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January 1984

New music releases: 1984 - Van Halen; Footloose/Original Soundtrack - Various Artists; Roll On - Alabama; Slide It In - Whitesnake

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 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.

Roger is supposed to have acted in a ten-minute film called "Bitter Cherry" directed by porno filmmaker Greg Dark around this time. Roger described his role as a "schmuck."

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; "Let's Hear It For the Boy" - Deneice Williams; "To All The Girls I've Loved Before" - Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson; "Weird Al" in 3-D - "Weird Al" Yankovich
Parting Should Be Painless Parting Should Be Painless

On the 17th, 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 a caterpillar." The album does not make the charts.

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".







March 1984

New music releases:Heartbeat City - The Cars; Love At First Sting - The Scorpions; Out of the Cellar - Ratt; Alchemy: Dire Straits Live - Dire Straits
Walking In My Sleep UK ad Walking In My Sleep UK ad

On the 3rd, Roger's solo single "Walking In My Sleep" backed with "Somebody Told Me" from the album Parting Should Be Painless hits the charts. 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'".




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 1984 LP

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








Parting Should Be Painless LP Parting Should Be Painless LP

On the 17th, Roger's first album for Atlantic Records, 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 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: Street Talk - Steve Perry; Grace Under Pressure - Rush; Self Control - Laura Branigan; "The Reflex" - Duran Duran
The Relay newsletter Apr. 1984 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 s***."

On the 10th, John's estranged wife Alison 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 "go." 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.

Roger is interviewed in Rolling Stone where he strikes a bittersweet tone about the breakup with Pete but says he hopes Pete can find personal happiness.

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; Chicago 17 - Chicago; Private Dancer - Tina Turner; Stay Hungry - Twisted Sister

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."

Burdon book 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.

Roger tells Musician magazine that he still thinks The Who can get back together at some time in the future.

Also during the 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.

Love Is In The Air PSLove Is In The Air PS

David Gilmour releases the Townshend-Gilmour song "Love Is In The Air" as a single. 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.



June 1984

New music releases: Born In The U.S.A. - Bruce Springsteen; Purple Rain - Prince & The Revolution; "Two Tribes" - Frankie Goes To Hollywood; Breaking Hearts - Elton John
Parting Would Be Painless German picture sleeve 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. The 12" also has "I Won't Be The One To Say Goodbye" on the B-side. It fails to chart.









Princess Diana - Pete TownshendPrincess 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 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: Ride The Lightning - Metallica; Diamond Life - Sade; Victory - The Jacksons; New Edition - New Edition

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.

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."

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: The Best of Kansas - Kansas; "I Just Called To Say I Love You" - Stevie Wonder; The Woman in Red/Original Soundtrack - 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 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: Suddenly - Billy Ocean; Tonight - David Bowie; Powerslave - Iron Maiden; Animalize - Kiss

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

Roger Daltrey Tom Hulce 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.

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: Make It Big - Wham!; The Unforgettable Fire - U2; Stop Making Sense - Talking Heads; Big Bam Boom - Hall & Oates
Now Voyager LP 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 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 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; Reckless - Bryan Adams; Building The Perfect Beast - Don Henley; Arena - Duran Duran
Who's Last UK cover Who's Last UK cover

On the 10, 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 does not chart.

Bad Attitude Meat Loaf LP Bad Attitude Meat Loaf LP

Also hitting the charts that day is Meat Loaf's LP Bad Attitude. The title track is a duet with Meat Loaf and Roger.








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 The Who The Singles LP

On the 17th, 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: Agent Provocateur - Foreigner; Beverly Hills Cop/Original Soundtrack - Various Artists; "Do They Know It's Christmas?" - Band Aid; "Last Christmas" - Wham!

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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