THE WHO are an English rock band that formed in 1964. Their classic
line-up consisted of lead singer
Roger Daltrey , guitarist and singer
Pete Townshend , bass guitarist
John Entwistle , and drummer Keith
Moon . They are considered one of the most influential rock bands of
the 20th century, selling over 100 million records worldwide and
holding a reputation for their live shows and studio work.
The Who developed from an earlier group, the Detours, and established
themselves as part of the pop art and mod movements , featuring
auto-destructive art by destroying guitars and drums on stage. Their
first single as the Who, "I Can\'t Explain ", reached the UK top ten,
followed by a string of singles including "
My Generation ",
"Substitute " and "Happy Jack ". In 1967, they performed at the
Monterey Pop Festival and released the US top ten single "I Can See
for Miles ", while touring extensively. The group's fourth album,
1969's rock opera Tommy , included the single "
Pinball Wizard " and
was a critical and commercial success. Live appearances at Woodstock
Isle of Wight Festival
Isle of Wight Festival , along with the live album Live at
Leeds , cemented their reputation as a respected rock act. With their
success came increased pressure on lead songwriter and visionary
Townshend, and the follow-up to Tommy, Lifehouse , was abandoned.
Songs from the project made up 1971's Who\'s Next , which included the
hit "Won\'t Get Fooled Again ". The group released the album
Quadrophenia in 1973 as a celebration of their mod roots, and oversaw
the film adaptation of Tommy in 1975. They continued to tour to large
audiences before semi-retiring from live performances at the end of
1976. The release of
Who Are You in 1978 was overshadowed by the death
of Moon shortly after.
Kenney Jones replaced Moon and the group resumed activity, releasing
a film adaptation of
Quadrophenia and the retrospective documentary
The Kids Are Alright . After Townshend became weary of touring, the
group split in 1982.
The Who occasionally re-formed for live
appearances such as
Live Aid in 1985, a 25th anniversary tour in 1989
and a tour of
Quadrophenia in 1996–1997. They resumed regular
touring in 1999, with drummer
Zak Starkey . After Entwistle's death in
2002, plans for a new album were delayed. Townshend and Daltrey
continued as the Who, releasing Endless Wire in 2006, and continued to
play live regularly.
The Who's major contributions to rock music include the development
Marshall stack , large PA systems , use of the synthesizer,
Entwistle and Moon's lead playing styles, Townshend's feedback and
power chord guitar technique, and the development of the rock opera .
They are cited as an influence by hard rock , punk rock and mod bands,
and their songs still receive regular exposure.
* 1 History
* 1.1 Background
* 1.2 1964–1978
* 1.2.1 Early career
* 1.2.2 First singles and
A Quick One and
The Who Sell Out
* 1.2.4 Tommy,
Live at Leeds
* 1.2.5 Lifehouse and Who\'s Next
* 1.2.6 Quadrophenia, Tommy film and
The Who by Numbers
Who Are You and Moon\'s death
* 1.3 1978–1983
* 1.3.2 Change and break-up
* 1.4 Reunions
* 1.4.1 1989 tour
* 1.4.2 Partial reunions
* 1.5 Re-formation
* 1.5.1 Revival of
* 1.5.2 Charity shows and Entwistle\'s death
* 1.5.3 After Entwistle: Tours and Endless Wire
Quadrophenia and More
The Who Hits 50! and beyond
* 2 Musical style and equipment
* 2.1 Vocals
* 2.2 Guitars
* 2.3 Bass
* 2.4 Drums
* 2.5 Songwriting
* 3 Personal relationships
* 4 Legacy and influence
* 4.1 Media
* 4.2 Awards and nominations
* 5 Band members
* 5.1 Current members
* 5.2 Former members
* 5.3 Current touring musicians
* 5.4 Former touring musicians
* 6 Discography
* 6.1 Studio albums
* 7 Tours and performances
* 7.1 Headlining 1960s–1990s
* 7.2 Headlining 2000s–2010s
* 8 See also
* 9 References
* 9.1 Bibliography
* 10 Further reading
* 11 External links
Pete Townshend attended
Ealing Art College (pictured in 2010),
and his experience there contributed to the Who's career.
The founding members of the Who,
Roger Daltrey ,
Pete Townshend and
John Entwistle , grew up in
Acton, London and went to Acton County
Grammar School . Townshend's father, Cliff , played saxophone and his
mother, Betty, had sung in the entertainment division of the Royal Air
Force during World War II, and both supported their son's interest in
rock and roll . Townshend and Entwistle became friends in their
second year of Acton County, and formed a trad jazz group; Entwistle
French horn in the Middlesex Schools' Symphony Orchestra.
Both were interested in rock, and Townshend particularly admired Cliff
Richard 's début single, "
Move It ". Entwistle moved to guitar, but
struggled with it due to his large fingers, and moved to bass on
hearing the guitar work of
Duane Eddy . He was unable to afford a bass
and built one at home. After Acton County, Townshend attended Ealing
Art College , a move he later described as profoundly influential on
the course of the Who.
Daltrey, who was in the year above, had moved to Acton from
Shepherd\'s Bush , a more working-class area. He had trouble fitting
in at the school, and discovered gangs and rock and roll. He was
expelled at 15 and found work on a building site. In 1959 he started
the Detours, the band that was to evolve into the Who. The band played
professional gigs, such as corporate and wedding functions, and
Daltrey kept a close eye on the finances as well as the music.
Daltrey spotted Entwistle by chance on the street carrying a bass and
recruited him into the Detours. In mid-1961, Entwistle suggested
Townshend as a guitarist, Daltrey on lead guitar, Entwistle on bass,
Harry Wilson on drums, and Colin Dawson on vocals. The band played
instrumentals by the Shadows and the Ventures , and a variety of pop
and trad jazz covers. Daltrey was considered the leader and,
according to Townshend, "ran things the way he wanted them". Wilson
was fired in mid-1962 and replaced by
Doug Sandom , though he was
older than the rest of the band, married, and a more proficient
musician, having been playing semi-professionally for two years.
Dawson left after frequently arguing with Daltrey and after being
briefly replaced by Gabby Connolly, Daltrey moved to lead vocals.
Townshend, with Entwistle's encouragement, became the sole guitarist.
Through Townshend's mother, the group obtained a management contract
with local promoter Robert Druce, who started booking the band as a
support act. The Detours were influenced by the bands they supported,
Screaming Lord Sutch ,
Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers ,
Shane Fenton and the Fentones, and
Johnny Kidd and the Pirates . The
Detours were particularly interested in the Pirates as they also only
had one guitarist,
Mick Green , who inspired Townshend to combine
rhythm and lead guitar in his style. Entwistle's bass became more of a
lead instrument, playing melodies. In February 1964, the Detours
became aware of the group Johnny Devlin and the Detours and changed
their name. Townshend and his roommate Richard Barnes spent a night
considering names, focusing on a theme of joke announcements,
including "No One" and "the Group". Townshend preferred "the Hair",
and Barnes liked "the Who" because it "had a pop punch". Daltrey
chose "the Who" the next morning.
By the time the Detours had become the Who, they had already found
regular gigs, including at the Oldfield Hotel in Greenford, the White
Hart Hotel in Acton, the Goldhawk Social Club in Shepherd's Bush, and
the Notre Dame Hall in Leicester Square. They had also replaced Druce
as manager with Helmut Gorden, with whom they secured an audition with
Chris Parmeinter for
Fontana Records . Parmeinter found problems with
the drumming and, according to Sandom, Townshend immediately turned on
him and threatened to fire him if his playing did not immediately
improve. Sandom left in disgust, but was persuaded to lend his kit to
any potential stand-ins or replacements. Sandom and Townshend did not
speak to each other again for 14 years.
During a gig with a stand-in drummer in late April at the Oldfield,
the band first met Keith Moon. Moon grew up in
Wembley , and had been
drumming in bands since 1961. He was performing with a
semi-professional band called the Beachcombers, and wanted to play
full-time. Moon played a few songs with the group, breaking a bass
drum pedal and tearing a drum skin. The band were impressed with his
energy and enthusiasm, and offered him the job. Moon performed with
the Beachcombers a few more times, but dates clashed and he chose to
devote himself to the Who. The Beachcombers auditioned Sandom, but
were unimpressed and did not ask him to join.
The Who changed managers to
Peter Meaden . He decided that the group
would be ideal to represent the growing mod movement in Britain which
involved fashion, scooters and music genres such as rhythm and blues ,
soul and beat . He renamed the group the High Numbers, dressed them up
in mod clothes, secured a second, more favourable audition with
Fontana and wrote the lyrics for both sides of their single "Zoot
Suit"/"I\'m the Face " to appeal to mods. The tune for "Zoot Suit" was
"Misery" by the Dynamics, and "I'm the Face" borrowed from Slim Harpo
's "I Got Love If You Want It". Although Meaden tried to promote the
single, it failed to reach the top 50 and the band reverted to
calling themselves the Who. The group began to improve their stage
image; Daltrey started using his microphone cable as a whip on stage,
and occasionally leapt into the crowd; Moon threw drumsticks into the
air mid-beat; Townshend mimed machine gunning the crowd with his
guitar while jumping on stage and playing guitar with a fast
arm-windmilling motion, or stood with his arms aloft allowing his
guitar to produce feedback in a posture dubbed "the Bird Man".
Meaden was replaced as manager by two filmmakers,
Kit Lambert and
Chris Stamp . They were looking for a young, unsigned rock group that
they could make a film about, and had seen the band at the Railway
Wealdstone , which had become a regular venue for them.
Lambert related to Townshend and his art school background, and
encouraged him to write songs. In August, Lambert and Stamp made a
promotional film featuring the group and their audience at the
Railway. The band changed their set towards soul, rhythm and blues
Motown covers, and created the slogan "Maximum R&B".
In June 1964, during a performance at the Railway, Townshend
accidentally broke the head of his guitar on the low ceiling of the
stage. Angered by the audience's laughter, he smashed the instrument
on the stage, then picked up another guitar and continued the show.
The following week, the audience were keen to see a repeat of the
event. Moon obliged by kicking his drum kit over, and
auto-destructive art became a feature of the Who's live set.
First Singles And My Generation
By late 1964, the Who were becoming popular in London's Marquee club,
and a rave review of their live act appeared in
Melody Maker .
Lambert and Stamp attracted the attention of the American producer
Shel Talmy , who had produced the Kinks . Townshend had written a
song, "I Can\'t Explain ", that deliberately sounded like the Kinks to
attract Talmy's attention. Talmy saw the group in rehearsals and was
impressed. He signed them to his production company, and sold the
recording to the US arm of
Decca Records , which meant that the
group's early singles were released in Britain on
Brunswick Records ,
one of UK Decca's labels for US artists. "I Can't Explain" was
recorded in early November 1964 at Pye Studios in
Marble Arch with the
Ivy League on backing vocals, and
Jimmy Page played fuzz guitar on the
B-side, "Bald Headed Woman".
"I Can't Explain" became popular with pirate radio stations such as
Radio Caroline . Pirate radio was important for bands as there were
no commercial radio stations in the UK and
BBC Radio played little pop
music. The group gained further exposure when they appeared on the
Ready Steady Go! Lambert and Stamp were tasked
with finding "typical teens", and invited the group's regular audience
from the Goldhawk Social Club. Enthusiastic reception on television
and regular airplay on pirate radio helped the single slowly climb the
charts in early 1965 until it reached the top 10. The follow-up
Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere ", by Townshend and Daltrey,
features guitar noises such as pick sliding , toggle switching and
feedback , which was so unconventional that it was initially rejected
by the US arm of Decca. The single reached the top 10 in the UK and
was used as the theme song to
Ready Steady Go!
The transition to a hit-making band with original material,
encouraged by Lambert, did not sit well with Daltrey, and a recording
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The next single, "
My Generation ", followed in October. Townshend had
written it as a slow blues, but after several abortive attempts, it
was turned into a more powerful song with a bass solo from Entwistle.
The song used gimmicks such as a vocal stutter to simulate the speech
of a mod on amphetamines , and two key changes . Townshend insisted
in interviews that the lyrics "Hope I die before I get old" were not
meant to be taken literally. Peaking at No. 2, "My Generation" is the
group's highest-charting single in the UK. The début album My
Generation was released in late 1965. Among original material by
Townshend, including the title track and "The Kids Are Alright ", the
album has several
James Brown covers from the session earlier that
year that Daltrey favoured.
After My Generation, the Who fell out with Talmy, which meant an
abrupt end to their recording contract. The resulting legal acrimony
resulted in Talmy holding the rights to the master tapes, which
prevented the album from being reissued until 2002.
The Who were
Robert Stigwood 's label, Reaction, and released "Substitute
". Townshend said he wrote the song about identity crisis, and as a
parody of the Rolling Stones 's "
19th Nervous Breakdown
19th Nervous Breakdown ". It was the
first single to feature him playing an acoustic twelve-string guitar .
Talmy took legal action over the B-side, "Instant Party", and the
single was withdrawn. A new B-side, "Waltz for a Pig", was recorded by
Graham Bond Organisation under the pseudonym "the Who Orchestra".
In 1966 the Who released "I\'m a Boy ", about a boy dressed as a
girl, taken from an abortive collection of songs called Quads; "Happy
Jack "; and an EP,
Ready Steady Who , that tied in with their regular
Ready Steady Go! The group continued to have conflict;
on 20 May, Moon and Entwistle were late to a gig having been on the
Ready Steady Go! set with
The Beach Boys '
Bruce Johnston . During "My
Generation", Townshend attacked Moon with his guitar; Moon suffered a
black eye and bruises, and he and Entwistle left the band, but changed
their minds and rejoined a week later. Moon kept looking for other
Jeff Beck had him play drums on his song "Beck\'s Bolero "
(with Page, John Paul Jones and
Nicky Hopkins ) because he was "trying
to get Keith out of the Who".
