Monday, September 14, 2015

Pete Townshend: "The Tommy Demos"

After hearing the two Scoop volumes, and a few bootleg compilations, I was always curious as to how his demos for Tommy were like. There were two cuts on Another Scoop, and a handful of them on the Deluxe Edition of Tommy in 2003, but I'd always wanted to hear the whole albums' worth of demos.

I never found a CD of them anywhere around here, but I eventually found them all on YouTube. They come from a bootleg compilation showcasing all the home demo recordings for the album. I was able to hear all of them, and was quite amazed at what I was hearing. The song structures are all pretty much identical to the final versions on the album, save for the occasional different lyric, but it's astounding to hear it all played and sung by Pete himself at his home studio.

A vast majority of the songs are carried along simply with just acoustic guitar, piano and vocals. The demo for "Pinball Wizard" is simply acoustic guitar, electric guitar and double-tracked vocals, and it sounds amazing on its own like that. The one song that seemed to be missing was "Go To The Mirror, Boy", replaced by a short interlude called "Success", presumably sung by the doctor after Tommy's "miracle cure".

All of Pete's home recording should be released, as they're so fascinating, with a lot of as-yet-unheard gems to be discovered, I'm sure. It's amazing that just one guy wrote all of these songs, and so many of them became classics.

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