"Eminence Front" is a song written and sung by Pete Townshend of The Who; it appears as the sixth track on the group's studio album, It's Hard. The single reached #68 on the Billboard Hot 100. It is the only song from the album that the band has opted to play live after its initial tours directly after releasing the album. Lead singer Roger Daltrey, vocally critical of the album, described "Eminence Front" as the only song on it that he felt was worthy of being released (although he later requested "Cry If You Want" during their 2006 tour, incorporating the lyrics into an extended version of "My Generation.")
The song itself focuses on the hedonistic lifestyle that was prevalent during the 1980s. The lyrics concern a party in which people ignore their problems and merely try to hide behind a facade — an "eminence front." Townshend has introduced the song in live performances with the words, "this song is about what happens when you take too much white powder. It's called 'Eminence Front'."
Early in the song, there is a syncopation, some say a flaw in the singing, where Daltrey and Pete Townshend end the title term at slightly different times. That flaw was edited, and a corrected version appears on the 1997 re-release of the CD (a live version, recorded on the band's final date of their 1982 tour in Toronto, appears as a bonus track on the re-release). The song had a video, shot at a rehearsal in Landover, Maryland, during their '82 US tour, which enjoyed consistent airplay on MTV upon its release.
In addition to the previously mentioned flaw, the original mix of the song shunted Townshend's vocals to the right channel, similar to Roger's vocal on "Athena," which had been panned hard left. Both songs were re-mixed for the 1997 MCA remaster, and both vocals have been centered.
"Eminence Front" was scheduled to be released as a single in the UK by Polydor Records in 1982. The catalog number was WHO 7 but the single was never released. The picture sleeve, by Richard Evans depicted a 1930s Art Deco house in Miami.
The song appears in the soundtrack to the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. It is also a downloadable and playable song in the music video game "Rock Band".
CBS had intended to use the song as the theme song for the London-based spin-off of its popular CSI franchise, but the show was ultimately scrapped.
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