October 25, 2020

Athena

The demo version of this song, titled "Theresa" appears on Pete’s album Scoop 3. Pete: "The song was written after I had been to see The Wall with my friend Bill Minkin and the actress Theresa Russell who was about to marry the film director Nic Roeg with whom I hoped to work on a new version ofLifehouse. I got drunk as usual, but I had taken my first line of cocaine that very evening before meeting her and decided I was in love. When I came to do the vocal on the following day [Feb. 15, 1980] I was really out of my mind with frustration and grief because she didn’t reciprocate."

Pete also wrote about this later in the thinly fictionalized short story "Champagne On The Terraces" in his book Horse’s Neck. Some of the lyrics are quoted there as well as in the story "Horses" where he recounts a dream about discovering a decaying white horse in a cottage with a massive snake curled inside of it. He explains the meaning of the dream, as "this is a gift from God, a presentation of his grace. If it arrives with the package torn I can’t argue. I’m ready to be humiliated, to suffer, to go through whatever I need to go through. I won’t betray God or his world." Although Pete says this song was not intended forLifehouse, a character named Athena appears as the voice of The Grid in Pete’s 1993 Lifehouse re-write Psychoderelict.

After Pete had disguised its origins by changing the woman’s name to Athena, The Who released this as the album’s first single backed with "A Man Is A Man." It was released in the U.K. as WHO 6 September 25, 1982 and went to #40 in the Billboard charts and #31 in Cash Box. It was also released there as a 7-inch picture disk and as a 12-inch picture disc with "Won’t Get Fooled Again" added on the b-side. In the U.S. it was released earlier, charting on September 4, as Warner Brothers 29905 backed with "It’s Your Turn". It peaked at #28, The Who’s last Top Forty single in the U.S. It was performed live during the first half of The Who’s 1982 tour. Oh, and the line everyone asks about is "she’s just a girl, she’s a bomb" not "she’s a whore". Click here to see the album’s lyric sheet: Athena