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The Who - Endless Wire

UK - 2006 Polydor CD (Special Edition)

Single CD with 2 bonus tracks

UK - 2006 Polydor CD (Promo) (front cover)

UK - 2006 Polydor CD (Promo) (back cover)

UK - 2006 Polydor CD (Promo) (Disc 1)

UK - 2006 Polydor CD (Promo) (Disc 2)

USA - 2006 Universal CD (Best Buy Limited Edition)

Autographed by Pete Townshend. 2CD with bonus tracks and DVD

USA - 2006 Universal CD (Best Buy Limited Edition)

2CD with bonus tracks and DVD (with stickers)

USA - 2006 Universal CD (Limited Edition)

CD with bonus tracks and DVD

USA - 2006 Universal CD (Limited Edition)

CD with bonus tracks and DVD (with sticker)

USA - 2006 Universal CD

Single CD with bonus tracks

USA - 2006 Universal CD (Promo)

USA - 2007 Universal LP

2 LP with bonus tracks

Argentina - 2006 Polydor CD

Single CD with no bonus tracks

Australia - 2006 Polydor CD (Special Edition)

Single CD with 2 bonus tracks

Canada - 2006 Universal CD

Single CD with 2 bonus tracks

Canada - 2006 Polydor CD (Deluxe Edition)

2 CD version with bonus tracks. Canada sleeve, UK CDs

China - 2006 RCD CD

Extended resolution version in wood box with slip case. 2CD version with bonus tracks. 2nd CD is "Then & Now"

China - 2006 RCD CD

Single Who CD with 2 bonus tracks. Includes 2nd CD with other artist

Denmark - 2006 Universal CD (Promo)

[Disc 1]

Denmark - 2006 Universal CD (Promo)

[Disc 2]

France - 2006 Polydor CD

France - 2006 Polydor CD (Promo)

France - 2006 Polydor CD (Promo)

Album Sampler #1

France - 2006 Polydor CD (Promo)

Album Sampler #128

Germany - 2006 Polydor CD (Deluxe Edition)

2 CD version with no bonus tracks. Laminated cover

Germany - 2006 Polydor CD (Promo)

Indonesia - 2006 Polydor CD

Israel - 2006 Polydor CD

Japan - 2006 Polydor CD (Deluxe Edition)

2 CD version with bonus tracks

Japan - 2006 Polydor CD

Single CD version with bonus tracks

Latvia - 2006 Universal CD

Single CD with 2 bonus tracks. Pirate copy with USA credits, European packaging. CD face is silk screened

Mexico - 2006 Polydor CD

Russia - 2006 Polydor CD

Taiwan - 2006 Polydor CD

Single CD with no bonus tracks. Taiwan OBI, Germany CD pressing

Ukraine - 2006 Polydor CD (Promo)

Album: Endless Wire

LPs (vinyl) Sampled: n/a

CD(s) Sampled: Polydor (UK), Universal (USA), Polydor (Japan), , Polydor (Argentina), Polydor (Australia)

LP Comments: n/a  

CD Comments: I've compared the Polydor (UK), the Universal (USA), the Polydor (Japan), the Polydor (Australia) and the Polydor (Argentina). The first 4 sound excellent, but slightly different from each other. I had been listening to the USA pressing for several weeks and feel the mastering is pretty close to perfect. Using the USA CD as the standard reference, I compared the UK, Japan and Australia CDs. The UK copy, is slightly different - as if the treble was ever slightly turned up and the bass, equally lessened - as if an entire frequency shift took place from one CD (USA) to another (UK). In comparing the two, the USA sounds slightly smoother and more full-ranged, while the UK sounds slightly more detailed. The Japan CD has that "value added" bass to it, which ads a bit more bass to the lower end. One one stereo system this made for an immediate improvement and the subwoofer was getting a nice workout. "Fragments" really sounded unbelievable. On the other system, the extra bass was a bit too much and I preferred the USA version. The Australia CD is closest to the Japan CD in sound characteristics. The Argentina CD sounds a bit "thinner" than the others. While it sounds "clean", it's missing the richness of the other CD versions and therefore - not as good.

