Pete Townshend – circa 1978
“My fingers kill me as I play my guitar / ‘Cause I’ve been chewing down at my nails” – ’New Song’ (Pete Townshend)
He’s broken it. Pete Townshend, guitarist and chief songwriter for British rock band The Who, looks at his damaged instrument. It is September 1964 and The Who is playing a gig at the Railway Hotel. A temporary stage extension has caused Townshend to misjudge the height of the ceiling and the lanky six feet tall musician has accidentally cracked the neck of his guitar against the roof of the venue. A moment of shock turns into anger and frustration. Pete Townshend grabs the damaged guitar and repeatedly smashes it against the stage, reducing the instrument to shattered pieces. Wild man drummer Keith Moon, requiring little invitation to chaos, kicks over his drumkit in an act of auto-destructive sympathy. The crowd goes wild. The legend of The Who grows…
Peter Dennis Blandford Townshend is born on 19 May 1945 in Chiswick, London, England, ten days after the surrender of German forces in World War Two. His parents are Cliff Townshend and Betty Townshend (nee Dennis). Cliff and Betty are both working in the music industry. Cliff Townshend plays alto saxophone in the Royal Air Force band, The Squadronnaires. Betty sings with the Sydney Torch and Les Douglas Orchestras. Although Pete is brought up in a ‘typical middle-class home’, all is not well. His parents split up when he is a toddler and the little boy is left with his maternal grandmother who is alleged to be ‘clinically insane.’ Mercifully, after two years, Cliff and Betty Townshend reunite. With musical parents, it is not surprising that Pete Townshend also takes an interest in music. “Chromatic harmonica was actually my first instrument,” he recalls. When Pete is 12, his grandmother gives him his first guitar, an inexpensive Spanish model. Pete gains two younger brothers, Paul (born 1957) and Simon (born 1960), but his home life is still turbulent. Cliff and Betty Townshend ‘both drink heavily and possess fiery tempers.’ Dishes and kitchenware are regularly tossed at each other by the bickering couple. Betty is ‘quite promiscuous’ and insists that Pete address the men she brings home as ‘uncle.’ Pete Townshend attends Acton Grammar School in West London. Two of his fellow students at that school are Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle.
Roger Harry Daltrey is born 1 March 1944 in Hammersmith, London, England. “I was two years older than the other guys [who would make up The Who],” Roger points out, “[and] my family was a lot poorer than they were.” His parents are Harry and Irene Daltrey. “[As a kid] I was little with bow legs and rickets,” says Roger. Although he will only ever reach a height of five feet, seven inches, Roger Daltrey does become more physically robust. “You know, I was a school rebel…I was a right b*****d, a right hard nut,” he admits. “Rock ‘n’ roll was the only thing I wanted to get into.” Ultimately, Roger Daltrey is expelled from Acton Grammar School. He takes a job as a sheet metal worker while forming a skiffle group (skiffle is a British style of music popular at the time. It is a sort of mix of rock ‘n’ roll and folk.).
John Alec Entwistle (9 October 1944 – 27 June 2002) is born in Chiswick, London, England. He is the only child of Herbert Entwistle and his wife, Queenie Entwistle (nee Johns). Like Pete Townshend, John Entwistle comes from a musical parentage. Herbert Entwistle plays trumpet and Queenie Entwistle plays piano. Their marriage fails soon after John is born and he is raised by his grandparents in South Acton. John Entwistle displays an aptitude for music. He learns to play piano, trumpet and French horn as well as being able to read sheet music.
In their early teens, Pete Townshend and John Entwistle join the same traditional jazz band, The Confederates. Pete Townshend having – in his words – been “b*ggerring about on guitar for years getting nowhere,” plays banjo instead in this outfit. John Entwistle plays trumpet in The Confederates. After getting into a fight with the rest of the group, Pete Townshend switches back to guitar. He and John Entwistle abandon The Confederates to start a rock ‘n’ roll band instead. Entwistle takes up bass. “By the time I taught myself the bass guitar at age 14, my hands were already pretty nimble,” Entwistle declares.
In 1961 Pete Townshend begins attending Ealing Art College. “I didn’t start to collect records and listen to guitar players properly until I went to art school,” he notes.
While Pete Townshend is at art school, Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle work ‘odd jobs’ to support themselves.
In 1962 John Entwistle begins dating Alison Wise.
