The Who's Pete Townshend releases his first solo single in nearly 30 years

24 March 2023, 11:57

Pete Townshend speaks to Gold

By Mayer Nissim

Charity single 'Can't Outrun The Truth' is about lockdown and was written by Pete's partner.

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The Who's guitarist Pete Townshend has today (March 24) released his first solo single in nearly 30 years.

While Pete has written the vast majority of The Who's music, his new single 'Can't Outrun The Truth' was written and produced by Charlie Pepper – a pseudonym for his partner Rachel Fuller.

Rachel said: "We'd just moved house and Pete was as happy as Larry up in his studio, working every day, and I put my back out, I was just climbing the walls, I couldn’t do any creative work and obviously, we couldn’t go anywhere.

"And I really started to think about how unbelievably difficult this period of time was going to be for so many people.

"I wrote lyrics and then I sat at the piano and wrote the music, and then I thought, 'Oh, I really would like to record it, because it’s really not a bad song at all – and my singing days are long over'. So, I asked Pete to record the demo."

Pete Townshend - Can't Outrun The Truth (Official Video)

Townshend said: "The pandemic years were terrible for charities; the Teenage Cancer Trust was created in order to take the money from a series of concerts at the Albert Hall every year and various other things and that had all dropped out.

"So, the idea of doing this, which is it’s something that has sprung out of Lockdown about mental illness, but also for this particular charity.

"If you’ve got a scenario in which somebody in your family or a teenager has got cancer, they’re being treated, Lockdown hits, and you’re not allowed to go and visit them. There’s a poignancy to the whole thing about the song."

Pete Townshend in concert with The Who
Pete Townshend in concert with The Who. Picture: Getty Images

He added: "I've helped Rachel make the demos for several of her theatrical projects.

"She's a really a fast worker, it’s not that you say to me, let’s go into the studio for two weeks and work on this project. We do it two hours later, or an hour later, it’s done – so it's easy to work with her."

In keeping with The Who's pop art sensibilities, the pair worked with Damien Hirst to design a one-off spin painting of Pete for the artwork.

Pete Townshend and his partner Rachel Fuller in 2019
Pete Townshend and his partner Rachel Fuller in 2019. Picture: Getty Images

'Can't Outrun The Truth' is available to stream now, while a 12" vinyl release also features a recording of Townshend;'s 1980 top 10 US single 'Let My Love Open the Door'.

Townshend's last solo studio album was 1993's Psychoderelict, trailed by the single 'English Boy'. His last solo songs were the add-on 'Guantanamo' and 'How Can I Help You' on his 2015 compilation Truancy: The Very Best of Pete Townshend.

Townshend's bandmate Roger Daltrey recently said that there was "no point" in The Who releasing new music.

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He cited a lack of response to 2019's WHO album, despite the record reaching number 2 in the US albums chart and number 3 in the UK, going gold with 100,000 sales.

"What's the point of records? We released an album four years ago, and it did nothing," Daltrey told the NME.

"It's a great album too, but there isn't the interest out there for new music these days. People want to hear the old music. I don't know why, but that’s the fact."

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