My Top 1000 Songs #279: Keep Me Turning
Pete Townshend has written and recorded a lot of essential songs in the rock & roll canon, both for The Who and his solo records, that are better known and have clocked a lot more time on my stereo. But something about the gentle, understated "Keep Me Turning" has always hit my sweet spot. It showed up on Rough Mix, his 1977 collaboration with the late Ronnie Lane (of the Small Faces/Faces), and like much of that record, it has a modest cast-off side-project feel while still being an excellent bit of songwriting.
The verses are all folk-rock sweetness, acoustic guitars and keyboard, small-town narratives with Pete's sensitive earnestness; while the amps get turned up for the chorus. Plus some really pretty fretwork in the bridge. I'm tempted to front-load this list with more obvious contributions from Who's Next, Quadrophenia, Empty Glass, etc., but somehow this little ditty slyly insinuates itself.The song wasn't typically part of Pete's live repertoire, but here's a performance from a 1993 concert (at 9:42 into the show, audio only):Interestingly, for such a minor song in the catalog, there are a lot of YouTubers who give it a whirl. Here's one: