President Reagan's decision to
place U.S. nuclear missiles in Europe.
Hard, the most political of The Who's albums, recorded
that June with producer Glyn Johns. Publicly the band was united
behind the album but privately Roger loathed the new songs and tried and
failed to get the album stopped. Released September 3, the new
LP got a rave review in Rolling Stone but was panned,
often viciously, by most other rock writers. Also flattened by
reviews was Pete's new solo album, All The Best Cowboys Have
Chinese Eyes released that June. From this point until the
mid-1990's, almost everything from The Who would receive rote
dismissal by the rock press.
|The Who started their new tour September
10 to stadium-filling sales but more cries of betrayal from the
rock press. Following the lead of The Rolling Stones who had
their 1981 tour sponsored by Jovan, The Who supplemented their
gate with commercial sponsorship by Schlitz Beer. Critics who
had long championed The Who turned on them for what they saw as
The Who selling-out their integrity and making a hypocritical choice
of sponsor right after Pete's revelation of his alcoholism and
drug addiction. Pete answered the band's critics roughly in
public statements but changed few minds.
between Pete and Roger were invisible on stage but were in full evidence
to reporters backstage as the two got into loud arguments or kept out of each other's way. One
thing they agreed on was that this would be The Who's last tour. John
and Kenney had no interest in stopping but their opinion was ignored as
publicity declared it to be "The Who's Farewell Tour." The run concluded
December 17 at the Toronto Maple Leaf Garden with a widely shown but
rather tired final performance.
contract with Warner Brothers still called for another studio album, so
Pete began composing new songs for a concept album to be called Siege,
but he quickly gave up, afraid of presenting the band with another
failing batch of songs.
|Meanwhile Pete and Roger got on with
their lives, Pete releasing a collection of his old demos as the
double-LP Scoop and getting his first day job as a book
editor for Faber & Faber Publishers. Roger worked on a new solo
album and took acting roles on the BBC in The Beggar's
Opera and The Comedy of Errors.
Pete gathered the band to break the news that he could no longer write
songs for The Who and he wanted out. Assuming he
would come around as he had done so often in the past, the other
members of The Who began looking for alternative composers, perhaps an
album with people like Bruce Springsteen writing for The Who?
serious, however, and went to Warner Brothers begging for a release from
The Who's contract. He got it and on December 16 held a press conference
to state he was out of the band and would have nothing further to do
with The Who. Roger, John and Kenney had no say in it and denounced