Pete Townshend - Lifehouse Chronicles

You are here

Posted on Fri, 11/06/2015 - 1:21am
by Ron Wallace

Member since: Sat, 01/24/2015

Release Type


Release Year


Rate this release

Total votes: 83


Eel Pie


Album Overview

Lifehouse Chronicles is a box set released in 2000 by Pete Townshend with the focus on the box being the formerly "abandoned" Lifehouse rock opera. The set contains song demos by Pete Townshend; including solo versions of "Baba O'Riley", "Won't Get Fooled Again", and "Who Are You", and the Lifehouse Radio Program. The box set release was followed by two Sadler's Wells Lifehouse concerts and the release of a live CD and video/DVD called respectively Pete Townshend Live: Sadler's Wells 2000 and Pete Townshend – Music from Lifehouse.


1-1Teenage Wasteland
1-2Goin' Mobile
1-3Baba O'Riley
1-4Time Is Passing
1-5Love Ain't For Keeping
1-7Too Much Of Anything
1-8Music Must Change
1-9Greyhound Girl
1-11Behind Blue Eyes
1-12Baba O'Riley
1-13Sister Disco
2-1I Don't Know Myself
2-2Put The Money Down
2-3Pure And Easy
2-4Getting In Tune
2-5Let's See Action (Nothing Is Everything)
2-6Slip Kid
2-8Who Are You
2-9Join Together
2-10Won't Get Fooled Again
2-11The Song Is Over
3-1Baba M1 (2nd Movement)
3-2Who Are You
3-3Behind Blue Eyes
3-4Baba M2
3-5Pure And Easy
3-6Vivaldi (M5)
3-7Who Are You
3-8Hinterland Rag
3-9Pure And Easy
3-10Can You Help The One You Really Love
3-11Won't Get Fooled Again
4-1Townshend: One Note - Prologue
4-2Purcell: Fantasia Upon One Note (Quick Movement)
4-3Townshend: Baba O'Riley
4-4Scarlatti: Sonata K: 212
4-5Townshend: Tragedy
4-6Corette: No. 4 Aria
4-7Corette: No. 2 Giga
4-8Corette: No. 6 In D Minor
4-9Corette: No. 3 Adagio And Allegro
4-10Townshend: Hinterland Rag
4-11Scarlatti: Sonata K: 213
4-12Purcell: The Gordion Knot Untied
4-16Rondeau Minuet
4-22Overture (Reprise)
4-23Townshend: Tragedy Explained
4-24Townshend: One Note - Epilogue
4-25Purcell: Fantasia Upon One Note
5-1Lifehouse Radio Play
6-1Lifehouse Radio Play

Lifehouse: the concept

The set collects songs and other compositions relating to Lifehouse, a musical concept developed by Townshend in 1970 as a followup to The Who's highly successful rock opera, Tommy. Rooted heavily in the teachings of Townshend's spiritual mentor Meher Baba as well as in science fiction literature, Lifehouse was meant to explore the idea that music is the fundamental basis of all life – that every human being on Earth has a unique musical melody that "describes" them, and only them, perfectly. When the unique songs of enough people are played in unison, the result would be a single harmonic note – the One Note – akin to the quintessence sought by ancient alchemists. Lifehouse was to be a true multimedia project: a double LP rock opera, a motion picture, and an interactive concert experience.

The story was to take place in 21st century Britain, in an age where pollution has become such a drastic problem that most people never set foot outdoors in their life. This populace spends most of their time in "experience suits". These suits provide the people with artificial lives superior to any they could eke out in the real world, yet devoid somehow of spiritual fulfilment. One discontented soul, known only as "The Hacker", rediscovers 20th century rock and roll music, and breaks into the computer network controlling the suits to invite people to leave their suits and come together for a concert. Despite the best efforts of the fascist government, thousands of people gather at the Hacker's concert, with millions more watching through their suits, as the musicians and audience perform experimental songs like those described above. Just as the police storm in and shoot the Hacker, the audience and band manage simultaneously to produce the perfect universal tone, The One Note, and everyone participating in and watching the concert simply vanishes, presumably having departed for a higher plane of existence. The story is seen through the eyes of a middle-aged farmer named Ray, a farmer from a remote unpolluted corner of Scotland, who travels south looking for his daughter who has run away to the concert.

