"Athena" was originally written by Pete Townshend after an encounter with the American actress Theresa Russell. After seeing a Pink Floydperformance on their Wall Tour, with Russell and his friend, Bill Minkin, Townshend was rejected by the actress when he attempted to romance her. Townshend said of the incident:
The song was written after I had been to see The Wall with my friend Bill Minkin and the actress Theresa Russell who was about to marry the film director Nic Roeg with whom I hoped to work on a new version of Lifehouse. I got drunk as usual, but I had taken my first line of cocaine that very evening before meeting her and decided I was in love. When I came to do the vocal on the following day [Feb. 15, 1980] I was really out of my mind with frustration and grief because she didn't reciprocate.
Under the working title "Teresa," the song's name was changed to "Athena." Despite this alteration, Townshend still felt the song was too personal, claiming, "It was just too revealing." Roger Daltrey, however disliked the song for this change.
No, I never liked that song ["Athena"]. 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 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.
Wow - I'm a bit of a Townshend freak, and I've never heard that demo! Thanks for posting that!