Roger Daltrey forms a new band, The Detours, in 1962. He plays lead guitar and trombone with The Detours. John Entwistle joins The Detours as bassist in 1962. Another member of the group is drummer Doug Sandom (born 26 February 1930) who joins in mid-1962. Pete Townshend has ‘several stints in local semi-professional bands.’ Roger Daltrey, with the encouragement of Townshend’s former bandmate John Entwistle, invites Pete to join The Detours in late 1962. “If I hadn’t been bullied into the band, I would have been happier as an art student,” Townshend surprisingly claims. The Detours membership fluctuates. Lead vocalist Colin Dawson gives way to another singer known only as ‘Gabby’. Then, in 1963, Roger Daltrey sets aside his guitar to take up the job of lead singer. The Detours’ line-up solidifies as the quartet of Roger Daltrey (vocals), Pete Townshend (guitar), John Entwistle (bass) and Doug Sandom (drums).
Pete Townshend continues to attend Ealing Art College through 1963. In that year, he begins dating Karen Astley, a fellow art student. Finally, in 1964, Pete Townshend drops out of art school to commit himself full-time to music.
In February 1964, after seeing another group called The Detours on television, Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle and Doug Sandom realise their band needs a new name. They choose The Who. It’s a pun on people’s reactions to hearing about an unfamiliar band: “The Who?” Also, the short and simple name looks good in large letters on posters.
On 28 March 1964 Roger Daltrey marries Jacqueline Rickman. Roger and Jackie have a son, Simon (born 1964).
In April 1964 Doug Sandom leaves The Who. He is older and married and doesn’t fit in with the rest of the group. The Who struggle along for the next few months with a substitute drummer.
The Who come into the orbit of two would-be managers. Helmut Gordon is a doorknob manufacturer and Pete Meaden is ‘a fast-talking, pill-popping freelance publicist enamoured with the world of “mods”.’ In 1964 British youth is divided into two tribes, the rockers and the mods. The rockers favour leather jackets, greasy quiffs, motorcycles and 1950s recording artists. The mods (short for moderns) wear sharp suits and shorter hair; they ride Vespa motor-scooters and their chosen music is American rhythm and blues (R & B). “When The Who first started, we were playing blues,” Pete Townshend recalls, but this older style gives way under Meaden to ‘maximum R & B’. Pete Meaden renames the group The High Numbers, ‘after the t-shirts with numbers favoured by mods.’ In July 1964 The High Numbers release a single, ‘I’m The Face’ backed with ‘Zoot Suit’, on Fontana Records. Pete Meaden acts as record producer as well as composing those songs – even if ‘I’m The Face’ is a bit too derivative of Slim Harpo’s ‘Got Love If You Want It’. The single ‘flops.’
When The High Numbers play a gig at the Royal Oxford Hotel, a young man in the audience boasts he can do a better job than the group’s substitute drummer. Talking his way onstage, this interloper proceeds to ‘demolish the drum set’ and ‘break the drum pedal.’ Impressed, the group adopts Keith Moon as their new drummer.
Keith John Moon (22 August 1946 – 7 September 1978) is born in Wembley, London, England. He is the child of ‘working class parents’, Alfred ‘Alf’ Charles Moon and Kathleen ‘Kit’ Winifred Moon. Alf Moon nicknames his offspring ‘Nobby.’ When he is 12, Keith Moon joins the Sea Cadet Corps who provide him with his first music lesson – on the bugle. Keith Moon learns to play drums when he is 14, taking instruction from Carlo Little. Keith does not like school and is not a good student. He leaves school when he is 15. While working as an apprentice electrician, Keith Moon joins his first band, The Beachcombers, in summer 1963. Keith is a fan of surf music and American acts such as The Beach Boys and Jan And Dean. The Beachcombers release one ‘obscure’ single, ‘Mad Goose’ b/w ‘You Can’t Sit Down’, in 1963. From there, Keith Moon goes on to join The High Numbers (The Who) in 1964. “The first night that Keith Moon played with us…he smashed up the drum kit,” says Roger Daltrey.
In September 1964 comes the gig at the Railway Hotel where Pete Townshend accidentally damages his guitar and then goes on to utterly destroy it in a fit of fury.
Around this time The High Numbers change managers, reclaiming their previous cognomen, The Who, in the process. (Pete Meaden commits suicide on 12 August 1978 with an overdose of barbiturates. He was 35.) The new managers of The Who are Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp, a pair of aspiring film-makers. Pete Townshend says, “Kit Lambert…he became our manager because what he was really interested in doing was making rock films and we were just his subject matter. He just found us in this club…then he became fascinated with us.” In late 1964, the acts of auto-destruction become a regular part of The Who’s stage show…though such expensive antics delay the band turning a profit. With the definitive line-up of Roger Daltrey (vocals), Pete Townshend (guitar, vocals, occasional keyboards), John Entwistle (bass, vocals, occasional horns) and Keith Moon (drums), The Who are set to begin their career in earnest.
