My Top 1000 Songs #533: However Much I Booze

[I've been writing up my Top 1000 songs on a daily basis--you can see them all in descending order by hitting the All My Favorite Songs tag.]

After the artistic peak of 1973's Quadrophenia--and nearly a decade of triumph after triumph--1975's The Who By Numbers can't help but feel like a bit of a letdown. It's merely a solid album full of mostly great music, something any band but The Who might kill to accomplish. More than anything, the record has the feel of Pete Townshend growing (or at least stumbling) into adulthood, the initial hints of the maturity he'd show on 80s solo masterpieces like Empty Glass and All The Best Cowboys, but with the added benefit of being backed by one of the finest rock & roll bands on the planet.

For me, the album's highlight is "However Much I Booze," a self-deprecating confessional sung by Townshend, with some unusually funky guitar licks. "It's clear to all my friends that I habitually lie; I just bring them down. I claim proneness to exaggeration, but the truth lies in my frustration." It's a far cry from "Hope I die before I get old," and arguably more appropriate for Empty Glass than a Who record, but if you're one of rock's most important songwriters dragging your band kicking & screaming into middle age (ok, Pete was just turning 30, but middle age in rock & roll years), you can do a whole lot worse.

I was always disappointed this didn't become a lasting part of the live setlist (or even Pete's solo sets), but here's a rare 1975 performance.