a bit of history

"It's a difficult situation to be in, the brother of someone so huge. In a constant effort not to sound like Pete, I'd start to restrict myself. I'm sure it's the same for any sibling. I want to walk into a recording studio and just record like anyone else." -- Simon Townshend, Amplifier Jan 1998

Simon Townshend has been recording since the age of nine. He was born to it - son of a Big Band musician, musically talented mother, and legendary big brother Pete. In fact, Simon was born in the room that would later become his recording studio.

Make no mistake, Simon has taken his gift and honed it into a distinctive style and presentation that he can proudly call his own.

Early Work


Warner Bros. (UK) - K- 16503 (1974) "When I'm A Man" / "I Wonder Who'll She'll Be" : 7" single, 1974
You can listen to both songs at Simon's Official Site in the Archive section of the MP3s page!

"Celan in both mind and body and just 14-year-old, this well mannered, slightly introverted youth is thankfully devoid of such adolescent maladies as acne, dandruff, hairy palms or the inherent problems of being Pete Townshend's kid brother. He admits that the latter fact is a bit of a status symbol in terms of school yard chic, but that's about as far as he's prepared to let it go. And though Simon hasn't resorted to concealing his true identity by adopting a professional stage name, he isn't about to bathe in the reflected glory of The Big T."
"Simon wrote 'When I'm a Man', and it comes across by far the best home-grown pubescent popper by anyone in his age group. The song demonstrates the young Townshend's skill at expressing in words and music life as actually seen through the naive eyes of adolescence." - Roy Carr, New Musical Express, 1975


Warner Bros. (UK) - K 16596 - "Janie" / "Smiling Is The Way" : 7" single, 1975


Warner Bros. (UK) - K 16719 - "Turn It On" / "So Sweet" : 7" single, 1976


ON THE AIR was a band Simon formed with Mark Brzezicki and Tony Butler, later of Big Country.

WEA (UK) - K 18242
picture sleeve "Ready For Action" / "Crazy & Youth" : 7" w/PS, 1980
This single featured a cartoon drawn by Mark B. highlighting the lyrics to the A-side.
WEA (UK) - K 18375
picture sleeve "Another Planet" / "Jimmy" + "Perfectly English"
(both b-side tracks live)


LP: 21 Recs (Polydor US)815-708-1
lp cover Sweet Sound (LP)
Sweet Sound, I'm The Answer, On The Scaffolding, Mr. Sunday, So Real, Palace In The Air, More With You, Freakers, Heart Stops
7": 21 Recs (Polydor UK)- POSP 667 -
"I'm The Answer" / "Into The Memory" : w/PS
7" 21 Recs (Polydor US) - 815 992-7 DJ -
"I'm The Answer" / same " Promo 7" w/PS
7": 21 Recs (Polydor US) - 815 992-7 -
"I'm The Answer" / "Into The Memory" : 7" w/PS (not same as UK)
12": 21 Recs (Polydor UK)- POSPX 667 -
12 inch single "I'm The Answer / "Into The Memory" + "Heart Stops": 12" w/PS
12": 21 Recs (Polydor US) - PRO 238-1 -
12 inch "I'm The Answer" LP version / edit : Promo 12" w/PS
7": 21 Recs (Polydor UK) - POSP 676 -
"So Real" / "Freakers" : 7" w/ PS
12": 21 Recs (Polydor US) - PRO 258-1 -
"Sweet Sound" / same : Promo 12" w/PS


Moving Target 21 Recs (Polydor USA) - 825 872-1 - Moving Target (LP)
Meet You, Barriers, Cat's Away, Sorry, Price To Pay, Believe In You, Addiction, Moving Target, Frustrated Hearts, Genuine
21 Recs (Polydor USA) - PRO 357-1 - "Barriers" / same : Promo 12" w/PS, Clear Vinyl. (features an alternate mix)
21 Recs (Polydor USA) - 883 138-7 - "Barriers" / "House On Fire" : 7" w/PS. A-side Nonlp mix
21 Recs (Polydor USA) - PRO 375-1 - "Meet You" / "Price to Pay" : Promo 12"

1987 / 1988

A third record was to have been released on Atlantic, but the label kept Simon busy remixing and re-recording under contract, wasting his time, as they never seemed happy with the results. Once that contract was over, Simon reformed "On the Air". This time 'round, he recruited Andy Shilito, the bassist he had work with on his earlier lps.

In 1988, Simon held a record release party for his first album as the band ON THE AIR. They performed most of the new tracks in a London club before an audience that included his Mum, Pete, Martin Chambers of the Pretenders, and many others. The party was a great success. However, the next day a legal injunction was slapped on the album and it couldn't be released. Some copies of the single are around.