The Who start out as a pop band then become a rock band. Because these descriptions are so common, the distinction between the two may not be apparent. “I always thought The Who would be very brief,” claims Pete Townshend. The band’s early output supports that theory. They create disposable pop singles – albeit very good disposable pop singles. Putting together a whole album is a bit more challenging. Then, after a few years, the pendulum swings the other way and The Who become an album-oriented act that finds a hit single harder to come by. The change in polarity pretty much coincides with the group changing from a pop act to a rock act. The emphasis switches to a harsher, louder sound that could be called hard rock, if not quite heavy metal. “We were too rough at the edges to be a pop group,” suggest Roger Daltrey.
The four personalities within The Who create an indelible image. Roger Daltrey is the handsome rock god, twirling his microphone about. Pete Townshend windmills his arm in a circle, crashing through power chords on his guitar. He leaps, he smashes his guitar, he is outrageously physical…in part to distract from his own self-consciousness about the size of his nose. There is a secondary reason for his showmanship: “I used to try and make up visually for what I couldn’t play as a musician.” If there is any truth in that statement from Townshend, it is only in the earliest days. He quickly becomes a distinctive – if sometimes underrated – guitarist, playing a sort of rough, chord-based rhythm as lead guitar. Keith Moon is an equally notable musician. His style of attacking drums is quite different to most of his peers. Moon doesn’t have much interest in just being the time-keeping bedrock of the band. He flails about as though his drums are the lead instrument. Townshend and Moon develop an almost telepathic rapport, instinctively knowing when to make space for each other. The sound is chaotic and, at times, ugly, but it is always interesting and exhilarating. Bassist John Entwistle stands stock still, looking utterly bored with the prancing antics of the rest of The Who.
Pete Townshend is the ‘group’s mastermind and main songwriter.’ John Entwistle provides blackly humorous songs as the band’s alternative composer. Roger Daltrey and Keith Moon pen the odd tune here and there. All songs referred to here are written by Pete Townshend unless otherwise indicated.
Although the four members of The Who are colourful individuals, the group’s interaction with their audience creates another voice. In a way, The Who is shaped by the hopes and expectations of their fans as much as the band influences a generation of rock music listeners. “We’re not a four-piece band,” Roger Daltrey testifies, “We’re a four-million piece band.”
The first single by The Who (‘I’m The Face’ b/w ‘Zoot Suit’ was credited to The High Numbers) is ‘I Can’t Explain’ (UK no. 8, US no. 93), released in early 1965. It is produced by Shel Talmy, who has been working with The Kinks, another British group. Over a surprisingly funky, choppy rhythm, Roger Daltrey barks, “Got a feeling inside (can’t explain) / A certain kind (can’t explain) / I feel hot and cold (can’t explain) / Yeah, down in my soul, yeah.”
On 28 January 1965 The Who make their first appearance on ‘Ready Steady Go’, a British television show. This program plays a role in building The Who’s early popularity.
The second single from The Who, ‘Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere’ (UK no. 10) in May 1965, is a rather different proposition to their first. Co-written by Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey, this is an ode to freedom: “Nothing gets in my way / Not even locked doors / Don’t follow the lines / That been laid before.” More notable is Townshend’s guitar solo – if such a description can be applied to a discordant mass of echoing electrical feedback. It’s great stuff but very unfamiliar to the wider public. The record company even sends it back to the group, convinced that the strange noises must be a mistake. The Who performs ‘Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere’ on ‘Ready Steady Go’ on 21 May 1965.
In 1965 Keith Moon begins dating Kim Kerrigan (born Maryse Elizabeth Patricia Kerrigan).
On 22 September 1965 The Who begins a short tour of Scandinavia in Copenhagen. On this excursion, Roger Daltrey punches out Keith Moon and is, consequently, almost fired from the group. The Who becomes notorious for their internal fights and fisticuffs. Despite their fractious façade, Pete Townshend gruffly insists, “We get along all right.”
The Who makes their U.S. television debut on ‘Shindig’ on 2 October 1965. They perform ‘I Can’t Explain’.