A Quick One And
The Who Sell Out
Roger Daltrey (left) and Keith Moon, 1967
To alleviate financial pressure on the band, Lambert arranged a
song-writing deal which required each member to write two songs for
the next album. Entwistle contributed "
Boris the Spider " and "Whiskey
Man" and found a niche role as second songwriter. The band found they
needed to fill an extra ten minutes, and Lambert encouraged Townshend
to write a longer piece, "A Quick One, While He\'s Away ". The suite
of song fragments is about a girl who has an affair while her lover is
away, but is ultimately forgiven. The album was titled
A Quick One
(Happy Jack in the US), and reached No. 4 in the UK charts. It was
followed in 1967 by the UK Top 5 single "
Pictures of Lily ".
Ready Steady Go! had ended, the mod movement was becoming
unfashionable, and the Who found themselves in competition on the
London circuit with groups including Cream and the Jimi Hendrix
Experience . Lambert and Stamp realised that commercial success in
the US was paramount to the group's future, and arranged a deal with
Frank Barsalona for a short package tour in New York. The
group's performances, which still involved smashing guitars and
kicking over drums, were well received, and led to their first major
US appearance at the
Monterey Pop Festival . The group, especially
Moon, were not fond of the hippie movement, and thought their violent
stage act would stand in sharp contrast to the peaceful atmosphere of
the festival. Hendrix was also on the bill, and was also going to
smash his guitar on stage. Townshend verbally abused Hendrix and
accused him of stealing his act, and the pair argued about who should
go on stage first, with the Who winning the argument.
The Who brought
hired equipment to the festival; Hendrix shipped over his regular
touring gear from Britain, including a full
Marshall stack . According
Tony Fletcher , Hendrix sounded "so much better than the
Who it was embarrassing". The Who's appearance at Monterey gave them
recognition in the US, and "Happy Jack" reached the top 30.
The group followed Monterey with a US tour supporting Herman\'s
Hermits . The Hermits were a straightforward pop band and enjoyed
drugs and practical jokes. They bonded with Moon, who was excited to
learn that cherry bombs were legal to purchase in Alabama. Moon
acquired a reputation of destroying hotel rooms while on tour, with a
particular interest in blowing up toilets. Entwistle said the first
cherry bomb they tried "blew a hole in the suitcase and the chair".
Moon recalled his first attempt to flush one down the toilet: "ll that
porcelain flying through the air was quite unforgettable. I never
realised dynamite was so powerful." After a gig in
Flint, Michigan on
Moon's 21st birthday on 23 August 1967, the entourage caused $24,000
of damage at the hotel, and Moon knocked out one of his front teeth.
Daltrey later said that the tour brought the band closer, and as the
support act, they could turn up and perform a short show without any
John Entwistle backstage in 1967
After the Hermits tour, the Who recorded their next single, "I Can
See for Miles ", which Townshend had written in 1966 but had avoided
recording until he was sure it could be produced well. Townshend
called it "the ultimate Who record", and was disappointed it reached
only No. 10 in the UK. It became their best selling single in the US,
reaching No. 9. The group toured the US again with Eric Burdon and
the Animals , including an appearance on The Smothers Brothers Comedy
Hour , miming to "I Can See For Miles" and "My Generation". Moon
bribed a stage hand to put explosives in his drum kit, who loaded it
with ten times the expected quantity. The resulting detonation threw
Moon off his drum riser and his arm was cut by flying cymbal shrapnel.
Townshend's hair was singed and his left ear left ringing, and a
camera and studio monitor were destroyed.
The next album was
The Who Sell Out —a concept album paying tribute
to pirate radio, which had been outlawed in August 1967 by the Marine,
they recorded a wide variety of radio advertisements, such as for
canned milkshakes and the
American Cancer Society , in defiance of the
rising anti-consumerist ethos of the hippie counterculture. Townshend
stated, "We don't change offstage. We live pop art."
Later that year, Lambert and Stamp formed a record label, Track
Records , with distribution by
Polydor . As well as signing Hendrix,
Track became the imprint for all the Who's UK output until the
The group started 1968 by touring Australia and New Zealand with the
Small Faces . The groups had trouble with the local authorities and
the New Zealand Truth called them "unwashed, foul-smelling,
booze-swilling no-hopers". They continued to tour across the US and
Canada during the first half of the year.
Woodstock And Live At Leeds
By 1968 the Who had started to attract attention in the underground
press . Townshend had stopped using drugs and became interested in
the teachings of
Meher Baba . In August, he gave an interview to
Rolling Stone editor
Jann Wenner describing in detail the plot of a
new album project and its relationship to Baba's teachings. The album
went through several names during recording, including Deaf Dumb and
Blind Boy and Amazing Journey; Townshend settled on Tommy for the
album about the life of a deaf, dumb and blind boy, and his attempt to
communicate with others. Some songs, such as "Welcome" and "Amazing
Journey" were inspired by Baba's teaching, and others came from
observations within the band. "Sally Simpson" is about a fan who tried
to climb on stage at a gig by the Doors that they attended and
Pinball Wizard " was written so that New York Times journalist Nik
Cohn , a pinball enthusiast, would give the album a good review.
Townshend later said, "I wanted the story of Tommy to have several
levels ... a rock singles level and a bigger concept level",
containing the spiritual message he wanted as well as being
entertaining. The album was projected for a Christmas 1968 release
but recording stalled after Townshend decided to make a double album
to cover the story in sufficient depth.
By the end of the year, 18 months of touring had led to a
well-rehearsed and tight live band, which was evident when they
A Quick One While He's Away" at
The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones Rock and
Roll Circus television special. The Stones considered their own
performance lacklustre, and the project was never broadcast. The Who
had not released an album in over a year, and had not completed the
recording of Tommy, which continued well into 1969, interspersed with
gigs at weekends. Lambert was a key figure in keeping the group
focused and getting the album completed, and typed up a script to help
them understand the story and how the songs fitted together. By
the time the Who were touring Tommy , Daltrey's stage image had
changed to include long hair and open shirts.
The album was released in May with the accompanying single, "Pinball
Wizard", a début performance at Ronnie Scott\'s , and a tour,
playing most of the new album live. Tommy sold 200,000 copies in the
US in its first two weeks, and was a critical smash, Life saying,
"... for sheer power, invention and brilliance of performance, Tommy
outstrips anything which has ever come out of a recording studio".
Melody Maker declared: "Surely the Who are now the band against which
all others are to be judged." Daltrey had significantly improved as a
singer, and set a template for rock singers in the 1970s by growing
his hair long and wearing open shirts on stage. Townshend had taken
to wearing a boiler suit and Doctor Martens shoes.
In August, the Who performed at the
Woodstock Festival , despite
being reluctant and demanding $13,000 up front. The group were
scheduled to appear on Saturday night, 16 August, but the festival
ran late and they did not take to the stage until 5am on Sunday; they
played most of Tommy. During their performance, Yippie leader Abbie
Hoffman interrupted the set to give a political speech about the
arrest of John Sinclair ; Townshend kicked him off stage, shouting:
"Fuck off my fucking stage!" During "
See Me, Feel Me ", the sun rose
almost as if on cue; Entwistle later said, "God was our lighting
man". At the end, Townshend threw his guitar into the audience. The
set was professionally recorded and filmed, and portions appear on the
Woodstock film ,
The Old Grey Whistle Test
The Old Grey Whistle Test and The Kids Are Alright.
