Who Came First (1972) was Pete Townshend’s first solo album after leaving The Who. While the title was likely somewhat of a dig at the band itself, it was also a play on words, referring to the teachings of his spiritual master Meher Baba. The album was dedicated to Meher Baba, and the cover featured both photos of him, and a painting done by him.

Some of the lyrics reflect the dreamy, idealistic side of the sixties and early seventies. Others are inspired by the Eastern Spiritual views Townshend was following at the time. "Pure and Easy" reflects an unique sense of energy and optimism.

We all know success, when we all find our own dreams
And our love is enough to knock down any walls
And the future's been seen, as men try to realize
The simple secret of the note in us all in us all

The album also includes songs like "Time is Passing" that describe a bitter-sweet longing.

Find it, I got to hear it all again...
My heart has heard the sound of harmony
Blind to it, as my tears fall again
It's only by the music I'll be free

My personal favorite song on the album is "Evolution". The first verse appears to echo the Eastern spiritual view of reincarnation and evolution of the soul. The verses describe a series of incarnations, of ever increasing levels-from a stone, to a daisy, to a frog, ultimately culminating in a human verse. The last verse describes the destiny of a human incarnation, speaking of finding a master who can reveal the secrets of the universe:

Well, I've been a tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor
Known good times and disaster
but now I have a teacher and my teacher has a master
and the master is perfection, so he'll help us get there faster
Up until this point, the song could have been written or sung by just about any spiritual seeker. But then, will a flourish only Townshend could pull off he adds:
Don't need no proof, 'cause that's the truth,
and I'll drink to that!

Song list:

  • Pure and Easy (Pete Townshend)
  • Evolution (Ronnie Lane)
  • Forever is No Time at All (Billy Nichols/ Caleb Quaye)
  • Nothing is Everything(Pete Townshend)
  • Time is Passing (Pete Townshend)
  • There's a Heartache Following Me (Reeves)
  • Sheraton Gibson (Pete Townshend)
  • Content (Pete Townshend)
  • Parvardigar (Pete Townshend; Adopted from Meher Baba's Universal Prayer)