I know what you’re thinking “wait, ‘Love Ain’t For Keeping’ is on Who’s Next, arguably The Who’s most popular record! How is that a hidden gem!?” Well, yes, the one you probably know is on Who’s Next. And it’s a great track, acoustic, and Daltrey’s voice is great, and the song is actually pretty sweet. But! That isn’t the version of “Love Ain’t For Keeping” I’m talking about! I’m talking about a much heavier version that is one of my all-time favorite Who tracks!

Before Who’s Next became Who’s Next, Pete Townshend was working on a futuristic 1984 meets the Matrix type of rock opera called Lifehouse that never saw the light of day. One song that was originally intended for Lifehouse was “Love Ain’t For Keeping”. While working on the project, The Who played a series of shows in London, and opened them with a much heavier version of “Love Ain’t For Keeping” with a really awesome jam at the end.  Sadly, The Who abandoned Lifehouse, and many of Townshend’s ideas were thrown aside, and we ended up with the more acoustic version of “Love Ain’t For Keeping” which appears on Who’s Next.

A Townshend-led studio version was eventually released on the 1998 reissue of Odds and Sods, and features that heavier style and that awesome jam at the end. I much prefer it to the Who’s Next version, it’s got the energy that’s fit for a band who many consider to be the greatest live band of all time. Also, in my opinion, this version would have fit right in with “Won’t Get Fooled Again”, “Behind Blue Eyes” and “Bargain” on Who’s Next. Below you can listen to a few different versions, and see how the song changed over the years!

1998 Odds and Sods Reissue

Townshend’s Demo from Lifehouse Chronicles

Live from the Young Vic, 1971


Who’s Next version

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