Woodstock has been regarded as culturally significant, but the Who
were critical of the event. Roadie John "Wiggie" Wolff, who arranged
the band's payment, described it as "a shambles". Daltrey declared it
as "the worst gig ever played" and Townshend said, "I thought the
whole of America had gone mad." A more enjoyable appearance came a
few weeks later at the second
Isle of Wight Festival
Isle of Wight Festival , which Townshend
described as "a great concert for" the band. A blue plaque at
Leeds University , where
Live at Leeds was recorded
By 1970, the Who were widely considered one of the best and most
popular live rock bands;
Chris Charlesworth described their concerts
as "leading to a kind of rock nirvana that most bands can only dream
about". They decided a live album would help demonstrate how different
the sound at their gigs was to Tommy, and set about listening to the
hours of recordings they had accumulated. Townshend baulked at the
prospect of doing so, and demanded that all the tapes be burned.
Instead, they booked two shows, one in
Leeds on 14 February, and one
in Hull the following day, with the intention of recording a live
album. Technical problems from the Hull gig resulted in the
being used, which became
Live at Leeds . The album is viewed by
several critics including
The Independent , The Telegraph and the
BBC , as one of the best live rock albums of all time.
The Tommy tour included shows in European opera houses and saw the
Who become the first rock act to play at the
Metropolitan Opera House
in New York City. In March the Who released the UK top 20 hit "The
Seeker ", continuing a theme of issuing singles separate to albums.
Townshend wrote the song to commemorate the common man, as a contrast
to the themes on Tommy.
Lifehouse And Who\'s Next
Tommy secured the Who's future, and made them millionaires. The group
reacted in different ways—Daltrey and Entwistle lived comfortably,
Townshend was embarrassed at his wealth, which he felt was at odds
with Meher Baba's ideals, and Moon spent frivolously.
During the latter part of 1970, Townshend plotted a follow up Tommy:
Lifehouse , which was to be a multi-media project symbolising the
relationship between an artist and his audience. He developed ideas
in his home studio, creating layers of synthesizers, and the Young
Vic theatre in London was booked for a series of experimental
concerts. Townshend approached the gigs with optimism; the rest of the
band were just happy to be gigging again. Eventually, the others
complained to Townshend that the project was too complicated and they
should simply record another album. Things deteriorated until
Townshend had a nervous breakdown and abandoned Lifehouse.
Entwistle was the first member of the group to release a solo album,
Smash Your Head Against the Wall , in May 1971.
The Who at the
Coliseum, Charlotte, North Carolina, 20 November 1971
Recording at the
Record Plant in New York City in March 1971 was
abandoned when Lambert's addiction to hard drugs interfered with his
ability to produce. The group restarted with
Glyn Johns in April.
The album was mostly Lifehouse material, with one unrelated song by
My Wife ", and was released as Who\'s Next in August. The
album reached No. 1 in the UK and No. 4 in the US. "Baba O\'Riley "
and "Won\'t Get Fooled Again " are early examples of synthesizer use
in rock, featuring keyboard sounds generated in real time by a Lowrey
organ ; on "Won't Get Fooled Again", it was further processed through
VCS3 synthesizer. The synthesizer intro to "Baba O'Riley" was
programmed based on Meher Baba's vital stats, and the track featured
a violin solo by
Dave Arbus . The album was a critical and commercial
success, and has been certified 3x platinum by the RIAA . The Who
continued to issue Lifehouse-related material over the next few years,
including the singles "Let\'s See Action ", "Join Together " and
The band went back on tour, and "Baba O' Riley" and "Won't Get Fooled
Again" became live favourites. In November they performed at the
Rainbow Theatre in London for three nights, continuing
in the US later that month, where
Robert Hilburn of the Los Angeles
Times described the Who as "the Greatest Show on Earth". The tour was
slightly disrupted at the Civic Auditorium in San Francisco on 12
December when Moon passed out over his kit after overdosing on brandy
and barbiturates. He recovered and completed the gig, playing to his
Quadrophenia, Tommy Film And
The Who By Numbers
The Who at the Ernst-Mercke-Halle, Hamburg, 12 August 1972
After touring Who's Next, and needing time to write a follow-up,
Townshend insisted that the Who take a lengthy break, as they had not
stopped touring since the band started. There was no group activity
until May 1972, when they started working on a proposed new album,
Rock Is Dead—Long Live Rock! , but, unhappy with the recordings,
abandoned the sessions. Tensions began to emerge as Townshend believed
Daltrey just wanted a money-making band and Daltrey thought
Townshend's projects were getting pretentious. Moon's behaviour was
becoming increasingly destructive and problematic through excessive
drinking and drugs use, and a desire to party and tour. Daltrey
performed an audit of the group's finances and discovered that Lambert
and Stamp had not kept sufficient records. He believed them to be no
longer effective managers, which Townshend and Moon disputed. The
painful dissolution of the managerial and personal relationships are
recounted in James D. Cooper's 2014 retrospective documentary, Lambert
added to this issue, tour rehearsals had been interrupted due to an
argument that culminated in Daltrey punching Townshend and knocking
him out cold. At a gig in Newcastle, the tapes completely
malfunctioned, and an enraged Townshend dragged sound-man Bob Pridden
on-stage, screamed at him, kicked all the amps over and partially
destroyed the backing tapes. The show was abandoned for an "oldies"
set, at the end of which Townshend smashed his guitar and Moon kicked
over his drumkit.
The Independent described this gig as one of the
worst of all time. The US tour started on 20 November at the Cow
Daly City, California
Daly City, California ; Moon passed out during "Won't Get
Fooled Again" and during "
Magic Bus ". Townshend asked the audience,
"Can anyone play the drums?—I mean somebody good." An audience
Scot Halpin , filled in for the rest of the show. After a
Montreal , the band (except for Daltrey, who retired to bed
early) caused so much damage to their hotel room, including destroying
an antique painting and ramming a marble table through a wall, that
federal law enforcement arrested them. Promotional photograph
celebrating the band's tenth anniversary, December 1974
By 1974, work had begun in earnest on a Tommy film . Stigwood
Ken Russell as director, whose previous work Townshend had
admired. The film featured a star-studded cast, including the band
David Essex auditioned for the title role, but the band
persuaded Daltrey to take it. The cast included
Ann-Margret , Oliver
Eric Clapton ,
Tina Turner ,
Elton John and
Jack Nicholson .
Townshend and Entwistle worked on the soundtrack for most of the year,
handling the bulk of the instrumentation. Moon had moved to Los
Angeles, so they used session drummers, including
Kenney Jones . Elton
John used his own band for "Pinball Wizard". Filming was from April
until August. 1500 extras appeared in the "Pinball Wizard" sequence.
The film premiered on 18 March 1975 to a standing ovation. Townshend
was nominated for the
Academy Award for Best Original Score . Tommy
was shown at the
1975 Cannes Film Festival , but not in the main
competition. It won the award for Rock Movie of the Year in the First
Rock Music Awards and generated over $2 million in its first
month. The soundtrack reached number two on the Billboard charts.
