How Worry Over Losing Girlfriend Impacted ‘Who Sell Out’ Sessions
There's a reason Pete Townshend sang a career-topping four songs on the Who's 1967's album, The Who Sell Out. Townshend said Jimi Hendrix and the Who were sharing the same studio, alternating days as Hendrix recorded 1967's Axis: Bold as Love. Then Roger Daltrey began to think something was going on between Hendrix and Heather Taylor, a model who later became the Who singer's wife.
"I don't know whether or not this is turning into sort of silly gossip, but I think he wasn't around as much as he would normally be," Townshend recently told Rock Cellar. "He used to enjoy being in the studio, but suddenly he was gone. And so I think what actually happened was that I was finishing the songs as I was finishing the vocals, imagining that Roger would come in and replace my vocals – but what actually happened was he just wasn't there."
Townshend stressed that there was no issue with the songs themselves, despite the fact that he had started taking a more narrative approach that was far different from the Who's early era.
"If [Daltrey] hears a song of mine and if he thinks it's not his thing, he doesn't just say, 'I'm not going to sing it,'" Townshend added. "He gives it a try and if it doesn't work, he lets me sing on it, so I don't really know the answer. I just know that I got this weird feeling about those days in the studio, maybe two or three weeks of sessions that he wasn't as present as he normally was – and I think it had something to do with him being concerned about Jimi Hendrix stealing his girlfriend, Heather."
Any suspicion likely wasn't helped by the rumor that Taylor was the inspiration for "Foxy Lady," the opening track from Hendrix's debut, Are You Experienced. Still, Townshend confirmed that he's "never spoken to Roger about what really happened, but he wasn't around as much as it should have been."
Townshend's featured vocals included "Odorono," "I Can't Reach You," "Sunrise" and "Our Love Was." Also home to "I Can See For Miles," their biggest U.S. single, The Who Sell Out returned last month as an expanded five-disc super-deluxe edition that included 46 previously unheard tracks.
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