Updated Aug. 10, 2023

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January 1984

New music releases: 1984 - Van Halen; Footloose: Original Soundtrack of the Paramount Motion Picture - Various Artists; "Time After Time" - Cyndi Lauper; Roll On - Alabama

On the 3rd, The Sun reports that Pete is working on an album with his brother Simon.

Rolling Stone carries the news of last month's announcement by Pete that he was ending The Who under the headline: "Townshend to Who: drop dead."

Roger Daltrey Jan 1984
Photo: Wally Fong

Roger is the guest of honor at a press dinner given by U.S. Public Television in Los Angeles early in the month. On the 10th, he has publicity photos taken for his forthcoming solo album.

John is chosen to contribute to a BBC series giving advice to up-and-coming musicians about how to play bass guitar.

John Lindsay announces he is going to make a dramatic film of the life of Kit Lambert called "Hope I Die Before I Get Old" at a cost of $7.5 million. Hywel Bennet is chosen to play Kit. It is never made.

Pete is nominated for a Grammy award for Best Rock Instrumental for "Unused Piano from Quadrophenia" from his album Scoop.

Pete: "Through the philanthropist David Astor, I met Donald Woods, who had written a book about Steven Biko, one of the founders of the ANC in South Africa. Woods was indirectly fundraising to release Nelson Mandela from prison, and I told him I would do whatever I could to help." It is the beginning of an interest in the anti-apartheid movement that will be reflected in his album White City and song "After The Fire".

February 1984

New music releases: Into The Gap - The Thompson Twins; Out of the Cellar - Ratt; "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" - Phil Collins; "Let's Hear It for the Boy" - Deniece Williams

On the 4th, Music Week reports that Zak Starkey recently went to Midem in Cannes promoting an album of Eddie Hardin's musical adaptation of "The Wind and the Willows" which featured Zak as both co-producer and drummer. The album also reportedly had John Entwistle on bass. This album has not been released except as a later live recording in 1991 without John. This is the first known collaboration between Zak and a member of The Who.

On the 8th, Roger appears on the ITV music programme Razzamatazz.

Walking In My Sleep UK ad

On the 10th, Roger's solo single "Walking In My Sleep" backed with "Somebody Told Me" from the album Parting Should Be Painless is released in the U.K. In Britain it peaks at #56 and in the U.S. reaches #62 in Billboard and #73 in Cash Box. The 12" single also includes a cover of "Gimme Some Lovin'".

On the 19th, Roger appears on the LWT talk show Sunday Sunday.

On the 20th, Roger guests on The Leo Sayer Show and they duet on the song Leo originally gave to Roger for his 1973 album Daltrey, "Giving It All Away".

On the 25th, Roger appears on the BBC1 children's show Saturday Superstore and on the 26th on BBC1's magazine show Pebble Mill. Also during the month, Roger is a guest via satellite on ABC-TV's Good Morning America.

March 1984

New music releases: Heartbeat City - The Cars; Love At First Sting - The Scorpions; Human Lib - Howard Jones; Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 - The Isley Brothers
Parting Should Be Painless

On the 9th, Roger's first solo album for WEA Records, Parting Should Be Painless, is released in the U.K. The title, based on a similar song title on the album, seems to be a comment on Pete's recent departure from The Who. The contents, which show Roger going in a "new wave" direction, do little to please the critics. Wayne King in Record calls it disappointing while Colin Irwin in Melody Maker says it has all the "zest of caterpillar." The album does not make the charts.

Pete records the demo of "The Shout" at his home in Twickenham. The song later appears on Another Scoop.

Great White 1984 LP

Great White releases their self-titled second album featuring a heavy-metal cover of "Substitute."

On the 17th, Parting Should Be Painless, enters the U.S. charts where it peaks at #102. Pam Lambert in The Wall Street Journal describes it as "bland" while Wayne King in Record calls it disappointing and wonders how much Roger wants to have a solo career.

David Gilmour About Face

On the same date, David Gilmour of Pink Floyd has his solo album About Face hit the British charts. Two tracks on the album, "Love On The Air" and "All Lovers Are Deranged," are credited as Townshend-Gilmour. Pete had promised David that he would help him with lyrics he couldn't complete. David sent him the two songs above as backing tracks and Pete sent them back with lyrics to fit. "White City Fighting," which will end up as the centerpiece for Pete's White City, was turned down for the album.