Keith Moon in 1975
Work on Tommy took up most of 1974, and live performances by the Who
were restricted to a show in May at the Valley , the home of Charlton
Athletic , in front of 80,000 fans, and a few dates at Madison Square
Garden in June. Towards the end of the year, the group released the
out-takes album Odds Townshend felt the commitment of the group
prevented him from releasing solo material. The next album, The Who
by Numbers , had introspective songs from Townshend that dealt with
disillusionment such as "However Much I Booze" and "How Many Friends";
they resembled his later solo work. Entwistle's "Success Story" gave
a humorous look at the music industry, and "Squeeze Box " was a hit
single. The group toured from October, playing little new material
Quadrophenia numbers, and reintroducing several from Tommy.
The American leg of the tour began in
Houston to a crowd of 18,000 at
The Summit Arena , and was supported by
Toots and the Maytals . On 6
December 1975, the Who set the record for largest indoor concert at
Pontiac Silverdome , attended by 78,000. On 31 May 1976, they
played a second concert at the Valley which was listed in the Guinness
Book of Records as the world's loudest concert at over 120 dB.
Townshend had become fed up of touring but Entwistle considered live
performance to be at a peak.
Who Are You And Moon\'s Death
Daltrey and Townshend, 21 October 1976, Maple Leaf Gardens,
Toronto, Ontario—their last ever public gig with Moon
After the 1976 tour, Townshend took most of the following year off to
spend time with his family. He discovered that former Beatles and
Rolling Stones manager
Allen Klein had bought a stake in his
publishing company. A settlement was reached, but Townshend was upset
and disillusioned that Klein had attempted to take ownership of his
songs. Townshend went to the Speakeasy where he met the Sex Pistols '
Steve Jones and Paul Cook, fans of the Who. After leaving, he passed
out in a doorway, where a policeman said he would not be arrested if
he could stand and walk. The events inspired the title track of the
Who Are You .
The group reconvened in September 1977, but Townshend announced there
would be no live performances for the immediate future, a decision
that Daltrey endorsed. By this point, Moon was so unhealthy that the
Who conceded it would be difficult for him to cope with touring. The
only gig that year was an informal show on 15 December at the Gaumont
State Cinema in Kilburn , London, filmed for the documentary, The Kids
Are Alright . The band had not played for 14 months, and their
performance was so weak that the footage was unused. Moon's playing
was particularly lacklustre and he had gained a lot of weight, though
Daltrey later said, "even at his worst,
Keith Moon was amazing."
Who Are You started in January 1978. Daltrey clashed
with Johns over the production of his vocals, and Moon's drumming was
so poor that Daltrey and Entwistle considered firing him. Moon's
playing improved, but on one track, "Music Must Change", he was
replaced as he could not play in 6/8 time. In May, the Who filmed
another performance at Shepperton Sound Studios for The Kids Are
Alright. This performance was strong, and several tracks were used in
the film. It was the last gig Moon performed with the Who.
The album was released on 18 August, and became their biggest and
fastest seller to date, peaking at No. 6 in the UK and No. 2 in the
US. Instead of touring, Daltrey, Townshend and Moon did a series of
promotional television interviews, and Entwistle worked on the
soundtrack for The Kids Are Alright.
On 6 September, Moon attended a party held by
Paul McCartney to
Buddy Holly 's birthday. Returning to his flat, Moon took 32
tablets of clomethiazole which had been prescribed to combat his
alcohol withdrawal . He passed out the following morning and was
discovered dead later that day.
The day after Moon's death, Townshend issued the statement: "We are
more determined than ever to carry on, and we want the spirit of the
group to which Keith contributed so much to go on, although no human
being can ever take his place." Kenney Jones, of the
Small Faces and
the Faces, replaced Moon in November 1978. John "Rabbit" Bundrick
joined the live band as an unofficial keyboardist. On 2 May 1979, the
Who returned to the stage with a concert at the Rainbow Theatre,
followed by the
Cannes Film Festival
Cannes Film Festival in France and dates at Madison
Square Garden in New York.
Quadrophenia film was released that year. It was directed by
Franc Roddam in his feature-directing début, and had straightforward
acting rather than musical numbers as in Tommy.
John Lydon was
considered as Jimmy, but the role went to
Phil Daniels . Sting played
Jimmy's friend and fellow mod, the Ace Face. The soundtrack was
Jones' first appearance on a Who record, performing on newly written
material not on the original album. The film was a critical and box
office success in the UK and appealed to the growing mod revival
The Jam were influenced by the Who, and critics noticed a
similarity between Townshend and the group's leader,
Paul Weller .
The Kids Are Alright was also completed in 1979. It was a
retrospective of the band's career, directed by Jeff Stein. The film
included footage of the band at Monterey,
Woodstock and Pontiac, and
clips from the Smothers Brothers' show and
Russell Harty Plus . Moon
had died one week after seeing the rough cut with Daltrey. The film
contains the Shepperton concert, and an audio track of him playing
over silent footage of himself was the last time he ever played the
In December, the Who became the third band, after the Beatles and the
Band , to grace the cover of Time. The article, by
Jay Cocks , said
the band had "outpaced, outlasted, outlived and outclassed" all of
their rock band contemporaries.
The Who concert disaster
On 3 December 1979, a crowd crush at a Who gig at the Riverfront
Cincinnati killed 11 fans. This was partly due to the
festival seating , where the first to enter get the best positions.
Some fans waiting outside mistook the band's soundcheck for the
concert, and attempted to force their way inside. As only a few
entrance doors were opened, a bottleneck situation ensued with
thousands trying to gain entry, and the crush became deadly.
The Who were not told until after the show because civic authorities
feared crowd problems if the concert were cancelled. The band were
deeply shaken upon learning of it and requested that appropriate
safety precautions be taken in the future. The following evening, in
Buffalo, New York
Buffalo, New York , Daltrey told the crowd that the band had "lost a
lot of family last night and this show's for them".
Change And Break-up
The Who in Toronto, 1980
Daltrey took a break in 1980 to work on the film McVicar , in which
he took the lead role of bank robber
John McVicar . The soundtrack
album is a Daltrey solo album, though all members of the Who are
included in the supporting musicians, and was his most successful solo
The Who released two studio albums with Jones as drummer, Face Dances
(1981) and It\'s Hard (1982).
Face Dances produced a US top 20 and UK
top ten hit with the single "
You Better You Bet ", whose video was one
of the first shown on
MTV . Both
Face Dances and
It's Hard sold well
and the latter received a five-star review in Rolling Stone. The
Eminence Front " from
It's Hard was a hit, and became a
regular at live shows.
By this time Townshend had fallen into depression, wondering if he
was no longer a visionary. He was again at odds with Daltrey and
Entwistle, who merely wanted to tour and play hits and thought
Townshend had saved his best songs for his solo album, Empty Glass
(1980). Jones' drumming style was very different from Moon's and this
drew criticism within the band. Townshend briefly became addicted to
heroin before cleaning up early in 1982. John Entwistle
performing with the Who at the Manchester Apollo, 1981
Townshend wanted the Who to stop touring and become a studio act;
Entwistle threatened to quit, saying, "I don't intend to get off the
road ... there's not much I can do about it except hope they change
their minds." Townshend did not change his mind, and so the Who
embarked on a farewell tour of the US and Canada with the Clash as
support, ending in Toronto on 17 December 1982.
