It Must Be Done

Album: Not Released on an Album (2014)

Songfacts®:

  • Townshend wrote this song for the TV drama series The Americans with the show's composer Nathan Barr. The pair spent a couple of months exchanging musical ideas before the tune emerged. Townshend told Billboard magazine about their collaboration. "What I was struck by was that Nate composes on the cello, an instrument my partner and orchestrator Rachel (Fuller) uses, so I have listened to a lot of cello music and I have really fallen in love with it," he said.

    "We exchanged ideas (between England and Los Angeles) and I was immediately struck by this very evocative piece he had written, very plaintive. I added some guitar, then came up with some lyrics."
  • Townshend and Barr wrote the song for a scene involving a car being shadowed, but after the episode was edited it was felt it did not fit the scene so was switched to a different one. Asked by Billboard what elements of the show did he want to incorporate into the song, Townshed replied: "I wanted to keep it very simple. Here's this couple whose whole life is about duty, duty without honor, duty without explanation. There are no accolades. They're not living a lie but doing things they find hard to do. Everybody has a part of their life that's difficult to explain. For me it's why the f--k am I in the Who?"
  • This was the first time Townshend had written a song specially for television. However, his tunes have been used on the medium before, most notably as the themes for CSI ("Who Are You?"), CSI: NY ("Baba O'Riley") and CSI: Miami ("Won't Get Fooled Again").

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