Pete Townshend’s “Can’t Outrun the Truth” is his latest song and first solo single release since “English Boy” in 1993.
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The introspective tune—haunted by spectral lap steel and carried by sturdy strums throughout—finds The Who founder reflecting on the lonely days of lockdown. “Can’t Outrun the Truth” was composed and produced by Townshend’s wife, singer-songwriter Rachel Fuller.
“We’d just moved house and Pete was as happy as Larry up in his studio, working every day,” Fuller shared in a statement, “and I put my back out, I was just climbing the walls, 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,” she continued. “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 she asked Townshend to cut the demo for the track. “I’ve helped Rachel make the demos for several of her theatrical projects,” Townshend added. “She’s a really fast worker. It’s not that you say to me, ‘Let’s go into the studio for two weeks and work on this project.’ We do it two hours later, or an hour later, it’s done—so it’s easy to work with her.”
The song was recorded in 2021 at their home studio and is being released now to raise funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Two hundred 12-inch, signed singles of the new track will be made available to those in attendance at the Royal Albert Hall’s Teenage Cancer Trust shows this March. Townshend’s hit “Let My Love Open The Door” will be featured as the B-side.
“The pandemic years were terrible for charities,” Townshend explained, “the Teenage Cancer Trust was created in order to take the money from a series of concerts at the Albert Hall every year and various other things and that had all dropped out. So, the idea of doing this, which is it’s something that has sprung out of Lockdown about mental illness, but also for this particular charity. If you’ve got a scenario in which somebody in your family or a teenager has got cancer, they’re being treated, Lockdown hits, and you’re not allowed to go and visit them. There’s a poignancy to the whole thing about the song.”
Listen to “Can’t Outrun the Truth” below.
Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images