The Who — “Sunrise”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — May 21, 2023


833) The Who — “Sunrise”

To be honest, I sort of forgot about this wonderful acoustic number at the tail end of The Who Sell Out. Shame on me. Richie Unterberger says it “shows introspective, vulnerable sides to [Pete Townshend — happy birthday, BTW!] that had previously been hidden.” ( The Australian edition of Rolling Stone calls it The Who’s 24th greatest song and reveals that:

[This is] a lovely acoustic track featuring just Townshend’s voice and his Harmony 12-string. The song’s bright melody, nimble finger-picking and melancholy lyrics were a break from the Who’s chaotic intensity, and not everyone in the band was thrilled to see Townshend branching out. “Keith didn’t want that on the record,” Townshend said in 1980. “In a way, that’s a bit of a giveaway to the fact that at the time I was studying a bit of this jazz thing. I wrote it for my mother to show her that I could write real music.”

Pete, you can write real music!

Here is an early demo that sounds almost like Cole Porter wrote it!

Here’s an alternate version with Daltry singing, and a very prominent wood block (?):

Pete performs with Rachel Fuller at South by Southwest:

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Pay to Play! The Off the Charts Spotify Playlist! + Brace for the Obscure 60s Rock Merchandise

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The playlist includes all the “greatest songs of the 1960’s that no one has ever heard” that are available on Spotify. The playlist will expand each time I feature an available song.

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