Saturday, December 15, 2012

the last book I ever read (Pete Townshend's Who I Am, excerpt one)

from Who I Am: A Memoir by Pete Townshend:

I ran back to my tape machine and listened to The Kinks’ ‘You Really Got Me’ – not that I really needed to, it was on the radio all the time. I tightened up ‘I Can’t Explain’ and changed the lyrics so they were about love, not music. I tried to make it sound as much like The Kinks as I could so that Shel would like it. I already had the title for the song that would follow it: ‘Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere’, word I had scribbled on a piece of paper while listening to Charlie Parker.

We played Shel Talmy the revised ‘I Can’t Explain’ and he booked us a session at Pye studios to record it. Shel also brought in some additional musicians, which Kit had warned me he might do. Keith jovially told the session drummer who appeared to ‘scarper’, and he did. Because Shel wasn’t sure I could play a solo, he had asked his favorite session guitarist, Jimmy Page, to sit in. And because our band had rehearsed the song with backing vocals in Beach Boys style, but not very skillfully, Shel arranged for three male session singers, The Ivy League, to chirp away in our place.

Shel Talmy got a good sound, tight and commercial, and although there was no guitar feedback I was willing to compromise to get a hit. We wouldn’t know if the gamble would pay off until after the New Year.

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