The Who - It's Hard

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The Who - It's Hard
The who its hard album.jpg
Studio album by
 The Who
Released 4 September 1982
Recorded June 1982
Studio Turn Up-Down Studio at Glyn Johns' home in Surrey, England
  • Rock
  • hard rock
Length 49:06
  • Polydor
  • Warner Bros.
Producers Glyn Johns
The Who chronology
It's Hard
Who's Greatest Hits
Singles from It's Hard
  1. "Athena / A Man Is a Man"
    Released: 4 September 1982
  2. "Eminence Front / One at a Time"
    Released: 25 December 1982
  3. "It's Hard / Dangerous"
    Released: February 1983
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2/5 stars
Robert Christgau C
MusicHound 1/5
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 2.5/5 stars


  "It's Hard" is the tenth studio album by English rock band the Who. Released on 4 September 1982, it was their last album until 2006's "Endless Wire", and therefore the last to feature bassist John Entwistle, who died in 2002. It was also the final Who album with drummer Kenney Jones, as well as the last to be released on Warner Bros. Records in the US. It was released on Polydor Records in the UK, peaking at No. 11, and on Warner Bros. in the US where it peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart. The US rights to both this album and "Face Dances" subsequently reverted to the band, who then licensed them to MCA Records (later Geffen Records, itself once distributed by WB) for reissue. The album achieved gold status by the RIAA in the US in November 1982.




The album cover, designed by Richard Evens, depicts a young boy playing an Atatri Space Duel arcade game. This is intended as a contemporary update to the song "Pinball Wizard," from the album "Tommy".



The first track on the album, "Athena", peaked at No. 28 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart. "Dangerous" and "One at a Time" were written by Entwistle for his failed rock opera that later merged with "Who Are You".

In 1997, MCA Records re-released the album with new mixes for several songs, correcting problems evident in the original mixes for "Athena" and "Eminence Front".

Daltrey later said in 1994 that "It's Hard should never have been released" and that he also had arguments with Townshend over the release of the album. He stated that the record company wanted them to make a new record and they also wanted them to do a tour for the album, so in many ways they were forced to release it. In a 1985 interview Townshend had said "Face Dances and It’s Hard were made by a band who were very unsure about whether or not they wanted to be making a record, and I think that’s a terrible doubt."

"I've Known No War" features the orchestra arrangement from the 1979 Quadrophenia film version of "I've Had Enough".


Critical reception

Upon its release in 1982, Parke Puterbaugh of Rolling Stone gave it the magazine's highest rating (5 stars) and commented that it was, "their most vital and coherent album since [the 1971 album] Who's Next". Puterbaugh also proclaimed that the song "I've Known No War" was "a song that could become an anthem to our generation much the way 'Won't Get Fooled Again' did a decade ago."

Robert Christgau, on the other hand, icily disparaged the "prolix" nature and "operatic pretensions" of Townshend's musical ideas, as well as his "book-club poetry".

Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic considered the album to be an "undistinguished final effort" with "few memorable melodies and little energy."


Track listing

All songs written by Pete Townshend except where noted. The 1997 digitally remastered reissue of It's Hard added four live tracks recorded on the last show of the Who's 1982 tour, on 17 December in Toronto.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Athena" 3:46
2. "It's Your Turn" (John Entwistle) 3:39
3. "Cooks County" 3:51
4. "It's Hard" 3:47
5. "Dangerous" (Entwistle) 3:36
6. "Eminence Front" 5:39
Side two
No. Title Length
1. "I've Known No War" 5:56
2. "One Life's Enough" 2:22
3. "One at a Time" (Entwistle) 3:20
4. "Why Did I Fall for That" 3:56
5. "A Man Is a Man" 3:56
6. "Cry If You Want" 5:18




The Who

  • Roger Daltrey – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, backing vocals on "Eminence Front" and "One at a Time"
  • Pete Townshend – lead guitar, backing vocals, lead vocals on "Eminence Front", co-lead vocals on "Athena" and "Cooks County"
  • John Entwistle – bass, backing vocals, lead vocals on "One at a Time"
  • Kenney Jones – drums

Additional musicians

  • Andy Fairweather-Low – rhythm guitar on "It's Your Turn"
  • Tim Gorman – keyboards


  • Jon Astley – executive producer
  • Cgris Charlesworth – executive producer
  • Bill Curbishley – executive producer
  • Greg Fulginiti – mastering
  • Glyn Johns – producer, engineer
  • Doug Sax – mastering
  • Bob Ludwig – remastering
  • Robert Rosenberg – executive producer
  • Richard Evans – album art design; direction
  • Graham Hughes – photography


Chart performance

Weekly charts

Chart Peak
Australian ARIA Albums Chart 55
Canadian Albums Chart 3
Dutch Mega Albums Chart 43
Norwegian Albums Chart 28
Swedish Albums Chart 47
U.S. Billboard 200 8
UK Albums Chart 11



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada) Gold 50,000^
United States (RIAA) Gold 500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone




The Who - It's Hard

UK Polydor WHOD 5066 stereo (1982) 1st press.

The vinyl record has remained in excellent condition.

Audio quality is very clear and strong throughout.

Both record centre labels are clean, unmarked, and free from tears, stains or stickers.

The album cover is in excellent condition, displaying only minimal signs of wear.

The album cover has a strong, undamaged spine, displaying very clear, printed script.

The original colour, printed inner sleeve is excellently presented, displaying only minimal signs of wear.

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