Townshend spent part of 1983 writing material for a Who studio album
Warner Bros. Records
Warner Bros. Records from a contract in 1980, but he found
himself unable to generate music appropriate for the Who and at the
end of 1983 paid for himself and Jones to be released from the
contract. On 16 December 1983, Townshend announced at a press
conference that he was leaving the Who, effectively ending the band.
After the Who break-up, Townshend focused on solo albums such as
White City: A Novel (1985),
The Iron Man (1989, featuring Daltrey and
Entwistle and two songs credited to the Who), and Psychoderelict
In July 1985, the Who performed at
Live Aid at
Wembley Stadium ,
BBC transmission truck blew a fuse during the set,
temporarily interrupting the broadcast. At the 1988
Brit Awards , at
Royal Albert Hall
Royal Albert Hall , the band was given the British Phonographic
Industry 's Lifetime Achievement Award. The short set they played
there was the last time Jones played with the Who.
In 1989, the band embarked on a 25th-anniversary The Kids Are Alright
reunion tour with Simon Phillips on drums and Steve "Boltz" Bolton as
a second guitarist. Townshend had announced in 1987 that he suffered
from tinnitus and alternated acoustic, rhythm, and lead guitar to
preserve his hearing. Their two shows at Sullivan Stadium in
Foxborough, Massachusetts , sold 100,000 tickets in less than eight
hours, beating previous records set there by U2 and
David Bowie . The
tour was briefly marred at a gig in Tacoma, Washington, where
Townshend injured his arm on-stage. Some critics disliked the tour's
over-produced and expanded line-up, calling it "
The Who on Ice";
Stephen Thomas Erlewine at
AllMusic said the tour "tarnished the
reputation of the Who almost irreparably". The tour included most of
Tommy and included such guests as
Phil Collins ,
Billy Idol and Elton
John. A 2-CD live album, Join Together , was released in 1990.
In 1990, the Who were inducted into the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame .
The group have a featured collection in the hall's museum, including
one of Moon's velvet suits, a Warwick bass of Entwistle's, and a
drumhead from 1968.
In 1991, the Who recorded a cover of Elton John's "Saturday Night\'s
Alright for Fighting " for the tribute album Two Rooms: Celebrating
the Songs of
Elton John ">
The Who on Tour in 2007. L to R: Zak
Starkey , Daltrey, Townshend, and
John "Rabbit" Bundrick
Entwistle's son, Christopher, gave a statement supporting the Who's
decision to carry on. The US tour began at the
Hollywood Bowl with
Pino Palladino . Townshend dedicated the show to
Entwistle, and ended with a montage of pictures of him. The tour
lasted until September. The loss of a founding member of the Who
caused Townshend to re-evaluate his relationship with Daltrey, which
had been strained over the band's career. He decided their friendship
was important, and this ultimately led to writing and recording new
To combat bootlegging , the band began to release the Encore Series
of official soundboard recordings via themusic.com. An official
statement read: "to satisfy this demand they have agreed to release
their own official recordings to benefit worthy causes".
In 2004, the Who released "Old Red Wine" and "Real Good Looking Boy"
(with Palladino and
Greg Lake , respectively, on bass) on a singles
anthology, The Who: Then and Now , and went on an 18-date tour of
Japan, Australia, the UK and the US, including a return appearance at
the Isle of Wight. Later that year,
Rolling Stone ranked the Who No.
29 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time . Zak
Starkey has been the Who's main drummer since 1994, and turned down an
invitation to be a full-time member.
The Who announced in 2005 that they were working on a new album.
Townshend posted a novella called
The Boy Who Heard Music on his blog,
which developed into a mini-opera called Wire ">
The Who performing
Super Bowl halftime show
The Who toured in support of Endless Wire, including the
Proms at the Roundhouse in London in 2006, headlining the 2007
Glastonbury Festival , a half-time appearance at the
Super Bowl XLIV
in 2010 and being the final act at the closing ceremony of the London
2012 Olympic Games . In November 2012, the Who released Live at Hull
, an album of the band's performance night after the Live at Leeds
Quadrophenia And More
Quadrophenia and More
In 2010, the Who performed
Quadrophenia with parts played by Vedder
Tom Meighan at the
Royal Albert Hall
Royal Albert Hall as part of the Teenage Cancer
Trust series of 10 gigs. A planned tour for early 2010 was
jeopardised by the return of Townshend's tinnitus. He experimented
with an in-ear monitoring system that was recommended by Neil Young
and his audiologist.
Quadrophenia and More tour started in November 2012 in
with keyboardists John Corey,
Loren Gold and
Frank Simes , the latter
of whom was also musical director. In February 2013, Starkey pulled a
tendon and was replaced for a gig by
Scott Devours who performed with
less than four hours' notice. The tour moved to Europe and the UK,
and ended at the
Wembley Arena in July 2013.
The Who Hits 50! And Beyond
Daltrey and Townshend on the Who Hits 50! tour in 2016
In October 2013, Townshend announced the Who would stage their final
tour in 2015, performing in locations they have never played before.
Daltrey clarified that the tour is unrelated to the band's 50th
anniversary—which occurred in 2013—and indicated that he and
Townshend were considering recording new material but would be
emphasising their hits in their final stadium tour. Daltrey stated,
"We can't go on touring forever ... it could be open-ended, but it
will have a finality to it."
In June 2014, Jones reunited with the Who at a charity gig for
Prostate Cancer UK his Hurtwood Polo Club, alongside
Jeff Beck ,
Procol Harum , and
Mike Rutherford . Later that month, the Who
announced plans for a world tour with a possible accompanying album.
In September, the Who released the song "
Be Lucky ", which was
included on the compilation
The Who Hits 50! in October. That
November, the group released a virtual reality app co-designed by
Daltrey's son, Jamie, featuring events and images from the band's
In June 2015, the Who headlined that year's Hyde Park Festival, and
two days later, the
Glastonbury Festival . Townshend suggested to Mojo
that it could be the group's last UK gig. To coincide with The Who's
50th anniversary, all studio albums, including the new compilation,
The Who Hits 50!, were reissued on vinyl. In September 2015, all
remaining US tour dates were cancelled after Daltrey contracted viral
meningitis . Then Townshend promised the band would come back
"stronger than ever".
On 11 June 2016 in Newport ,
The Who embarked on the Back
to the Who Tour 51! , a new tour seen as a continuation of the
previous year's tour. The new tour included a return visit to the
Isle of Wight Festival
Isle of Wight Festival (at the Seaclose Park in Newport, England) on
the opening date on 11 June 2016 and ended at the Empire Polo Grounds
Indio, CA on 16 October 2016 after thirteen concerts. In
The Who announced that 5 UK dates the following April
(previously scheduled for that August and September), would include a
full live performance of Tommy. The 5-date tour was renamed "2017
Tommy clear: right; margin: 0.5em 0 0.8em 1.4em; width:25em; padding:
10px; border: 1px solid #aaa; font-size: 88%; background-color:
#F9F9F9;"> "The music of the Who can only be called rock the primary
influence is rock text-align: left;">—
The Who have been regarded primarily as a rock band, yet have taken
influence from several other styles of music during their career. The
original group played a mixture of trad jazz and contemporary pop hits
as the Detours, and R&B in 1963. The group move to a mod sound the
following year, particularly after hearing the
Small Faces fuse Motown
with a harsher R codecs="vorbis"" data-title="Original Ogg file (97
kbps)" data-shorttitle="Ogg source" data-width="0" data-height="0"
data-bandwidth="96599" /> The closing section of "Won't Get Fooled
Again" merges Townshend's synthesised organ with power chords, Moon's
drum fills and "the greatest scream of a career".
