New from The Who: Stream the Retrospective ‘I Don’t Wanna Get Wise,’ from the New Album Out 12/6

Rock Cellar Magazine StaffCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

The Who had to push back the release of its new album, Who, a couple weeks. It was originally going to be released today, Nov. 22, but it now has a street date of Dec. 6.

Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey are still looking out for you, though — and that’s why a new song, “I Don’t Wanna Get Wise,” was premiered on Friday as another preview of the new record. Billed by the band as “the most retrospective song” from the new record, it can be heard below:

Townshend explained the song’s origin in a statement:

“I wrote this in a mid-‘70s style, like a song from an album like ‘WHO BY NUMBERS’. Warning: don’t get old. You might get wise.”

“I Don’t Wanna Get Wise” follows recent singles “All This Music Must Fade”:

And “Ball and Chain”:

As previews of the new record. The three tracks, coincidentally, kick off the album in 1-2-3 fashion:

  1. ‘All This Music Must Fade”
  2. “Ball and Chain”
  3. “I Don’t Wanna Get Wise”
  4. “Detour”
  5. “Beads On One String”
  6. “Hero Ground Zero”
  7. “Street Song”
  8. “I’ll Be Back”
  9. “Break The Newse”
  10. “Rockin’ In Rage”
  11. “She Rocked My World”

The Who also detailed some bonus tracks that will be included in Deluxe editions of the new album. This list includes two songs — “This Gun Will Misfire” and “Danny & His Ponies” — featuring Townshend on lead vocals.

While two others — “Got Nothing To Prove” and “Sand” — which were thought to “lost” after initial recording sessions in the 1960s.

Of these tracks, Pete Townshend recalls “Both these songs are from the Summer of 1966; they would not have been rejected by the band members but rather by my then creative mentor, Who manager Kit Lambert. In 1967, when the song seemed destined for the bottom drawer, I did offer ‘Got Nothing To Prove’ to Jimmy James and the Vagabonds who used to support us at The Marquee in 1965. I remember playing him the demo at my house in Twickenham. They were still managed by Peter Meaden who had been so influential on me in particular in the short period he was our PR man in late 1964. Jimmy liked the song, and suggested making it more R&B, in a slower tempo, but nothing happened. I have a feeling Kit may have felt the song sounded as though it was sung by an older and more self-satisfied man than I was in real life. That would have applied to Roger too I suppose. Now, it works. Back then, perhaps it didn’t. Dave Sardy and I decided to ask George Fenton to do a “Swinging Sixties” band arrangement to make the song more interesting, but also to place it firmly in an Austin Powers fantasy. I love it”

As for “Sand”:

’Sand’ came from the same period. This is a simple idea, about a sunny beach vacation romance that doesn’t last once the lovers get back home to the rain. Again, Kit passed on this, even as an album track, and it simply got filed away. I have always loved it, but have been waiting for computers to get smart enough to fix some of the tape stretch problems that had affected the demo. I also revived this in my home studio by doing roughly what I felt the Who would have done had this ever been recorded by them. So there is added backing vocals, Rickenbacker, and acoustic 12 string, and a feedback section to properly evoke the era. These probably really belong on one of my Scoop albums, but I did present them to our A&R man Richard O’Donovan who felt, and I agree, that these two tracks remind new Who fans of the lo-fi method that all Who songs came from in the early years, and the sheer joy I experienced of being a One-Man band in my home studio, long before such things were common. This is Who history after all, and it doesn’t all belong to Obsessive Collectors.”

Said Roger Daltrey of the new album in a quote provided in a news release:

“I think we’ve made our best album since Quadrophenia in 1973, Pete hasn’t lost it, he’s still a fabulous songwriter, and he’s still got that cutting edge”.

Drummer Zak Starkey, who’s taken part in the Who’s magnificent Moving On! orchestral tour and was part of the recording sessions for the new record, raved about his experience working on the music in our recent interview:

The album doesn’t sound like any previous Who albums, it has the vibe of a 2019 Who album. But it doesn’t sound old, it sounds brand new and super fresh.

In addition to all this news of the new album, the Who also rrecently announced rescheduled dates for the recent tour, which had been postponed when Daltrey was battling illness. The new shows slated for Spring 2020:

April 27 / American Airlines Center / Dallas, TX
April 30 / Toyota Center / Houston, TX
May 2 / Pepsi Center / Denver, CO

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