It was 42 years ago today (April 21st, 1980) that Pete Townshend released his first official mainstream solo album, Empty Glass. The album followed two previous non-Who related projects — 1977's Rough Mix, the joint album with Ronnie Lane, and 1972's Who Came First, which was made up of multi-track one-man band demos, nearly all of which were intended for the Who.
Empty Glass was part of a high profile new solo contract with Atlantic Records, who released the set through its Atco imprint and publicized Townshend firmly as a solo artist for the 1980's. This all happened despite the fact that the Who were not only alive and thriving — but in the midst of a 43-date European and North American tour — as Empty Glass was hitting the street and Townshend's personal life was quickly unraveling.
The album, which was co-produced by Chris Thomas — at the point a red-hot choice due to his recent work with the Sex Pistols, Paul McCartney, and the Pretenders — peaked at Number Five on the Billboard 200 albums chart and spent nine weeks in the Top 10. The album scored Townshend his biggest solo hit with “Let My Love Open The Door,” which peaked at Number Nine, and tied the Who's only Top 10 hit — 1967's “I Can See For Miles.”