Nearly 50 years after it was initially conceived, Pete Townshend's science fiction concept album Lifehouse will finally be fully realized -- not in musical form, but as a graphic novel.
Townshend has teamed with Heavy Metal magazine and writer and illustrator James Harvey on the 150-page project, which will be published in July 2020.
Originally begun as the follow-up to The Who's concept album Tommy, Lifehouse was abandoned when it turned out that Townshend's vision for it -- which also included a film -- may have been too ambitious. In an attempt to create a special bond between the band and its audience, The Who actually played a couple of concerts in London with the idea of setting up a more immersive live experience, but they were deemed a failure and Lifehouse was scrapped.
But not its songs. “Baba O’Riley”, “Behind Blue Eyes” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again” became the core of Who's Next, while more songs from it were released on the Odds and Sods compilation. In 2000, Townshend self-released a six-CD box set called Lifehouse Chronicles that included all his demos, further explorations of its material and even a radio play based on it.
Townshend calls the graphic novel "perhaps the most exciting creative development in my long career. Lifehouse always had a strong and important visual story that was never even touched on." He adds, “If I had completed my art studies, instead of staying with The Who, I might have made my own graphic novels. I am excited then, with huge anticipation, that at last Lifehouse can be realized visually, and as a story -- part science fiction, part spiritual allegory.”