Tuesday, July 18, 2023

The Who to release expanded edition of Who’s Next and Life House

The Who will release a Super Deluxe Edition of “Who’s Next/Life House” on September 15.

The expanded package presents the suite of songs by The Who on which, more than half a century ago, Pete Townshend foresaw the invention of the internet, of virtual reality and pandemic-style lockdown, is to be heard as he intended for the first time.

The set – which offers 155 tracks, of which 89 are previously-unreleased and 57 feature fresh remixes – will present the long-sought, complete picture of Townshend's vision of songs that are featured, in their many stages of development, from the abandoned, audacious “Life House” project, started In 1969 as a follow-up to The Who's epic “Tommy”, and from the undisputed rock classic of 1971 that it evolved into, “Who's Next.”

In his introduction to the new editions, Townshend describes “Life House” as “a portentous polemic about the coming of a nation beaten down by climate issues and pollution.” He then explains how “an opportunist and autocratic government enforce a national lock-down in which every person is hooked up to an entertainment grid.” Music itself then becomes an inconvenient diversion, “a very real distraction to the subjugation of the population in suits,” with fascinating consequences. Songs that depicted a dystopian world in which faceless corporations control our lives may have been fiction at the time, but they have come to be more like documentary.

The unfulfilled project, which Townshend conceived as one part film script and one part blueprint for a live musical experiment, brought him to the edge of a breakdown. But, as he writes, “some wonderful music came from the project, and the idea has always held me in thrall, partly because so many of the strands of the fiction seem to be coming true.”

Listeners will hear, for the first time, how that concept folded into “Who's Next”, widely regarded as not only one of the greatest albums in the band's catalogue, but a seminal moment in music history.

The Super Deluxe edition of "Who’s Next/Life House" will contain 10 CDs, all remastered from the original tapes by longtime Who engineer Jon Astley, plus a Blu-ray Audio disc with newly-created Atmos & 5.1 surround mixes of Who's Next and 14 bonus tracks by in-demand artist and producer Steven Wilson.

The box set also contains a 100-page hardback book, a graphic novel, posters and programs from various shows from the era, a collectible four pin button set, and an 8” x 10” colour photo of The Who with printed autographs.

The album will also be available as limited edition 4-LP and 3-LP sets, featuring, respectively, the first-ever complete release of the San Francisco concert from 1971 and vinyl replicas of Townshend’s original “Life House.” The original “Who’s Next” album will also be available as a 1-LP half-speed remaster completed at Abbey Road Studios, and in other exclusive single vinyl versions.

This past spring, the iconic UK band released “The Who With Orchestra Live At Wembley”, which captures a 2019 show at the famed London stadium that also marked their first headline performance there in 40 years.

Get your copy of the new live album here and pick up “The Who Hits 50” package here.

See also:

The Who stream Live At Wembley with Orchestra album
The Who stream Live At Wembley performance of Eminence Front
The Who stream Baba O’Riley from Live At Wembley
The Who announce UK tour dates
Search The Who at hennemusic