On 5 November 1965 The Who release their greatest single. ‘My Generation’ (UK no. 2, US no. 74) is born from anger. Pete Townshend uses his first songwriting royalty cheque to buy a second-hand car. It is a pretty ugly old vehicle. He leaves it parked on the side of the road regularly travelled by the Queen Mother of the British Royal Family. She objects to the eyesore and has it removed. The young songwriter can’t afford to pay the cost to have his impounded car retrieved. In a fit of venom, Townshend pens ‘My Generation’. “Why don’t you all f-f-f-fade away?” stammers Roger Daltrey to the old guard in the lyric to ‘My Generation’. Such vocal impediments are a side effect for the ‘pilled-up mods’ The Who represented, though there is no indication that Daltrey (or Townshend) had a drug-induced stutter. Besides, the ‘f-f-f’ tension suggests a certain other four letter word beginning with ‘f’ is about to be uttered…though it isn’t forthcoming. The song also contains the grim claim, “I hope I die before I get old.” This jittery anthem captures the zeitgeist of 1960s youth, the ‘don’t trust anyone over 30’ attitude. Musically, it also represents The Who well, showcasing not only the customary Pete Townshend / Keith Moon fireworks, but a spectacular dive-bombing bass solo from John Entwistle.
‘My Generation’ becomes the title track of The Who’s debut album. ‘My Generation’ (1965) (UK no. 5) is released in December on Brunswick Records. It is produced by Shel Talmy. The album naturally includes the song ‘My Generation’. It also includes cover versions of 1950s rocker Bo Diddley’s ‘’I’m A Man’ from 1955 and a pair of rhythm and blues songs first recorded by James Brown: ‘Please Please Please’ from 1956 and ‘I Don’t Mind’ from 1961. More interesting are The Who’s original compositions. The best of them is ‘The Kids Are Alright’ (UK no. 41, US no. 106), an almost nostalgic attempt at staying in touch with the youthful audience The Who has attracted. It will be released as a single in 1966, backed with the group composition ‘The Ox’. Bassist John Entwistle is nicknamed ‘The Ox’. Although at six feet tall, Entwistle is the same height as Pete Townshend his bearish physique makes him seem bigger than the skinny guitarist. Yet Entwistle is called ‘The Ox’ not for his size, but for the constitution that enables him to withstand heavy-duty partying. Entwistle is also sometimes called ‘The Quiet One’ for his unassuming stage persona. The lightly stepping ‘La-La-Lies’ is paired with the brooding ‘The Good’s Gone’ as another 1966 single and ‘A Legal Matter’ (UK no. 32) is given a similar outing.
‘Substitute’ (UK no. 5), released in March 1966, is the next single for The Who. This song is produced by Pete Townshend as the group seeks to break away from producer Shel Talmy. Townshend contributes a classic guitar riff and the band manages the unlikely feat of turning ‘Substitute’ into a song that is both rumbling and bouncy. “I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth,” boasts the lyric, mocking the wealthy who are said to be born with a silver spoon in their mouths. “I’m a substitute for another guy / I look pretty tall but my heels are high,” is the self-effacing admission. The flipside is the hypnotic ‘Circles’.
On 17 March 1966 drummer Keith Moon marries Kim Kerrigan. They have a daughter, Amanda (born 12 July 1966) – perhaps more commonly referred to as Mandy.
The Who’s rowdy reputation is underlined at a gig at the Ricky Tick Club in Windsor, England, on 20 May 1966. John Entwistle and Keith Moon are late, so Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend begin the show with the rhythm section from the local band that is supporting The Who that night. The tardy bassist and drummer show up part way through the performance and ‘Townshend hits Moon on the head with his guitar.’ Keith Moon quits – for a week, before returning to the fold.
Although Pete Townshend has been churning out hit singles for The Who, he has loftier ambitions. In 1966 he begins work on a show, a ‘rock opera’, to be titled ‘Quads’. ‘Set in the future, it concerns parents who want girls, so when one of their four children turns out to be a boy, they insist on raising him as a girl.’ The need for a new single results in Townshend condensing all this into ‘I’m A Boy’ (UK no. 2). A lashing song of sexual confusion, the narrator proclaims, “I’m a boy / But my Ma won’t admit it” and is told, “Put this dress on little boy.” Breaking out of his gender restriction, the boy babbles, “I want to play cricket on the green / Ride my bike across the stream / Cut myself and see my blood / I want to come home all covered in mud.”
In November 1966, The Who release an EP, ‘Ready Steady Who’, whose title pays tribute to ‘Ready Steady Go’, the British television program that helped the band find an audience. The contents of the EP are a mixed bag. There are two Pete Townshend originals (‘Circles’, the B side of ‘Substitute’, and the woozy ‘Disguises’) and three cover versions: The Regents’ ‘Barbara Ann’, Ronny And The Daytonas’ ‘Bucket T’ and Neal Hefti’s ‘Batman Theme’ from the 1966 television series starring the caped crusader.