(Simon, Gavin Lewis, Johanne James, Andy Shillito)
Dignity (UK) - DTY 888-111 - "Walking In Wonderland" / "Nice Thing To Do" : 7" w/PS
Dignity (UK) - --?-- - "Broken Heart" / "Nice Thing To Do"


Simon guests on Pete Townshend's Iron Man, his character that of The Owl, one of the principals that make up the chorus of Woodland Creatures. He sings the lead on "Man Machines".
Atlantic -(US lp) - 7 81996-1 ; (US CD) - 81996-2 - The Iron Man - The Musical by Pete Townshend (this contains an edited version). Also UK LP and CD.
Atlantic (US 7") - 7 88875 - A Friend is a Friend / Man Machines (full version). Also on US 12"; UK 7", UK 3" CD-single.


The song "Flame" written by Simon Townshend, Josh Phillips-Gorse, Gavin Lewis, Mark Brzezicki and Jaz Lochrie, is used by brother Pete in Psychoderelict. It appears twice on the full length CD - first as Rosalyn Nathan's demo, and later as the finished product coming over the airwaves (Atlantic CD 7 82494-2). The full Roz finished version is on the "Music Only" Psychoderelict (Atlantic CD 7 82535-2).
Simon's actual demo was released on the English Boy (EP - part 2) CD single - "English Boy", "Early Morning Dreams" (demo) and Simon Townshend's "Flame" demo
Atlantic (UK) - A7370CD2






Though both 'SWEET SOUNDS' and 'MOVING TARGET" attracted critical praise, Simon feels he has grown tremendously since then:

"I listen to stuff I did 15 years ago, and I hate it. I feel the new material has more lasting power." - Simon, Ampliphier, Jan 1998

Throughout 1998, Simon & co were busy writing and recording new material for a new album. Originally hoped to debut in the fall, the CD would not be relased until Spring of '99. In the later part of '98, Simon tested many of the songs in a number of pub gigs in the UK under the band name of Animal Soup. They also launched their own Website ( to promote their gigs and releases. Upon initial launch, it appeared they were moving in the direction of a promoting themselves as a "band" - announcing the upcoming "release by Animal Soup", and going so far as some band members taking on alias's.


March of 1999 brought the first appearance of the new material in CD form. By this time, the "Band" concept was again slightly altered, and the CD was credited to "Simon Townshend" and titled "Animal Soup". This is another brilliant collection of Simon's talent and it is available at through his site:
CD - Simon Townshend - Animal Soup
StirMusic STIR10103
Somewhere Out There, Our Time, For The Money, Highness, I'm Alright, Blind As A Bat, Pie In The Sky, No Angel, Goodbye Everything, Until Tomorrow, I'm The Answer (new version), + a hiden track (Girls On Girls - 1995)

So far he has made two acoustic performances in the US - - We are ALL hoping for MORE soon! A VIDEO of the Arlene Grocery performance is available through his official site!

June/July saw Simon traveling with The British Rock Symphony as guitarist and vocalist for the Europe 1999 Tour


Originally, the BRS (with Roger Daltrey, and Simon) was to have appeared in Washington DC on New Years Eve as part of the "America's New Millennium", but the event was cancelled. He did perform with BRS at a private benefit show for The Kennedy Foundation in Vale Colorado on Jan 8th.
BEN TOWNSHEND was on drums!

Simon traveled with the BRS in Australia with Daltrey and son Ben during Feb and March. He and Ben continued on with the BRS when it made the rounds in the US from March through April.

In May of this year, Simon released a collection of acoustic performances that spanned his entire catalog - Bare Bodies, Bare Assets. Available from his own site. Also available is the brand new (July 2000) Ages cd-ep - featuring new studio tracks!

Simon also began "Simon By Himself" - a section on his website for where he puts up an essay, thought, feeling, opinion, complaint, announcement, request, ANYTHING on a (so far) daily basis! Be sure to check out the MASSSIVE and RAPIDLY growing MP3 archive there as well!


Simon was back in the studio working again with producer/drummer Andy kravitz on some tracks, and saw a number of band and solo performances in the US during the summer months.

November saw a live reunion of On The Air (Simon, Mark Brzezicki and Tony Butler) celebrating the Track Records release of OTA material!


Simon was brought on board as "musical director" for the Who's 2002 tour! He provided backup vocals and played second guitar on may songs.

Inbetween Who gigs, he was able to fit in some solo shows as well, that features some great new "dot-bom" tunes!



Special thanks to Bill Bedzyk, John Brawley, Chapelizod, Kim+Lester, and countless other generous fans for their valuable input!
Last update: 2002

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