On this day in music history: September 4, 198…

On this day in music history: September 4, 1982 – “It’s Hard”, the tenth album by The Who​ is released. Produced by Glyn Johns, it is recorded at Turn Up-Down Studio in Surrey, UK in June 1982. Recorded at producer/engineer Johns home studio, “It’s Hard” is The Who’s last album of new studio material for twenty four years. Though their previous album “Face Dances” is commercially successful, the band members are divided on the material composed by Townshend. During the period that follows, Pete is still struggling with alcohol and substance abuse which has reached a crisis point. Taking a much needed hiatus, Townshend receives treatment from Dr. Meg Patterson to overcome his drinking and drug problems. Newly sober, Townshend comes to band rehearsals with only two new songs ready. Taking inspiration from The Clash, Pete writes a number of songs taking on political issues and  his struggles with addiction, most notably in “"I’ve Known No War”, “One Life’s Enough”, and “Eminence Front” (#5 Mainstream Rock). The album receives a glowing review from Rolling Stone magazine upon its release, though some critics and fans are not as receptive to the shift away from their classic “arena rock” sound, that saw them at the peak of their success in the 70’s. Lead singer Roger Daltrey is also later critical of the album, stating “it should never have been released. I had huge rows with Pete…”, and “the record company wanted a record out and they wanted us to do a tour”. It spins off two singles including “Athena” (#28 Pop, #3 Mainstream Rock). The band support the album with a “farewell tour” in the Fall of 1982/Winter 1983. When it is reissued on CD in 1997, it is dramatically remixed from its original release, which is most noticeable on the albums two singles which featured an odd off centered placement of the vocals in the original mixes. The reissue also includes four live bonus tracks. Out of print on vinyl since the late 80’s, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP, by Polydor/Geffen/UMe in 2015. The same year, “Eminence Front” is featured prominently in a television ad campaign for Chevrolet pick up trucks. The song is also featured in the film version of the hit HBO series “Entourage” also in 2015. “It’s Hard” peaks at number eight on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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