Problems playing this file? See media help .
From the early 1970s, the band's sound included synthesizers,
Who's Next and Quadrophenia. Although groups had used
synthesizers before, the Who were one of the first to integrate the
sound into a basic rock structure. In By Numbers the group's style
had scaled back to more standard rock, but synthesisers regained
prominence on Face Dances.
Townshend and Entwistle were instrumental in making extreme volumes
and distortion standard rock practices.
The Who were early adopters
Marshall Amplification . Entwistle was the first member to get two
4×12 speaker cabinets , quickly followed by Townshend. The group used
feedback as part of their guitar sound, both live and in the studio.
In 1967, Townshend changed to using Sound City amplifiers, customised
by Dave Reeves, then in 1970 to
Hiwatt . The group were the first to
use a 1000 watt PA systems for live gigs, which led to competition
from bands such as the Rolling Stones and
Pink Floyd .
Throughout their careers, the members of the Who have said their live
sound has never been captured as they wished on record. Live gigs and
the audience have always been important to the group. "Irish" Jack
Lyons said, "
The Who weren't a joke, they were fucking real, and so
Daltrey initially based his style on
Motown and rock and roll, but
from Tommy onwards he tackled a wider range of styles. His trademark
sound with the band, as noted in 1983, has been a characteristic
scream, as heard at the end of "Won't Get Fooled Again".
Group backing vocals are prominent in the Who. After "I Can't
Explain" used session men for backing vocals, Townshend and Entwistle
resolved to do better themselves on subsequent releases, producing
strong backing harmonies. Daltrey, Townshend and Entwistle sang lead
on various songs, and occasionally Moon joined in.
Who's Next featured
Daltrey and Townshend sharing the lead vocals on several songs, and
Dave Marsh considers the contrast between Daltrey's strong,
guttural baritone and Townshend's higher and gentler tenor to be one
of the album's highlights.
Daltrey's voice is negatively affected by marijuana smoke, to which
he says he is allergic . On 20 May 2015, during a Who concert at
Nassau Coliseum , he smelled a joint burning and told the smoker to
put it out or "the show will be over". The fan obliged, without taking
Pete Townshend's advice that "the quickest way" to extinguish a joint
is "up your fucking arse".
A selection of instruments used by the Who, including a
Gibson SG Special guitar, and Moon's "Pictures of
Lily" drum kit from
Townshend considered himself less technical than guitarists such as
Eric Clapton and
Jeff Beck and wanted to stand out visually instead.
His playing style evolved from the banjo, favouring down strokes and
using a combination of the plectrum and fingerpicking . His rhythm
playing frequently used seventh chords and suspended fourths , and he
is associated with the power chord , an easy-to-finger chord built
from the root and fifth interval that has since become a fundamental
part of the rock guitar vocabulary. Townshend also produced noises by
manipulating controls on his guitar and by allowing the instrument to
In the group's early career, Townshend favoured
as they allowed him to fret rhythm guitar chords easily and move the
neck back and forwards to create vibrato . From 1968 to 1973, he
Gibson SG Special live, and later used customised Les
Pauls in different tunings.
Brief sample from the song "Pinball Wizard" The opening of
"Pinball Wizard" shows Townshend's acoustic guitar, with a flamenco
Problems playing this file? See media help .
In the studio for
Who's Next and thereafter, Townshend used a 1959
Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins hollow-body guitar, a
Fender Bandmaster amp
and an Edwards volume pedal , all gifts from
Joe Walsh . Townshend
started his career with an acoustic guitar and has regularly recorded
and written with a
Gibson J-200 .
A distinctive part of the original band's sound was Entwistle's lead
bass playing, while Townshend concentrated on rhythm and chords.
Entwistle's was the first popular use of
Rotosound strings in 1966,
trying to find a piano-like sound. His bassline on "Pinball Wizard"
was described by Who biographer John Atkins as "a contribution of its
own without diminishing the guitar lines"; he described his part on
"The Real Me" from Quadrophenia, recorded in one take, as "a bass solo
with vocals". Entwistle's basses include a "Frankenstein" assembled
from five Fender Precision and Jazz basses, and Warwick ,
Gretsch and Guild basses.
Moon further strengthened the reversal of traditional rock
instrumentation by playing lead parts on his drums. His style was at
British rock contemporaries such as
The Kinks ' Mick Avory
The Shadows '
Brian Bennett who did not consider tom-toms
necessary for rock music. Moon used
Premier kits starting in 1966. He
avoided the hi-hat , and concentrated on a mix of tom rolls and
Jones' drumming style was in sharp contrast to Moon's.
The Who were
initially enthusiastic about working with a completely different
drummer, though Townshend later stated, "we've never really been able
to replace Keith." Starkey knew Moon from childhood and Moon gave him
his first drum kit. Starkey has been praised for his playing style
which echoes Moon's without being a copy.
Townshend focused on writing meaningful lyrics inspired by Bob Dylan
, whose words dealt with subjects other than boy–girl relationships
that were common in rock music; in contrast to Dylan's
intellectualism, Townshend believed his lyrics should be about things
kids could relate to. Early material focused on the frustration and
anxiety shared by mod audiences, which Townshend said was a result of
"searching for niche". By
The Who Sell Out, he began to work
narrative and characters into songs, which he fully developed by
Tommy, including spiritual themes influenced by Baba. From the
mid-1970s onwards, his songs tended to be more personal, which
influenced his decision to go solo.
Entwistle's songs, by contrast, typically feature black humour and
darker themes. His two contributions to Tommy ("Cousin Kevin" and
"Fiddle About") appeared because Townshend did not believe he could
write songs as "nasty" as Entwistle's.
"We're not mates at all." —
Roger Daltrey , 1965
The Who are perceived as having had a poor working relationship. In
the original band, Sandom had been the peacemaker and settled
disputes. Moon, by contrast, was as volatile as Daltrey and Townshend.
Entwistle was too passive to become involved in arguments. The group
established their live reputation and stage show in part out of
insecurity and aggression amongst its members and Townshend recalled
that all decisions had to be made democratically "because we always
disagreed". "I just couldn't get through to Pete and Roger. We have
absolutely nothing in common apart from music." —
Keith Moon , 1965
The only genuine friendship in the Who during the 1960s was between
Entwistle and Moon. The pair enjoyed each other's sense of humour and
shared a fondness for clubbing. Journalist Richard Green noted a
"chemistry of playfullness that would go beyond playfullness". Their
relationship diminished somewhat when Entwistle got married in 1967,
though they still socialised on tour. When Moon was destroying
toilets in hotels, Entwistle confessed he "was standing behind him
with the matches".
