Pete Townshend - Who Came First

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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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Decca/Track Record


Album Overview

Who Came First is the debut album by Pete Townshend, released in 1972 on Track Records in the UK and Track/Decca in the US. It includes demos from the aborted concept album Lifehouse, part of which became Who's Next. The original release had a gatefold cover and included a poster with additional photos of Meher Baba from the Louis van Gasteren film Beyond Words. It peaked at number 30 on the UK album chart and at number 69 on the US Billboard 200.


1Pure And Easy5:25

Written-By: Pete Townshend


Written-By, Vocals, Guitar: Ronnie Lane

3Forever's No Time At All2:50

Performer [Everything Else]: Caleb Quaye
Vocals, Acoustic Guitar: Billy Nicholls
Written-By: Billy Nicholls
Written-By: Katie McInnerny

4Nothing Is Everything (Let's See Action)6:15

Written-By: Pete Townshend

5Time Is Passing3:25

Written-By: Pete Townshend

6There's A Heartache Following Me3:15

Written-By: Ray Baker

7Sheraton Gibson2:40

Written-By: Pete Townshend


Written-By: Maud Kennedy
Written-By: Pete Townshend


Written-By: Pete Townshend

Background and content

Townshend had already participated with other artists on two previous albums in tribute to his Avatar Meher Baba, Happy Birthday and I Am. These albums were privately distributed in very small quantities between 1970 and 1972 in the UK. Soon after Decca asked Townshend for release rights, as inferior copies were circulating in the US as bootlegs. Rather than re-issuing the original albums Townshend decided to change the track list substantially for his first "official" solo album.

The songs were recorded at Townshend's home studio, which was among the most advanced home studios in England at the time. Two songs each from the earlier albums appear on Who Came First, including the contributions by Ronnie Lane and Billy Nicholls, "Evolution" and "Forever's No Time at All". Townshend's "Content" had been issued on Happy Birthday and "Parvardigar" had appeared on I Am.

The demos "Pure and Easy" and "Let's See Action" had been recorded by The Who for Lifehouse, but were not used for Who's Next. Both versions by the Who would be released, "Let's See Action" as a single in 1971, making it to number 16 on the British singles chart, and "Pure and Easy" on Odds & Sods in 1974. "Evolution" by Lane is a reworking of the track "Stone" which had appeared on The Faces' debut album First Step in 1970. "There's a Heartache Following Me" had been a UK number 6 hit in 1964 by the American country singer Jim Reeves. Townshend does not appear on the Nicholls track, but does play guitar on the Lane track; he plays all other instruments on the remainder of the album. One dollar from each sale of the 1972 album went to charities.

Release history

Original UK copies were on Track Records, reissued by Polydor Records after Track ceased operations in 1978. The first US issue appeared on the silver Track/Decca label. In 1973 it was reissued in the US on the MCA Records black with rainbow label, but without the gatefold cover or the poster.

The first compact disc release by Rykodisc appeared in 1992 with six bonus tracks taken from the privately distributed albums, also issued in a limited edition deluxe version with extra artwork. A remastered edition appeared in 2006 on Hip-O Records, the legacy division of the Universal Music Group, with nine bonus tracks, the first six being the ones from the Rykodisc reissue. The Hip-O version includes all the Townshend performances issued on the Happy Birthday tribute album.


  • Pete Townshend – vocals, guitars, keyboards, bass guitar, drums, percussion, harmonica on "Day of Silence"
  • Ronnie Lane – vocals, guitar on "Evolution"
  • Billy Nicholls – vocals, guitar on "Forever's No Time at All"
  • Caleb Quaye – guitars, bass guitar, percussion on "Forever's No Time at All"


Design, Photography By [Cover]: Graham Hughes
Painting: Mike McInnerney
Recorded By, Engineer, Mixed By: Pete Townshend


Who Came First - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia : taken from -