Lifehouse: 1970–1971

In September 1970, Townshend penned a song called "Pure and Easy", about the One Note, the first song written specifically for Lifehouse. In the following two months he wrote approximately 20 additional songs, recording intricate home demos of each. Rather than attempting to tell the story through the lyrics, as he had done with Tommy, the songs were stand-alone pieces, meant to be elucidated by the movie and detailed sleeve notes to be included with the album. Most of those songs were recorded by the Who in two sessions in the winter of 1970/1971, as well as several "rehearsals" accompanied by guitarist Leslie West of the band Mountain and an impromptu live concert at the Young Vic Theatre in London in April 1971.

While Townshend had high hopes for the project, others were sceptical. Universal Studios, which had recently inked a two-film deal with the Who for the rights to a film version of Tommy, was not impressed by the screenplay Townshend offered them. A series of spontaneous concerts the Who had held in London failed to produce usable material, and it soon became apparent that the project was doomed to failure. Though many of the songs written for Lifehouse came to be released on the Who album Who's NextLifehouse was to remain unfinished for nearly thirty years.

Lifehouse: 1971–1998

Townshend never abandoned hope that Lifehouse might someday become a reality. He continued to write songs for the project throughout the '70s, and in 1980 worked together with bandmate John Entwistle to produce a new screenplay with a new story. Negotiations to produce this film, however, fell apart when Townshend found himself infatuated with the wife of the film's director (a story recounted in the song "Athena", to be found on the Who album It's Hard).

It was not until 1992 that Townshend again began work on the project. In that year, Townshend recorded the solo album "Psychoderelict", a semi-biographical story told in the style of a radio play. The hero of this piece, like Townshend, is an ageing rock star labouring tirelessly on a 20-year-old rock opera, called "Gridlife Chronicles" in the story, who finds himself embroiled in a sex scandal that jeopardises the future of the project. Several of the synthesizer pieces Townshend recorded in 1970 make their first official appearance on this album.

In 1998, Townshend's dream of bringing Lifehouse to a wide audience finally came true, when BBC Radio approached him with the idea of developing a radio play based on Lifehouse and incorporating the original music written for the project. The play, just under two hours in length, was transmitted on BBC Radio 3 on 5 December 1999.

The box set

Following the broadcast of the play, Townshend assembled and released the Lifehouse Chronicles box set in 2000 as a formal culmination of his work on the project. The set, made available exclusively through his website and at concerts, consists of six CDs. The first two CDs collect the original demos he recorded of the Lifehouse songs, several of which were never recorded by The Who. The third disc consists of several of Townshend's experimental synthesizer pieces, live recordings of Lifehouse songs, and new studio recordings of those songs produced especially for the set. The fourth disc features classical music by the London Chamber Orchestra which was used in the radio play, featuring compositions by Townshend as well as selections by Baroque composers Henry Purcell, Domenico Scarlatti and Michel Corrette. The fifth and sixth discs contain the radio play itself. Included with the set is a booklet featuring an introduction by Townshend, a history of the project written by Townshend webmaster/publicist Matt Kent [1], lyrics for most of the Lifehouse songs, and a script of the play. Townshend stated in his introduction that he eventually hoped to release an expanded version of the set, to be titled "The Lifehouse Method", which would include software for producing a synthesizer track based on the user's vital statistics. Instead, The Lifehouse Method debuted in early 2007 as a website. After generating some 10,000 new pieces of music for users, the project closed. Graphic design was by Laurence Sutherland.



Lifehouse Chronicles - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia : taken from -