CD Summary: As stated above, the UK, USA, Japan & Australia CDs sound excellent. However, based on your own listening preferences, you may prefer one style over the other. If I had to chose one over the others, it would be the USA disc, as I would imagine that it is closest to what the master tape sounds like. It seems to be right in-between the UK and Japan versions.

Other Comments: Great to have The Who back after 24 years! The version of Mirror Door on this CD features a different vocal performance and mix than the version on the Wire & Glass EP. The 2 extended version bonus tracks (see track listing below) seem to be different performance versions. Also note, all song versions on this album were mixed by Pete Townshend. However, the CD singles of It's Tea & Theatre, Black Widow's Eyes and It's Not Enough were remixed by Chris Lord-Alge and the UK single which contains It's Not Enough has an extended version of it.

Limited Edition CD versions issued with additional disc bonus live performances from Lyon, France, July 17, 2006:

About: Endless Wire
 
As Who fans, we were always caught up in the ups and downs of the various "Who break ups" and "The new Who album which never was"...
 
* The 1982/83 break-up
* 1985 Live Aid Reunion (of sorts)
* The Who featured on 2 "Iron Man" tracks
* The 1989 Stadium Tour
* The 1992 "Two Rooms" Tribute to Elton John featuring Saturday "Night's Alright For Fighting" (with a "Take Me To The Pilot" bit)
* John Entwistle's tragic Death in 2002

* Roger Daltrey's mystery song, "Certified Rose"
* The 2 new songs in 2004: Real Good Looking Boy and "Old Red Wine"
* Pete's blog,
The Boy Who Heard Music


And finally...
 
2006
 
"Endless Wire" (with a teaser mini-opera single,
Wire & Glass released before it)
 
Was it actually possible? A "new" Who album?
 
Yes.
 
I'm not sure why there was such drama and hesitation that preceded it.
 
Pete has been writing music now for most of his life, which includes (apparently) an "inventory" of over 2,000 demos.
 
* Is it the desire for "perfection"?
* The avoidance of everything that comes with "releasing a new Who album" (the fans, the press, the inevitable touring, etc.)?
* The time that a "new album" means to remove Pete from a comfortable lifestyle?
 
I'm sure all of these weigh upon him - vs. the years he "locked himself in a closet" (relatively) to create a "Quadrophenia".
 

As Who fans we tend to look upon the results, and not necessarily the "process" that led to the results. When you are in your 20's, you can put your body and lifestyle on hold while you pursue your dreams of creating perfection through "work". When you get to your 50's and 60's (and hopefully) have a different lifestyle - you have other needs and desires, which don't include spending the kind of time you think you need to devote to "create a masterpiece" - hence everything becomes a "compromise".

 

I have no doubt that Pete could write a "bigger" masterpiece than Tommy and Quadrophenia if he put his mind and body to it. But you have to ask yourself - does he have the desire to do so? And even if he did, at ~68 years old (and perhaps 70 when the "masterpiece" would be ready) - the capability of touring with it?
 
Possible yes, probable no.
 
If Pete could do all of this while sailing in
Cornwall, there would have been many new Who releases.
 
Rather than view Pete as "an artist" - view him as a person. Gifted, talented, full of life and personality - but also a "flawed" person - like all of us. Besides his "work", Pete's a father, a lover, a family member, etc. and more importantly has a very active life beyond his music.
 
Going out on stage is relatively easy for Pete. Limited duration, several hours a day, shows up, plays his heart out (or not) and goes back to the hotel or enjoys whatever company he chooses.
 
Writing music, getting other's involved (Roger, the other session musicians, recording studios, record companies, management, producers) - that's *real* work and it's demanding.
 