On the 27th, Pete accompanies T.S. Eliot's widow Valerie to the opening night of Andrew Lloyd Webber's new musical Starlight Express. Both of them agree with critics, finding it appalling. The musical is extensively re-written after the premiere.

April 1984

New music releases: "I Want to Break Free" - Queen; Street Talk - Steve Perry; "One Love/People Get Ready" - Bob Marley & The Wailers; "West End Girls" - Pet Shop Boys
The Relay newsletter Apr. 1984

On the 7th, The Who fanzine The Relay publishes an interview with Roger about the end of The Who. Roger says Pete "made a very big mistake" breaking up The Who and adds "you can only take so much of being treated like a turd." He says he hates Dave Marsh's Who book Before I Get Old, describing it as "a great, fat book as big as a Bible mostly comprised of lies." He also says Richard Barnes' book The Who: Maximum R&B is "dreadful." Dave Marsh is interviewed in the same issue and calls the It's Hard song "I've Known No War" a "despicable piece of shit."

On the 10th, John's estranged wife Allison wins libel damages from Channel Four Television and Goldcrest Films and TV. While appearing as a guest on the defendant's show Gastank, John had called his wife "a dog". She did not sue John who she is currently divorcing because he apologized and asked for the remark to be cut before broadcast.

On the 12th, Roger performs "Free Me" and "Parting Would Be Painless" at the Golden Rose Pop Festival in Montreux.

On the 14th, Roger's single "Walking in My Sleep" enters the Dutch charts where it will peak at #35.

Rolling Stone May 24 1984

Roger is interviewed in Rolling Stone where he strikes a bittersweet tone. "I don't have any illusions anymore. The illusion that rock & roll could change anything - I don't believe that. That the Who was this strange machine that could do anything - I don't believe that. I've changed. Who would have ever thought that I'd end up saying I want to be an all-round entertainer? But that's what I want to be. Not that I ever want to go to Vegas... Although one day I might do it - just for a laugh."

On the 25th, Pete is interviewed by Scott Muni in London for a live transmission to WNEW-FM in New York. During the interview, Pete's brother Paul calls in. The next day Muni interviews Roger.

May 1984

New music releases: Legend - Bob Marley and The Wailers; Private Dancer - Tina Turner; Chicago 17 - Chicago; "Dancing in the Dark" - Bruce Springsteen

On the 1st, the press reports that Pete has purchased an eel barge for conversion into a floating studio. Most of White City, The Iron Man and Psychoderelict will be recorded on board.

On the 3rd, Pete reviews Philip Norman's new book Symphony For The Devil: The Rolling Stones Story for Time Out, calling it "essentially accurate."

On the 5th, Pete appears on the Channel 4 TV programme Ear Say. He is interviewed in this Faber & Faber office about the new Rolling Stones book by Philip Norman.

Love Is In The Air PS

On the 11th, David Gilmour releases the Townshend-Gilmour song "Love Is In The Air" as a single. It fails to chart.

Burdon book

Meanwhile, in his job as a Faber & Faber editor, Pete is working with Eric Burdon on his autobiography I Used to Be an Animal, But I'm All Right Now. Pete later says he lent Burdon his cottage and locked him in it with a word processor until he finished the manuscript.

While driving into the city for work, Pete occasionally goes through the White City area and comes up with the genesis of the White City mini-movie. Originally it is to be about what happens to a White City resident over a 24-hour period.

During this month Roger sells the helicopter he bought in 1976 and dissolves the corporation Keluma, Ltd. he formed to write off on his taxes.

Louis Meredith in Stereo Review lists his choice of the 10 best rock & roll films of all time. The Kids Are Alright is #1 while Quadrophenia is the best dramatic rock movie.

Parting Would Be Painless German picture sleeve

Another single pulled from Roger's solo album Parting Should Be Painless, "Parting Would Be Painless" backed with "Is There Anybody Out There" is released in the U.K. on May 25. The 12" also has "I Won't Be The One To Say Goodbye" on the B-side. It fails to chart.

