Join Together

Album: Who's Better, Who's Best (1972)
Charted: 9 17
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Songfacts®:

  • A call to "join together with the band" seemed a little out of character for The Who, and especially Pete Townshend, who famously threatened to kill anyone who came on stage during their Woodstock performance. Taken less literally, it makes more sense as a plea to young people, urging them to unite and take action.

    Townshend wrote the song in 1970 for his Lifehouse project, a Rock Opera that never came to be. Many of the songs Townshend wrote for Lifehouse ended up on the 1971 Who's Next album. "Join Together" was recorded for the album, but didn't make the cut. Instead, it was released as a single in the summer of 1972. Townshend has cited the song as one of his favorites, telling Melody Maker he thought it was "incredible" and was surprised the public didn't like it as much as he did.
  • This was a live favorite for The Who. On their 1975-'76 tour, which included the largest indoor concert ever played to that point (70,000 at the Pontiac Silverdome in Michigan on December 6, 1975), they would play a slower version of the song as part of a jam that often included "Naked Eye," "Roadrunner" and "My Generation."
  • Pete Townshend created the intro using an ARP synthesizer, which he also used on "Who Are You?" Townshend, who was very good with keyboards, also used an organ on the track, a Lowrey Berkshire TBO-1. This instrument also shows up in "Baba O'Riley" and "Won't Get Fooled Again." When The Who performed the song live, the intro was played on a Jew's harp by both lead singer Roger Daltrey and drummer Keith Moon.

    Townshend also used two different harmonicas on the track: a chord harmonica and a bass harmonica (played live by bassist John Entwhistle).
  • In 2008, Nissan used this in commercials for their Maxima model. The concept was the practicality and sportiness joining together in the vehicle. In the '00s, The Who made many licensing deals, opening the floodgates for their music to be used in movies, commercials and TV shows.
  • Roger Daltrey (from Uncut magazine): "I remember when Pete came up with 'Join Together,' he literally wrote it the night before we recorded it. I quite like it as a single, it's got a good energy to it. But at that time I was still very doubtful about bringing in the synthesizer. I just felt that with a lot of songs we'd end up spending so much time creating these piddly one-note noises that it would've been better just doing it on a guitar. I mean, I'm a guitar man. I love the guitar; to me it's the perfect rock instrument. I don't think Pete did much with those sequencing things that he couldn't have done on the guitar anyway."

Comments: 1

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyA taped of The Who performing "Join Together" was aired on the ABC-TV program "American Bandstand."
    On December 9th, 1972. A video of the Who's "Join Together" was aired on the late Dick Clark's 'American Bandstand'...
    Five months earlier on July 22nd it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; eventually it peaked at #17 and spent 10 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #9 in the United Kingdom...
    R.I.P. Keith Moon (1946 - 1978), John Entwistle (1944 - 2002), and Mr. Clark (1929 - 2012).
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