Around the time of release of "Endless Wire", I found myself discussing the "demo process" with Pete. Apparently, one of the more difficult parts (these days) is creating demos for Roger. All the work involved in creating "complete songs" (with all the parts and pieces) to send to Roger and then have him "reject" so many - so many that probably in Pete's mind were some of his "better work". Deeply frustrating. I asked Pete, why bother sending Roger - complete demos (very time consuming) - vs. simple, acoustic vocal/guitar style demos? Pete's response - Roger insists on the "full" demo, otherwise he has trouble "getting it". Wow! You'd think that after all these years working together it would have gotten easier - but it hasn't.
 
So... What is "Endless Wire" ?
 
A Who album?
 
A collection of Pete solo performances with Roger Daltrey?
 
A combination of both?
 
Good question for those who choose to analyze these things more than I do.
 
I tend to "like things" or "not like things". So, I can like something and then chose to comment about it and discuss it and "figure it out" after the fact. Why not.
 
I've said before that there's a whole bunch of fans in the UK who "don't like" the 1982 It's Hard because it doesn't sound like a Who album to them (does to me - and I own more Who albums than anyone on the planet!) - but each to their own sewage...
 

Does "Endless Wire" sound like a Who album?

 

Does My Generation sound like The Who By Numbers?
 
Does
The Who Sell Out sound like Quadrophenia ?
 
Does
Tommy sound like Face Dances ?
 
They are all different and similar at the same time. If it all sounded the same there wouldn't be a need to have more than one album, would there?
 
Artists like to create art - those who recreate the same art over and over are *boring*.
 
"Endless Wire".
 
What is it?
 
A collection of songs and the mini-opera,
Wire & Glass.
 
When Pete was teasing us fans with
Wire & Glass - we really didn't know if the new album would have "full song" versions of the "mini-songs" that strung Wire & Glass together or ???
 
No, the "full song" rumor did not materialize. Instead, Pete augmented the "mini-opera" to include additional songs and then with some versions of the album, 2 bonus tracks featuring "full-length" versions of "We Got A Hit" and "Endless Wire" (the song). Sure, why not?
 
So, we have a new Who album. At long last - after all the years of hope and dreams - it has really happened.
 
Inevitably the comparisons between this album and the ones before it come into play. Not sure why. What's wrong with letting it stand on its own merits?
 

From my point of view, I really like the album. It features the familiar (i.e. "Fragments") and the new (i.e. "Man In A Purple Dress") - my only disappointment??? hMMM... this album was released in 2006. Almost 7 years later, where the heck is the next album, Pete? :)

 

The songs:
 
* Fragments - a nice nod to "Baba O'Riley" (and "the familiar") - a "Ghost of Who past". Simple and pleasing.

* Man In A Purple Dress - A controversial song - an attack on "religious leaders"? A "poke of fun at their expense"? Or just a sense of irony? It's a very powerful statement.

* Mike Post Theme - At the time of the album's release, many Who fans "gravitated" to this song - as a "familiar sound" (oooh - this SOUNDS like The Who). Good song. Who the hell is
Mike Post ? A guy that wrote TV song themes. (Pete is an obvious fan.)
 
* In The Ether - Another controversial song - but for different reasons. Reviewers weren't certain who was actually singing on this. Was it Roger??? Couldn't be Pete. Pete made the effort at the time to explain how he has this "whole other singing voice". A good portion of Who fans couldn't (and didn't) appreciate this song. (i.e. Why is this song on a Who album?) I recall Pete not being too happy with everyone "questioning" him about this song. "No, I'm NOT trying to sound like an 'old man' !" Pete performed this song several times for his "In The Attic" shows - it was great! Me? I started out "wondering" (with the rest of the Who fan) why this song was here as well, but after each repeated listen, the song grew on me. It's a fantastic song. What is "life after death" all about? Is this it? Is this part of it? "Ghostbusters" anyone? Perhaps Pete needed more of an explanation of the "Etherman" he refers to in
Wire & Glass? Whatever it is, I just love it. It's my favorite song on the album...
 
* Black Widow's Eyes - Scary song. Terrorists live in everyday life and affect real people and destroy lives. This helps remind us of that tragic fact.
 
