Pete Townshend - Empty Glass

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Posted on Wed, 11/04/2015 - 2:40pm
by Ron Wallace

Member since: Sat, 01/24/2015

Release Type

Studio Album

Release Year


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ATCO Records


Album Overview

Empty Glass was released in 1980 as the first Pete Townshend solo album (Who Came First was a collection of demo recordings and Meher Baba-inspired songs, while Rough Mix was written and recorded with Ronnie Lane) and was his most successful.

The album deals with a plethora of issues that Townshend was struggling with, including alcoholism, drug abuse, marital problems and deceased friends.

Empty Glass also contained the devotional love song, "Let My Love Open the Door", which became a top ten hit single in the US, along with the other (modestly successful) singles, "Rough Boys" and "A Little Is Enough".

The album was rated No. 57 on Rolling Stone's list of 100 Greatest Albums of the 1980s. Gibson had a poll which rated the album at No. 5 for "The greatest albums released by an artist who was previously in a successful band".


1Rough Boys3:59

Arranged By [Horns]: Raphael Rudd

2I Am An Animal3:46
3And I Moved3:22
4Let My Love Open The Door2:42
5Jools And Jim2:35
6Keep On Working3:22
7Cat's In The Cupboard3:32
8A Little Is Enough3:32
9Empty Glass5:20
10Gonna Get Ya6:22


The origins of the album's title are described in the following quote from Townshend (taken from an interview with Murray Lerner on the film "The Who: Live at the Isle of Wight" Festival"):

"And when I did my first solo album, I called it Empty Glass, 'cause of this idea that when you go to the tavern – which is to God, you know – and you ask for His love – He's the bartender, you know – and He gives you a drink, and what you have to give Him is an empty glass. You know there's no point giving Him your heart if it's full already; there's no point going to God if your heart's full of Doris."

This concept was derived from the work of the Persian poet Hafez, which Townshend became interested in from his involvement with Avatar, Meher Baba.

The album was written and recorded between 1978 and 1980, when activity with The Who had started to pick up again, and Townshend found himself having to write for both his solo projects and his band.

As a result, Empty Glass, when compared with The Who's 1981 album Face Dances, was considered the superior album, with many critics calling it an album by The Who that never was.

Roger Daltrey later commented that he felt let down by Townshend, and that many of the songs from the album would have worked well for The Who, among them "Rough Boys" and "Empty Glass"; Townshend countered by saying that he felt "Rough Boys" was the one song Roger Daltrey would have wanted clarified (in terms of the song's homoerotic subtext) and toned down if he were to sing it, thus defeating its message, while "Empty Glass" had been recorded during sessions for Who Are You in 1978, with a version featuring Keith Moon on drums and John Entwistle on bass released on the 1996 reissue of that album. This version is notable for the more suicidal undertones in the lyrics that were changed in the final, solo version. The line "Killing each other, then we jump off the ledge" from the Who Are You sessions was changed to "Killing each other by driving a wedge".

Cover art

The sleeve was designed by photographer Bob Carlos Clarke. The album's title is an allusion to a poem by the Sufi poet Hafez.

The sleeve cover of the vinyl album (SD 33–100) includes this dedication:

This album is dedicated to my wife Karen.
"Rough Boys" is dedicated to my children Emma and Minta and to the Sex Pistols.

Non-album tracks

  1. "Classified" (Demo Recorded in 1970 Released as a B-side on several 1980 European single releases of "Let My Love Open the Door")
  2. "Greyhound Girl" (B-side to "Let My Love Open the Door" EP in Europe)
  3. "Let My Love Open the Door" (Alternative Mix from the 1996 UK CD Single)


  • Pete Townshend: vocals, guitars, synths
  • John "Rabbit" Bundrick: "straight" keyboards
  • Simon Phillips: drums (tracks: 2 to 4, 7, 9, 10)
  • James Asher: drums (tracks: 5, 6)
  • Kenney Jones: drums (track: 1)
  • Mark Brzezicki: drums (track: 8)
  • Tony Butler: bass guitar
  • Raphael Rudd: brass arrangements on "Rough Boys"
  • Peter Hope-Evans: harmonica on "Cat's in the Cupboard"


Design [Sleeve]: Bob Carlos Clarke
Engineer: Bill Price
Engineer [Additional]: Steve Nye
Graphics: Richard Evans
Management: Bill Curbishley
Management [Assistant]: Chris Chappel
Mastered By: Ted Jensen
Mastered By: Tim Young
Other [Models]: Lindsey And Julie
Producer: Chris Thomas
Written-By: Pete Townshend


Empty Glass - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia : taken from -