The group regularly argued in the press, though Townshend said
disputes were amplified in print and the group simply found it
difficult to agree on things. Tommy mutually benefitted Townshend and
Daltrey's standing in the band because of the former's songwriting and
the latter's stage presence, yet even this did not make them close
friends. The pair quarrelled, particularly in the mid-1970s, over the
group's direction. During his time with the band, Jones was subject
to intermittent criticism from Daltrey.
Entwistle's death came as a shock to both Townshend and Daltrey, and
caused them to re-evaluate their relationship. Townshend has said that
he and Daltrey have since become close friends. In 2015, Townshend
confirmed their friendship was still strong, adding their acceptance
of each other's differences "brought us to a really genuine and
compassionate relationship, which can only be described as love."
LEGACY AND INFLUENCE
"The one thing that disgusts me about the Who is the way they
smashed through every door in the uncharted hallway of rock 'n' roll
without leaving much more than some debris for the rest of us to lay
claim to." —
The Who are one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th
century. Their appearances at Monterey and
Woodstock helped give
them a reputation as one of the greatest live rock acts and they have
been credited with originating the "rock opera ". The band has sold
over 100 million records worldwide.
The group's contributions to rock include the power chord , windmill
strum and the use of non-musical instrument noise such as feedback.
The band influenced fashion from their earliest days with their
embrace of pop art and the use of the
Union Jack for clothing. The
guitar-smashing incident at the Railway Hotel in 1964 is one of
Rolling Stone magazine's "50 Moments That Changed the History of Rock
Pink Floyd began to use feedback from their early shows in 1966,
inspired by the Who, whom they considered a formative influence.
Shortly after arriving in London in 1966, Hendrix visited Marshall's
music shop demanding an amp setup like Townshend's and manipulated
electronic noises in ways that Townshend had pioneered. The Beatles
were fans and socialised with Moon in particular during the mid-1960s.
Paul McCartney said the Who "are the most exciting thing
around" and was inspired to write "Helter Skelter " in the group's
John Lennon borrowed the acoustic guitar style in
"Pinball Wizard" for "
Polythene Pam ".
The loud volume of the band's live show influenced the approach of
hard rock and heavy metal .
Proto punk and punk rock bands such as
MC5 , the Stooges , the
Ramones the Sex Pistols, the Clash
Green Day cite the Who as an influence.
The Who inspired mod
revival bands, particularly the Jam , which helped other groups
influenced by the Who become popular.
The Who influenced hard rock
bands such as Guns N\' Roses . In the mid-1990s,
Britpop bands such
as Blur and Oasis were influenced by the Who.
The Who have also
influenced pop punk band
Panic! at the Disco .
The Who have inspired many tribute bands; Daltrey has endorsed the
Whodlums , who raise money for the
Teenage Cancer Trust
Teenage Cancer Trust . Many bands
have covered Who songs;
Elton John 's version of "Pinball Wizard"
reached No. 7 in the UK.
During the Who's hiatuses in the 1980s and 90s, Townshend developed
his skills as a music publisher to be financially successful from the
Who without recording or touring. He countered criticism of "selling
out" by saying that licensing the songs to other media allows a wider
exposure and widens the group's appeal.
The American forensic drama
CSI (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation ,
CSI: Miami , CSI: NY , and CSI: Cyber ) feature Who songs as theme
music, "Who Are You", "Won't Get Fooled Again", "Baba O'Riley" and "I
Can See for Miles" respectively. The group's songs have featured in
other popular TV series such as
The Simpsons , and Top Gear , which
had an episode where the presenters were tasked with being roadies for
Rock-orientated films such as
Almost Famous ,
School of Rock and
Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny refer to the band and feature their
songs, and other films have used the band's material in their
soundtracks, including Apollo 13 (which used "I Can See For Miles")
and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (which used a take of "My
Generation" recorded for the BBC). Several of the band's tracks have
appeared in the video game Rock Band and its sequels.
AWARDS AND NOMINATIONS
Main article: List of awards and nominations received by
The Who have received many awards and accolades from the music
industry for their recordings and their influence. They received a
Lifetime Achievement Award from the
British Phonographic Industry
British Phonographic Industry in
1988, and from the Grammy Foundation in 2001.
The band were inducted into the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990
where their display describes them as "prime contenders, in the minds
of many, for the title of World's Greatest Rock Band", and the UK
Music Hall of Fame in 2005. Seven of the group's albums appeared on
Rolling Stone\'s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2003, more than
any act except the Beatles ,
Bob Dylan , the Rolling Stones and Bruce
List of the Who band members
Roger Daltrey – vocals, guitar, harmonica, percussion
Pete Townshend – guitar, vocals, keyboards (1964–present)
John Entwistle – bass guitar, horns, keyboards, vocals
(1964–2002; his death)
Doug Sandom – drums (1964)
Keith Moon – drums, vocals (1964–1978; his death)
Kenney Jones – drums (1978–1988)
CURRENT TOURING MUSICIANS
Zak Starkey – drums, percussion (1996–present)
Simon Townshend – guitar, backing vocals (1996–97,
Jon Button – bass guitar (2017–present)
* John Corey – keyboards, backing vocals (2012–present)
Loren Gold – keyboards, backing vocals (2012–present)
Frank Simes – keyboards, backing vocals, musical director
FORMER TOURING MUSICIANS
Pino Palladino – bass guitar (2002–2016)
John "Rabbit" Bundrick – keyboards, backing vocals (1979–1981,
Tim Gorman – keyboards, backing vocals (1982)
* Simon Philips – drums (1989)
* Steve "Boltz" Bolton – guitar (1989)
Jody Linscott – percussion (1989–1997)
Jon Carin – keyboards, percussion (1996–1997)
The Who discography
My Generation (1965)
A Quick One (1966)
The Who Sell Out (1967)
* Tommy (1969)
* Who\'s Next (1971)
The Who by Numbers (1975)
Who Are You (1978)
Face Dances (1981)
* It\'s Hard (1982)
* Endless Wire (2006)
TOURS AND PERFORMANCES
* 1962–1963 performances
* 1964 performances
* 1965 Tour
* 1966 Tour
* 1967 Tour
* 1968 Tour
* 1969 Tour
* 1970 Tour
* 1971 Tour
* 1972 Tour
* 1973 Tour
* 1974 Tour
* 1975 Tour
* 1976 Tour
* 1977–1978 performances
* 1979 Tour
* 1980 Tour
Face Dances Tour
* It\'s Hard Tour
* 1985 and 1988 reunions
* 1989 Tour
* 1996–1997 Tour
* 1999 performances
* 2000 Tour
The Concert for New York City appearance
* 2002 Tour
* 2004 Tour
Live 8 appearance
Endless Wire Tour
* 2008–2009 Tour
* 2010 performances
* 2011 performances
* 2012–2013 Tour
* 2012 12–12–12: The Concert for Sandy Relief appearance
* 2014–16 Tour (
The Who Hits 50! Tour)
Back to the Who Tour 51!
* 2017 Tommy -webkit-column-width: 30em; column-width: 30em;
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