Check Out Unreleased Early Who Demo “The Girls I Could Have Had”



Pete Townshend often talks about how different he and Roger Daltrey have always been, and that the difference was never more obvious than in the early days of the band. Roger was a couple of years older than Pete, was tough enough to win any barroom brawl, and was very successful with the young ladies. Pete, on the other hand, was a skinny little nebbish, more brains than brawn, and more likely to be found recording demos at home than living large on the town.

Luckily for all of us, the two young men so different in character found common ground in some brilliant music. But a recently released Pete Townshend demo recorded in early 1965, to be included in the Who’s upcoming My Generation Super Deluxe Edition Box Set, casts a fascinating and funny light on the relationship between the two in those early days.

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“The Girls I Could Have Had” chugs along rockabilly-style as Townshend sings about his singular inability to get dates: “Sittin’ reminiscin’ about nights spent alone / Chicks’d talk, we’d take a walk / Then I’d get nervous and go home”. In the liner notes for the album, Townshend says that because of Daltrey’s “sense of late teenage machismo”, a song about being a flop with the chicks “would never have worked for him”. Townshend says because of that, he never even played the demo for his bandmates, ever.

This box set looks great for lots of reasons, but Pete Townshend’s unfailing honesty in the liner notes is a big plus. Here is more of what he had to say about “The Girls I Could Have Had”:

“I have often said about my early songs that I tried hard to appeal to Roger’s sense of late teenage machismo. Either that, or I attempted to sound like Jan & Dean so that Keith Moon – who was a surf music fan – would get behind the song. Here, a rather machismo and bragging song slipped away because it was more about me than Roger Daltrey, and certainly not a surf number.

The box set drops on November 18, and it’s a must for any Who fanatic.

 

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