Open Letter To Simon Townsend


For the past quarter-century, I’ve been pointing out to people that you are, in fact, Pete Townsend’s little brother. Of course, it’d make not the faintest shred of difference, and nobody would care…

…but for your great shining moment, Sweet Sound – the album that put you on the map, back in 1983.  And the cornerstone of that album was “I Am The Answer”, one of the most perfect pop songs ever written.

Cut with your old band (bassist Tony Butler and drummer Mark Bzrzecki, who joined Big Country around this time), centered around a spare, chiming guitar part and the gorgeous interplay between you and Butler’s vocals, the song was an exhilarating wonder. I’ve been wanting to find it for years.

So now I have an IPod, and ITumes.  And I went looking.  And found it.

Sort of.

No, the version available on ITunes is not the Sweet Sound take.  It’s a newer version.

And Simon?  Bubbie?  We gotta talk.

Where the old version was low-key and gorgeous, the new one is shrill and constipated-sounding.  Where Tony Butler’s harmonies on the original defied vocal gravity, the new version sounds like you’re backed by a bunch of Scottish football hooligans.

See to this, can we?

That is all.

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