On the 29th, Pete, his wife Karen and Kenney Jones are among the celebrities who attend a preview of the play Little Me at the Prince Of Wales Theatre in London.

On the 30th, Roger is the guest host on BBC2's Entertainment USA.

June 1984

New music releases: Born In The U.S.A. - Bruce Springsteen; Purple Rain - Prince & The Revolution; "Ghostbusters" - Ray Parker, Jr.; Breaking Hearts - Elton John
Musician July 1984

Roger is interviewed for Musician magazine by Chris Salewicz who remarks that Roger still does not seem reconciled to Pete's disbanding The Who: "I feel his reasons for leaving the Who don't really hold water. The real reason, I think, was not that he couldn't come up with the songs but that he just didn't want to play with us any longer. He was bored."

Princess Diana - Pete Townshend

Pete attends Prince Charles' Rock Gala at Royal Albert Hall and sits in the box with the Prince and Princess Diana. That month he also attends the Prince's Trust London premiere of the movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom which is also attended by the Prince and Princess. It is probably at one of these events that the Princess, on recognizing Pete in her presence again, says, "Oh, you again, you must be keen." Pete manages to supress his anger at the royal condesension.

Townshend A Career Biography

Chris Charlesworth's Pete Townshend: A Career Biography is published.

Pete records "Marty Robbins" on a "weary" cassette machine. It later appears on Scoop 3 and is later re-worked into the song "God Speaks of Marty Robbins" for The Who album Endless Wire.

July 1984

New music releases: Diamond Life - Sade; Ride The Lightning - Metallica; The Best of Kansas - Kansas; "Careless Whisper" - Wham! featuring George Michael

During the month, Pete joins Mick Jagger at AIR Studios in London to add guitar work to the Rolling Stones' frontman's upcoming solo album, She's The Boss.

Also during the month, Pete has a meeting at the British Commons with Secretary of State for Social Services Norman Fowler. They discuss using Meg Patterson's therapy, that Pete credits with aiding his own battle with addiction, within the National Health Service.

On the 27th, Pete and Eric Clapton attend the premiere of Prince's movie Purple Rain in London. Prince's use of autobiographical elements within a musical film inspires Pete to inject himself into his planned White City movie.

August 1984

New music releases: 1100 Bel Air Place - Julio Iglesias; The Woman in Red - Stevie Wonder; "I Just Called To Say I Love You" - Stevie Wonder; Vital Signs - Survivor

On the 11th, John joins Bruce Springsteen on stage at the end of Springsteen's show at the Meadowlands in Rutherford, New Jersey to end the show with "Twist and Shout".

Roger and Heather Daltrey at American Buffalo
Photo: Tom Wargack

On the 12th, Roger and his wife Heather attend the London premiere of David Mamet's play American Buffalo.

Pete records "Elephants" on a Tascam cassette portstudio. It is later released on Scoop 3. He also records "Why D'you Stand So Close To That Man Last Night?" which is later released on his website.

September 1984

New music releases: Mannheim Steamroller Christmas - Mannheim Steamroller; "Purple Rain" - Prince & The Revolution; Suddenly - Billy Ocean; Stop Making Sense - Talking Heads

Pete writes the screenplay for the White City mini-movie by videotaping himself devising the story live on camera.

Roger Daltrey Tom Hulce
Photo: Ron Galella

On the 12th, Roger attends the U.S. premiere of the play Amadeus starring Tom Hulce as Mozart at Lowe's Tower East Theatre in New York.

On the 13th, Roger is interviewed on NBC-TV's Late Night With David Letterman.

On the 14th, Roger is a presenter on the 1st MTV Video Awards. He wears a tux, smashes an acoustic guitar, and announces that Michael Jackson has won Best Video for "Thriller".

Refuge logo

Pete and his wife Karen become co-chairpersons of Chiswick Family Rescue, a battered women's refuge. Making friends with some of the women, Pete will be horrified by stories of childhood sexual abuse that led them to lifelong trauma and psychological disturbance.

October 1984

New music releases: The Unforgettable Fire - U2; "Born in the U.S.A." - Bruce Springsteen; Welcome to the Pleasuredome - Frankie Goes To Hollywood; Yesterday Once More: Greatest Hits 1969–1983 - The Carpenters
Now Voyager LP

On the 1st, Barry Gibb's solo album Now Voyager is released with backup vocals by Roger on the song "Fine Line."

