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The Who Announces First New Album In 13 Years, Shares 'Ball & Chain'

The Who at Wembley Stadium in July 2019.
Samir Hussein/WireImage
The Who at Wembley Stadium in July 2019.

Fifty-five years after first forming in London, The Who is back with an album of brand-new songs. WHO, due out later this fall, will be the band's 12th studio record. It includes the first single, "Ball & Chain," a gritty swamp-rock critique of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and the powers that have kept it open.

"Down in Guantanamo," Roger Daltrey sings, "we still got that ball and chain. That pretty piece of Cuba designed to cause men pain."

The track features a number of classic Who sounds, including an arpeggiated piano line that opens the song in the spirit of "Baba O'Riley," as well as windmill power chords from Pete Townshend.

"Roger and I are both old men now, by any measure," Townshend says in a statement announcing the record. "So I've tried to stay away from romance, but also from nostalgia if I can. ... Some of the songs refer to the explosive state of things today."

Townshend and Daltrey are joined on the album by drummer Zak Starkey and bassist Pino Palladino.


WHO is due out Nov. 22 via Interscope.

Track Listing

"All This Music Must Fade"
"Ball & Chain"
"I Don't Wanna Get Wise"
"Detour"
"Beads On One String"
"Hero Ground Zero"
"Street Song"
"I'll Be Back"
"Break The News"
"Rockin' In Rage"
"She Rocked My World"

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Robin Hilton is a producer and co-host of the popular NPR Music show All Songs Considered.