Personalities | The Who | Rock Gods (1971) | Key Events


Lifehouse Sessions

Lifehouse was to be a multi-media, multi-sensory experience that would meld fiction with live performance. Well, that was Pete Townshend’s intention at least. In December 1970 the press had announced that the band would embark on two film projects: Tommy and the provisionally titled Barrel One And Barrel Two, which later evolved into Lifehouse. In January a press conference was held at the Young Vic Theatre in London, at which Townshend began to outline his story and the interaction with live audiences at a series of experimental shows at the theatre. However, there were machinations going on behind his back of which he was blissfully unaware.


Entwistle’s Smash Your Head Against The Wall

Frustrated by the limitations for his own songs within the band, Entwistle became the first member to break ranks and release a solo album. Smash Your Head Against The Wall was recorded at the end of 1970, in between Lifehouse sessions and other gigs, but was not released until 14 May 1971. It was everything you would expect from a John Entwistle album – morbid, macabre and very humorous. The first of seven solo studio albums by Entwistle, it was not a critical success, but it laid the foundation for the four members to explore their own musical direction in the future.


Lifehouse Sessions Part 2

It’s fair to say that Townshend’s ideas for Lifehouse were way ahead of their time. Visions of ‘The Grid’ and ‘Experience Suits’ were pretty accurate predictions of the Internet and virtual reality – but this was 1971 and the technology wasn’t as advanced as Pete’s imagination. No one other than Townshend seemed to fully grasp the ideas. The Young Vic sessions proved unsatisfactory. Kit Lambert had also been trying to sell a Tommy script without Townshend’s knowledge, causing a huge rift between the two. Frustrated and depressed, Townshend lost interest and the group reassembled in the studio in May to pick at the bones of the fledgling project.


‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’

The band started to record Lifehouse in New York in March. Lambert, though, struggled to mix the tracks back in London, and Glyn Johns, who had assisted Shel Talmy years earlier, was recruited to help. He suggested starting over and in April ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ was recorded at Stargroves mobile studio, with additional work done at Olympic and Island studios. The track would eventually close the resultant album, Who’s Next, running at over eight minutes, but an edited version was released as a single in June and reached No. 9 in the UK charts. In the US the label read ‘From the motion picture Lifehouse’.


Daltrey’s Second Marriage

On 19 July 1971 Roger married his long-term girlfriend Heather Taylor, an American model he had met whilst on tour in 1968. The quiet wedding took place near their East Sussex home at Battle Registry Office and was officiated over by the improbably named registrar Daisy Field. This...

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