On the 2nd, John is a contestant on the BBC-TV show Pop Quiz.

Pete Townshend addresses Conservative Party

On the 8th, Pete begins a drive to battle his nemesis of the early 1980's, heroin. He gives an interview to The Times called "My crusade to beat the drug menace." On the next day Pete addresses a meeting of Young Conservatives at the Tory Party conference, pushing the Thatcher government to consider funding treatment centers for those addicted to heroin.

Pete Townshend and Stone Roses

On the 23rd, Pete stages and performs at an anti-heroin benefit concert at The Moonlight in Hampstead. Making their live debut at this show is a new band called The Stone Roses. Their drummer, Alan 'Reni' Wren, also sits in for Pete's set.

While all this is going on, Pete also begins bringing the business of The Who to a close. "Roger Searle, Mick Double and Alan Smith of ML Executives, formed by our road crew after the Tommy movie windfall, wanted to take over the company, and we needed to establish a fair value. It was extremely difficult. It turned out that not only did we have to find a way to give this company and all its assets to our road crew, we also had to sack them and pay them a severance. The final closure was a sober moment."

November 1984

New music releases: Like A Virgin - Madonna; Make It Big - Wham!; Reckless - Bryan Adams; Alf - Alison Moyet
Sometimes a Great Notion LP

On the 2nd, the various artists album Sometimes a Great Notion is released in the U.K. It contains the first release of Pete's demo for "Relay". Proceeds from the album go to the British Deaf Society.

Bad Attitude Meat Loaf LP

Also on the 2nd is Meat Loaf's LP Bad Attitude. The title track is a duet with Meat Loaf and Roger.

On the 4th, ITV begins airing an ad for the American Express credit card featuring Roger at his trout farm.

Who's Last UK cover

On the 5th, the live double-album Who's Last is released. John's original version, beginning with a late Keith Moon-era Who performance and continuing up to the 1982 tour, is rejected by MCA because it does not concentrate on The Who's well-known hits. John abandons the project and the album is hastily cobbled together by Dave Langston, mostly from The Who's December 14th and 15th, 1982 concerts at Richfield Coliseum in Cleveland, Ohio. There is a simultaneous release of a single "Twist and Shout" backed with "I Can't Explain". The album receives the worst reviews of The Who's entire career. Wayne King in Record dubs it "a stinking piece of product," while Kurt Loder in Rolling Stone says no major band has ended their career "on so sour and sickening a note." The album peaks at #48 in the U.K. and #81 in the U.S. The single peaks at #87 in the British charts.

On the 13th, Pete and Roger have their first joint interview since the breakup of The Who on BBC2's Whistle Test. Almost a year after Pete left The Who, the atmosphere between the two appears conciliatory.

On the 14th, Roger, Pete, and John are all interviewed, separately, on Good Morning Britain.

Pete begins recording the music for the White City film project. He also hosts a three-hour retrospective on Elvis Presley that plays on syndicated U.S. radio.

The Who The Singles LP

On the 23rd, the best-of collection The Who: The Singles is released in Europe, Australia and Japan. It contains the first appearance of an alternate take of "Happy Jack" and the BBC mix of "I Can See For Miles".

December 1984

New music releases: "Last Christmas" - Wham!; Agent Provocateur - Foreigner; "Do They Know It's Christmas?" - Band Aid; Beverly Hills Cop: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - Various Artists

On the 7th, British newspapers report that Pete has admitted to damaging an 18th-century bridge in a barge collision the previous year. He is billed £4,000. Also, Melody Maker later reports that Pete was to have performed at a benefit for Ethiopia at the Royal Albert Hall on this date but couldn't make it due to recording conflicts for his White City album/film.

Rolling Stone reports that Pete has dropped Nick Lowe as the producer for his White City album and has instead enlisted Empty Glass producer Chris Thomas.

On the 14th, Pete records the "experiment" "Commonwealth Boys" for the White City album. The backing track is later used for the song "Come To Mama." The original recording is later released on Scoop 3.

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