It was 36 years ago today (September 4th, 1982) that the Who released their final studio album for 24 years, the ill-fated, It's Hard. The album, which followed Pete Townshend's stint in rehab for alcohol, cocaine, and heroin abuse, also came after the completion of Townshend's third solo album, the critically acclaimed, All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes. For the first time in the band's history, Townshend actually pooled Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle, and Kenney Jones over what subjects they were interested in before he wrote the material, with global concerns topping the list. Who producer-engineer Glyn Johns was back behind the boards for the first time since 1978's Who Are You.

The album's lead single, "Athena" peaked at a disappointing Number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100. Interestingly, although the Who did perform seven of the 12 tracks from It's Hard over the course of its 1982 Farewell Tour -- "Athena" was only played 10 times during the 42-date trek, and was dropped entirely from the second leg of the tour. Roger Daltrey admitted to us that he was never a fan of how "Athena" turned out on record -- or in concert: "No, I never liked that song. It's a great record. I think what happened with that song, it was originally called 'Teresa' and then Pete was talking to me about Nick Roeg's girlfriend (Theresa Russell) and how he fancied her, and that song was written about her -- but then it changed into 'She's a bomb' and I think I've got a psychological problem with it. I listened to it on the record the other day, and it's a great record; there's so much energy on that thing but I still don't think there's a center to that song. The fact that he changed the title in that and didn't stick to what it was supposed to be lost its center to me."

The Who's It's Hard was released on September 4th, 1982 and peaked at Number Eight on the Billboard 200 -- four spots lower than 1981's Face Dances collection. In Britain, It's Hard just missed the Top 10, going so high as Number 11.

Although never a consistent seller or radio favorite, It's Hard was certified Gold in November 1982, and proved to have some legs on the airwaves at the time, with "Athena" hitting Number 28 on the Hot 100 and Number Three on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart -- where the album found its greatest success, with "Cry If You Want" reaching Number 34, the John Entwistle-written "Dangerous" peaking at Number 38, "It's Hard" squeaking into the list's Top 40 at Number 39, and "Eminence Front" topping out with a Number 68 placing on the Hot 100.

The Who's last new studio set, Endless Wire, was released in October 2006 and peaked at Number Seven on the Billboard 200 album charts.

On September 25th, Kenney Jones will publish his long awaited memoir, titled Let The Good Times Roll: My Life In Small Faces, Faces, And The Who.

AUDIO: PETE TOWNSHEND ON WHY HE QUIT WRITING FOR THE WHO
AUDIO: KENNEY JONES ON PROBLEMS IN THE WHO
AUDIO: ROGER DALTREY ON KENNEY JONES BEING THE WRONG DRUMMER FOR THE WHO
AUDIO: PETE TOWNSHEND ON WHY THE WHO SPLIT IN THE '80S
AUDIO: ROGER DALTREY ON 'ATHENA'