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Music

Watch The Who play 'Let My Love Open the Door' for the first time in three decades

@TylerGolsen

Back in 1980, Pete Townshend kicked off his solo career in earnest with his second LP Empty Glasses. Townshend had stepped away from The Who before, with his 1972 solo debut Who Came First and the 1977 Ronnie Lane collaboration Rough Mix, but Empty Glasses was the first time that Townshend truly struck out on his own. Keith Moon had died two years prior, and The Who only had two more albums in them with Kenney Jones before their split in 1983.

Empty Glasses featured Townshend’s biggest solo hit, ‘Let My Love Open the Door’, which reached number nine in the US but failed to crack the top 40 in the UK. That matched the peak that The Who reached with ‘I Can See For Miles’ back in 1968. Even though the band had 14 top ten hits in their home country, the lack of a chart-topping single on either side of the Atlantic was a sour point for the band for a number of years.

When The Who reunited for their first major tour in over six years in 1989, ‘Let My Love Open The Door’ was somewhat contentiously included in the setlist. By the time the group regrouped again in the 1990s, the song had disappeared as the band focused on bringing their rock operas like Quadrophenia and Tommy to the stage. Even as the band once again brought the hits back, ‘Let My Love Open The Door’ was clearly a Townshend track, not a Who track.

That changed when The Who appeared at the Royal Albert Hall on Friday, March 25th. The band was playing their annual Teenage Cancer Trust, and during an acoustic portion of the concert, the band broke out ‘Let My Love Open The Door’ for the first time in three decades. “Well, this next song is definitely not a Who hit,” Townshend told the crowd. “It’s a Pete hit.”

Despite it being Townshend’s song, Roger Daltrey took on the live vocals for the track. Daltrey did the same for ‘Eminence Front’, another song usually sung by Townshend. The show was a loose and somewhat haphazard affair: ‘Squeeze Box’ and ‘The Kids Are Alright’ were stopped and restarted early in the concert, while ‘Break the News’ was played twice, allegedly because Daltrey wasn’t happy with the first pass.

However, it was worth it to see the resuscitation of some rare cuts, including seeing the live debut of ‘Beads on One String’, which was dedicated to Ukraine. The song was included on the band’s most recent LP, 2019’s Who, and was finally dusted off for its first stage performance on Friday.

Check out the first performance of ‘Let My Love Open The Door’ in 33 years down below.