Thursday, December 22, 2022

Pete Townshend was ‘shocked’ The Who’s ‘I Can See for Miles’ wasn’t a hit on March 1

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Pete Townshend said he was “shocked”. The Who’s “I Can See for Miles” didn’t become an instant hit. He considered the song his masterpiece. He also revealed a famous composer who praised the musicianship of “I Can See for Miles.”

In his 2012 book Who I am: A memory, Townshend discussed “I Can See for Miles”. “’I Can See for Miles’ didn’t chart as a single, which shocked me; I really expected that my masterpiece would lead us to eternal glory,” he wrote.

“A few weeks after its release [producer Kit Lambert’s] Godfather, the English composer Sir William Walton, wrote me a note congratulating me on the ambitious harmonies,” Townshend said. “Kit did a wonderful job recording this time; The test we brought from Gold Star Studios in California sounded spectacular on the mono single release.” For context, Walton is best known for his tunes facade, Belshazzar’s Feast, Imperial Crownand ball and sceptre.

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Townshend revealed that the recognition didn’t mean the song was a hit. “Nevertheless, it was met with a lukewarm reception in the UK and slowly climbed the charts,” he recalled. “I got this track [Records] didn’t push it properly; If that were the case, who could we complain to?”

“We all saw Track as our own record label back then,” he added. “The single did better in the US but was still pretty slow. The financial picture was bleak.”

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“I Can See for Miles” peaked at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100. It stayed on the chart for 11 weeks. The Who brought “I Can See for Miles” to the album The ones that are sold outwhich peaked at number 48 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the chart for 24 weeks.

According to The Official Charts Company, “I Can See for Miles” was similarly successful in the UK. The tune peaked at number 10 and stayed on the chart for 12 weeks. On the other hand, The ones that are sold out peaked at number 13 and stayed on the chart for 11 weeks.

“I Can See for Miles” became a big hit, even if it took a while.

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