You could call it Pete Townshend’s “lost album”: The Oceanic Concerts, an eighteen-track disc documenting the Who leader’s 1979 and 1980 collaborations with classical pianist Raphael Rudd, will finally be released October 16th by Rhino Records.
Recorded at Townshend’s own Eel Pie studios, the invitation-only concerts found the guitarist playing acoustic versions of Who hits like “The Seeker” and “Bargain” as well as songs he would later include on his first solo album, 1980’s Empty Glass. Then-Genesis drummer/vocalist Phil Collins and Renaissance vocalist Annie Haslam contributed to the sessions.
“[Townshend] had written ‘Let My Love Open the Door’ a very short time before the show,” recalls Rudd, who also wrote arrangements for the Quadrophenia soundtrack. “And, when we played ‘A Little Is Enough,’ he said, ‘I just wrote this yesterday, and let’s give it a go.'”
The two concerts were staged in tribute to Townshend’s spiritual guru, Meher Baba, whose teachings are alluded to in several Who songs. “It wasn’t just another gig; it was a really special event because Pete did it out of devotion to his master,” says Rudd. “Pete sang these songs in an even more personalized way, as the composer, and these songs came from his heart and soul. It was a very powerful expression of feelings.”