THE WHO
- An appreciation -

The Who - Then And Now Cover
THE WHO
- 'Then And Now' Cover


THE WHO ANECDOTES...

The Who once made the legendary actress Bette Davis faint on a CBS TV show. It was 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour', and, Keith being Keith, he added a little (literally) explosive content to the band's usual instrumental destruction, at the end of their performance. Townshend lost his hearing for a time, and a piece of cymbal fragment made its way into Moon's leg. Mickey Rooney was left to comfort the fainting Ms. Davis.

Jimi Hendrix saw The Who smash their instruments at the Monterey International Pop Festival, and felt he had to go a little further, so smashed his guitar, and then burnt the unfortunate axe, too.

Herman's Hermits once toured with The Who, and, after a cake fight with the Herman's, Keith Moon lost his two front teeth - it was Keith's 21st birthday.

On 'My Generation' Pete Townshend commented it was a cry from a lost soul, "I was very, very lost."

Keith said he was never asked to join The Who, only being asked, "What are you doing on Monday?"

For The Who's first hit single, 'I Can't Explain (for which the band earned 1,000 between them)', producer Shel Talmy's idea was to use then session musician, and future Led Zeppelin legend, Jimmy Page on lead guitar. Townshend was having none of it, and played lead, with Page on rhythm guitar.

Anyone who watched the 'UK Music Hall Of Fame 2005' should have recorded it for Pete Townshend's anecdotes alone. He was the outstanding act, and didn't even play anything! - Ed.


PETE TOWNSHEND QUOTES

  • Pete Townshend talking about the death of Brian Jones: "Oh, it's a normal day for Brian, like he died every day, you know."

  • Pete on 'Tommy': "We wanted it to work on lots of levels."

  • A very young Jeremy Paxman asking Pete Townshend: "Why was there all that violence surrounding you?" Townshend: "Perhaps we were all doing it, 'cos we were afraid that the others might think that we were cissies if we didn't do it. I don't know."

The Who

Widely regarded as one of the big three of British rock groups - along with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones - The Who have encompassed many musical styles over the years. From being Mod darlings in the mid-'60s, they went on to produce groundbreaking concept albums such as 'Tommy' and 'Quadrophenia', and became a legendary live act. The Who have appeared at some of the most famous live musical extravaganzas, such as the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, Woodstock, the 1970 Isle Of Wight Festival, and then, of course, the ill-fated 'Live Aid' performance in 1985. Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend also sparkled at the 2007 Glastonbury Festival.

Pete Townshend's witty, clever lyrics established him at the head table of rock songwriters, with quirky material to the fore. 'I'm A Boy', 'Magic Bus', 'Happy Jack', and 'Pictures Of Lily' being early examples. The Who's anthem, 'My Generation', remains their most famous song, and one of rock's most acclaimed compositions. Like Bob Dylan's 'The Times They Are A-Changin', it was a song that epitomised the spirit of young people challenging the old order. Townshend's most witty line - and certainly one of rock's best opening lines - "I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth", from 'Substitute', struck a chord, especially in Britain, in a society even now still constricted by the class system.

The Who proved they could produce psychedelia with the best of them with 'I Can See For Miles', and it was around 1967 that the group began to become more expansive, and the rock opera 'Tommy' was the zenith they would reach in 1969.

Musically, The Who have always been acclaimed as superb. There were no jibes about Keith Moon's drumming - as there were, unjustly, with Ringo Starr. Indeed, Moon has often been acknowledged as the best of all rock drummers, taking his boundless energy and channelling it into a more creative direction than was often the case with Keith! Townshend was a great guitarist with mad, whirling arms, and dazzling power chords, and John Entwistle's bass playing formed, with Moon, one of the greatest rhythm sections in rock history. As a singer Roger Daltrey has proved he can sing pretty much anything. His voice has been like The Who themselves, in that the power and melody have been so successfully married that they are accessible, but have an edge at the same time. Daltrey's vocals on the 'Tommy' album were truly haunting and moving, and on 'Won't Get Fooled Again' raucous and powerful - scary scream and all!

The Who are the quintessential Brit rock band. They've never embraced American culture to be a success there, like some of their peers. They've made it on their own terms, and should have been inducted into the 'UK Music Hall Of Fame' in 2004! Cheers, fellas!

- Paul Rance, booksmusicfilmstv.com.

 

Dear Boy: The Life Of Keith Moon

Dear Boy: The Life Of Keith Moon
Author: Tony Fletcher

 

 

The Who UK Singles Discography
(and B-sides)

Zoot Suit/I'm the Face - 1964 (as The High Numbers)
I Can't Explain/Bald Headed Woman - 1965
Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere/Daddy Rolling Stone - 1965
My Generation/Shout and Shimmy - 1965
Substitute/Circles - 1966
A Legal Matter/Instant Party - 1966
The Kids Are Alright/The Ox - 1966
La La La Lies/The Good's Gone - 1966
Happy Jack/I've Been Away - 1966
Pictures of Lily/Doctor, Doctor - 1967
The Last Time/Under My Thumb - 1967
I Can See For Miles/Someone's Coming - 1967
Dogs/Call Me Lightning - 1968
Magic Bus/Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde - 1968
Pinball Wizard/Dogs Part II - 1969
Go To The Mirror/Sally Simpson - 1969
The Seeker/Here For More - 1970
Summertime Blues/Heaven And Hell - 1970
See Me, Feel Me/Overture - 1970
Won't Get Fooled Again/I Don't Even Know Myself - 1971
Let's See Action/When I Was A Boy - 1971
Join Together/Baby Don't You Do It - 1972
Relay/Waspman - 1972
5:15/Water - 1973
Squeeze Box/Success Story - 1975
Who Are You/Had Enough - 1978
You Better You Bet/The Quiet One - 1981
Don't Let Go The Coat/You - 1981
Athena/A Man Is A Man - 1982
Twist & Shout (Live)/I Can't Explain (Live) - 1984
Real Good Looking Boy/Old Red Wine - 2004

 

The Who CDs available from booksmusicfilmstv.com - in association with Amazon
(Amazon.co.uk text links in blue; Amazon.com text links in italic)

Product image for ASIN: B00000844Q The Who Sell Out
The Who Sell Out

Product image for ASIN: B00005NB0H Live At Leeds [Deluxe Edition]
Live at Leeds
Live At Leeds [Deluxe Edition]
Product image for ASIN: B00008PRR9 Quick One
Quick One
Product image for ASIN: B000024NOC Who's Next: Remastered
Who's Next
Product image for ASIN: B000007621 Tommy
Tommy

Product image for ASIN: B000007620 Quadrophenia: Remastered
Quadrophenia

The Who DVDs from Amazon.co.uk


Tommy (Special Edition)

The Who - Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970
Who, The - EP

The Who DVD from Amazon.com

Product image for ASIN: B000FA57SA
Tommy Live

The Who Videos from Amazon.co.uk

The Who - Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970

The Who - The Kids Are Alright [1979]

 

Then And Now Review

The Who Live 8 Review

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