* Two Thousand Years - For whatever reason, Roger seems to love this song. It's my least favorite on the album. Seems like a good idea that never was finished.
 
* God Speaks To Marty Robbins - Pete released an instrumental on Scoop 3 called "Marty Robbins". He went back and finished the song for "Endless Wire". Such a great song.
 
* You Stand By Me - I'm not sure if Pete ever came right out and said so, but I view this song as a nod and a "thank you" to Roger Daltrey. While there's never been a shortage of "fight stories" between Roger and Pete - Roger is Pete's "biggest fan" and has supported him when he needed it the most. I may be completely wrong about this song, but from my point of view, that's what this song is about...

 

The Mini-Opera: Wire & Glass
 
Is this one song or a collection of "short songs" strung together to help tell a story? Perhaps a combination of both. This is an "expanded" version of the EP that was released ahead of the album. Newly added are "Unholy Trinity" (which I like to imagine as being a song about Pete, Roger and John - but possibly not), "Trilby's Piano" (who the heck is this "Hymie" guy?) and "Fragments of Fragments" (most likely the demo for "Fragments" - a nice added touch).

 

I never read "The Boy Who Heard Music" blog (which apparently this is based on). I like the way the songs are put together and I love "Unholy Trinity".

 

At one point an alternate "Mirror Door" showed up somewhere on the internet. I had commented to Pete that I "liked the mix" better on this version than the Wire & Glass version because it sounded more Who-like. The vocal was a lot rougher on this version (not sure if that was intentional or not) - but the next thing I knew, Pete used that version on the album. My "fault" ? Who knows. I liked the mix, but I think I liked the original vocal better!
 
* Sound Round
* Pick Up The Peace
* Unholy Trinity
* Trilby's Piano
* Out On The Endless Wire
* Fragments Of Fragments
* We Got A Hit
* They Made My Dreams Come True
* Mirror Door
* Tea & Theatre

 

I think Roger has really taken to "Tea & Theatre" - he's chosen to close the 2012/13 Quadrophenia tour with this song each night...
 
Bonus Tracks:
 
* We Got A Hit (Extended Version)
* Endless Wire (Extended Version)
 
Ah ha... so that's what "full version" songs from the mini-opera sound like! Excellent.
 
For whatever reason, some of the promotional only CDs of "Black Widows Eyes" have a "Chris Lord-Alge Mix" (who the heck is that???) of "It's Not Enough" with an extended guitar part, which is not featured on the album. Why? I always wonder why they make "alternate versions" available in some of the strangest places - Did they expect this version to "play better" on the radio??? If they thought that, why not include it on the album in the first place? Oh well...
 

Track Listing: Fragments, Man In A Purple Dress, Mike Post Theme, In The Ether, Black Widow's Eyes, Two Thousand Years, God Speaks To Marty Robbins, You Stand By Me, Sound Round, Pick Up The Peace, Unholy Trinity, Trilby's Piano, Out On The Endless Wire, Fragments Of Fragments, We Got A Hit, They Made My Dreams Come True, Mirror Door, Tea & Theatre
Bonus Tracks: We Got A Hit (Extended Version)*, Endless Wire (Extended Version)*

* Note: Not all versions (i.e. Germany (Deluxe Edition)) have the 2 extended version tracks (above). Check <actual> CD for track listings.

USA Bonus Disc (DVD): I Can't Explain, Behind Blue Eyes, Mike Post Theme, Baba O'Riley, Won't Get Fooled Again

USA Best Buy (CD- In addition to the DVD above): The Seeker, Who Are You, Mike Post Theme, Relay, Greyhound Girl, Naked Eye, Won't Get Fooled Again (with ~1 minute of "Old Red Wine" at the end)

UK, Canada & Japan Bonus Disc (CD): The Seeker, Who Are You, Mike Post Theme, Relay, Greyhound Girl, Naked Eye, Won't Get Fooled Again (with ~1 minute of "Old Red Wine" at the end)

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