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"It Was You"
(Pete Townshend's First Song)
The Detours / The Naturals / The Who / Chaos & Co
And then there were (4) four... (Where it all begins)
This is a page to celebrate Pete Townshend's very first song, "It Was You". Some background...
The song was first recorded in 1963 by The Detours (pre-The Who with Doug Sandom on drums). (2) Two <original> recordings survive (a false start and the full song). The second version of the song was released and recorded in 1964 by the UK band, The Naturals. Since The Detours never released their song, The Naturals released their version as the "b" side of their single, "Look At Me Now". The Naturals had to learn the song via a tape or acetate of the <Detours> song. In conversations I've had with the surviving member of The Naturals, Roy Hoather*, he believes his band learned it from an acetate. The third version, (later in 1964), was recorded by The Who with Keith Moon (prior to their temporary name change to "The High Numbers"). This version was never released. Lastly, the fourth version was recorded in 1966, by an Australian band, Chaos & Co.
* ..."it is the who not us" (comment from Roy after listening to the sound sample I sent him).
Pictured above are (4) four, 7 inch 45 RPM records (two acetates). A newly discovered 1963 UK acetate on the Dick James Label (The Detours 1963 recording), a 1964 UK Promo ("b" side) of The Naturals single, the 1964 UK acetate of The Who recording and the 1966 Australia Chaos & Co version. While it is perfectly clear what the latter (3) three records are, the Dick James label version was a bit of a mystery. The label is associated with The Naturals, but the version on the acetate doesn't sound like The Naturals. In the latter half of 2015, a record exec from Universal had the opportunity to listen to the 1963 Detours and 1964 Who recordings. Here's how he described these versions of "It Was You":
" 'It Was You' (Detours) - Like the above** very much of the time. Think early Beatles, Everly’s etc. Again solid."
And regarding the 1964 Who version:
" 'It Was You" (The Who 4.6.64) – Different from the previous version and sounds like The Who we know and love."
** Referencing the other Detours recordings he listened to.
And from the book, "Pretend You're In A War", a very interesting passage from both the author and from former drummer, Doug Sandom:
"Townshend had often heard his father telling him that the real money was in songwriting. That summer Townshend presented The Detours with two songs he’d written: ‘Please Don’t Send Me Home’ and ‘It Was You’. Both sounded like the sort of easy-going beat-pop that was all the rage at the height of Beatlemania. Doug Sandom recalls that it was through Cliff Townshend that The Detours were introduced to Barry Gray, the musical director to the children’s TV puppet show Fireball XL5. Gray offered them use of his home studio in north London. The band recorded the two Townshend compositions, and a cover of Chuck Berry’s ‘Come On’, a song the Rolling Stones had just released as a single. With his father’s help, ‘It Was You’ and ‘Please Don’t Send Me Home’ were enough for Townshend to attract a songwriting deal from The Beatles’ co-publisher Dick James. Townshend had now become The Detours’ lead guitarist and their songwriter: ‘I remember showing up at art college having visited the publisher, full of talk of “advances” and “really big money”.’ The ‘really big money’ failed to materialize, but the balance of power within the group had subtly shifted. Daltrey’s perceived leadership faced another challenge. ‘Pete had written a song,’ says Doug Sandom. ‘None of us had done that. It was obvious he had a talent.’ Sadly The Detours’ interpretation of ‘Come On’ has gone unheard for five decades, and Sandom can’t recall how it compared with the Rolling Stones’ version."
So... what does this leave us with? Below are comparative sound samples of the (4) four versions. The Detours version sounds exactly as described above and not at all like The Naturals. I spent some time cleaning up the acetate a bit and provided (2) two additional mixes, to help compare the versions. Enjoy!
Sound Samples (In Date Order):
1963 - The Detours ("Dick James" Label) Version:
Original Mix Original Mix w/2db Gain On Vocals Stereo Mix w/2db Gain On Vocals
1964 - The Naturals Version:
1964 - The Who Version:
1966 - Chaos & Co Version:
If any new information becomes available, I will update this page accordingly...
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