Pete Townshend: “Face The Face” (1985)

Pete channels big band jazz through rock’s noisy filter and comes out looking tougher than Joe Jackson, which isn’t that tough.

This turned out to be one of the biggest hits of Pete’s solo career, from one of Pete’s best solo records (White City). The single version is edited from the elpee, shaving off some of the jazzy intro. The lyrics would seem to deal with the familiar theme of self-improvement; what’s different here is the music. It didn’t really hit me until I saw a live performance of this song that Pete had conceived this song as a rock update of big band jazz. As such, it’s probably as close as he has come to sounding like Joe Jackson. The flip side is my favorite track from White City, “Hiding Out,” which is Pete’s take on the brief high life revival popularized by Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel and Steve Winwood. A 12-inch single includes a live version of “Won’t Get Fooled Again” from Pete’s ambitious (and undoubtedly expensive) Deep End, while an Atlantic Oldies Series reissue reconciles the A side with “Give Blood.”

Original 7-inch single version
A1. Face The Face (Pete Townshend) (4:23)
B1. Hiding Out (Pete Townshend) (2:54)

US 12-inch single version
A1. Face The Face (long version) (Pete Townshend) (6:08)
B1. Won’t Get Fooled Again (live) (Pete Townshend) (5:38)

EUR 12-inch single version
A1. Face The Face (long version) (Pete Townshend) (6:08)
B1. Face The Face (Pete Townshend) (4:14)
B2. Hiding Out (Pete Townshend)

Back-to-back hits 7-inch single reissue
A1. Face The Face (Pete Townshend) (4:23)
B1. Give Blood (Pete Townshend) (3:20)

The Plastic
Released on 7-inch, shaped 7-inch picture disc, two-track 12-inch and three-track 12-inch single in October 1985 in the US (Atco, 7-99590/0-96833), the UK (Atco, U8859/P/T), Canada (Atco, 79 95907), France (Atco, 25 88597), Germany (Atco, 258 859-7/25 88580) and Japan (Atco, P-2051) with picture sleeve; reached #26 on the US charts (charted on November 9, 1985 for 16 weeks).

  1. Re-released with “Give Blood” on back-to-back hits 7-inch single in the US (Atlantic Oldies Series, 7-84968).

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