The Who‘s Pete Townshend has today (March 24) released “Can’t Outrun the Truth,” his first solo single since 1993’s “English Boy.” The song was written and produced by Townshend’s partner Rachel Fuller under her Charlie Pepper alter ego and is accompanied by a video directed by Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, Townshend’s first as a solo artist since 1982’s “Face Dances, Pt. 2.”
Proceeds from download and vinyl sales of “Can’t Outrun the Truth” will benefit the Teenage Cancer Trust U.K., of which the Who’s members have been longtime supporters. The single artwork was created by British artist Damien Hirst, and is also represented on a limited pressing of 200 12-inch singles autographed by Townshend and backed by his ’80s solo hit “Let My Love Open the Door.”
Townshend plays lap steel guitar and violin on “Can’t Outrun the Truth,” which was recorded in September 2021 in his home studio. Fuller says the song was inspired by feeling helpless during the height of the COVID-19 lockdown and was exacerbated by a back injury that further limited her movement.
“I was just climbing the walls,” she says. “I couldn’t do any creative work and obviously, we couldn’t go anywhere. And I really started to think about how unbelievably difficult this period of time was going to be for so many people. I wrote lyrics and then I sat at the piano and wrote the music, and then I thought, oh, I really would like to record it, because it’s really not a bad song at all — and my singing days are long over. So, I asked Pete to record the demo.”
The track’s release coincides with several Teenage Cancer Trust benefits at London’s Royal Albert Hall, with the Who’s Roger Daltrey set to headline one of them on Sunday (March 26) alongside the Verve’s Richard Ashcroft. The show will also feature the live debut of Far From Saints, a new band led by Stereophonics’ Kelly Jones.
The Who will return to the road June 14 in Barcelona and has dates on the books through Aug. 28 in Sandringham, U.K. As previously reported, Townshend guests on Ann-Margret’s upcoming album, Born To Be Wild.