The Who’s second album, ‘A Quick One’ (1966) (UK no. 4, US no. 67), is released in December. It is the first of three consecutive Who albums produced by the band’s manager, Kit Lambert. Having left Brunswick, The Who issues this disc through Polydor. Pete Townshend’s ‘Run Run Run’ has an insistent groove and his ‘So Sad About Us’ is one of his most beautiful (and overlooked) ballads. Roger Daltrey authors the surging ‘See My Way’. John Entwistle writes (and sings – as he does most of his own compositions) ‘Boris The Spider’. This is perhaps Entwistle’s best song, a growling and funny account of killing a household pest: “He’s come to a sticky end / Don’t think he will ever mend / Never more will he crawl ‘round / He’s embedded in the ground.” The Who find themselves short of material for the album. Manager/producer Kit Lambert advises Pete Townshend to write one long song to complete the album instead of trying to write two or three standard-length pieces. Somewhat confounded, since he envisions pop songs as three minutes long, Townshend cobbles together bits and pieces into a mosaic, a ‘mini-opera’, that he jokingly calls ‘A Quick One (While He’s Away)’. The song’s female protagonist pines for her absent man, but “Here comes Ivor, the dirty old sooty engine-driver to make you feel all right.” After working through various changes in tone, tempo and musical style, by the conclusion, the original couple are reunited: “I missed you and I must admit / I’ve kissed a few and once did sit / On Ivor the engine driver’s lap / And later with him had a nap.” It’s witty, sexy and an omen of things to come.
The Who closes out 1966 with the December single ‘Happy Jack’ (UK no. 3, US no. 24). The tune alternates between a sinister creeping sound and an exuberant release. Lyrically, it’s a tribute to individuality: “They couldn’t prevent Jack from feeling happy.”
Moving into 1967, The Who issues ‘Pictures Of Lilly’ (UK no. 4, US no. 51), a ‘seemingly innocent song about masturbation.’ The song’s young narrator has problems sleeping so his father provides him with saucy pictures of a pin-up girl from yesteryear. “Pictures of Lilly / Made my life so wonderful / Pictures of Lilly / Help me sleep at night,” sings Roger Daltrey angelically while The Who demonstrates a punchy power in the music, assisted by some brass colouration from John Entwistle.
Although they appeared on U.S. television in 1965, The Who makes their live debut in the U.S. on 25 March 1967. However it is their set at the Monterey Pop Festival, held on 16-18 June 1967, which really introduces The Who to a larger American audience.
Roger Daltrey’s marriage to Jacqueline Rickman comes unstuck in 1967, leading to their divorce on 29 January 1968. Roger Daltrey has a son, Mathias (born 1967), as a result of a liaison with Swedish model, Elisabeth Aaronson. Daltrey starts dating Heather Taylor, a model, in 1967.
On 23 June 1967 Who bassist John Entwistle marries Alison Wise. The couple have been dating since 1962. John and Alison go on to have a son together, Christopher.
On 14 July 1967 The Who begins their first full-scale American tour. Incongruously, they are the support act to Herman’s Hermits, a much lighter British pop group.
During The Who’s U.S. tour, Keith Moon celebrates his 21st birthday. He drives a Lincoln Continental into a hotel swimming pool in Flint, Michigan, knocking out one of his teeth in the process. The ruckus he causes is enough to get him banned for life by the Holiday Inn chain of hotels and motels. The reputation of ‘Moon the Loon’ grows ever larger from this point. He becomes famed for smashing television sets. On one occasion, Keith Moon is ejected from a hotel suite after nailing and strapping the furniture to the ceiling. “I love to see people laugh and I love it if I can make them laugh,” he says. Moon describes himself as “quite out of control…amazingly drunk.”
On 25 September 1967 The Who performs on U.S. television program ‘The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour’. The band close with their familiar fit of destruction. However smoke powder planted in Keith Moon’s drum-kit that is supposed to billow out in clouds instead explodes. Pete Townshend gets the worst of it, damaging his hearing, in an injury that will continue to plague him in times to come.
‘The Who Sell Out’ (1967) (UK no. 13, US no. 48, AUS no. 8) is released in December and is the first of the band’s albums on The Who’s own label, Track Records, distributed by Polydor. This is, loosely, a concept album. The project is made to resemble a radio broadcast and the songs are played amidst faux advertisements for such products as Heinz baked beans and Coca-Cola. Some of the songs play into this conceit (e.g. Pete Townshend’s deodorant ‘Odorono’ and John Entwistle’s pimple cream ‘Medac’). The disc’s best known song is ‘I Can See For Miles’ (UK no. 10, US no. 9). “I know you’ve deceived me, now here’s a surprise / I know that you have ‘cos there’s magic in my eyes,” boasts Roger Daltrey in the lyrics to this song. ‘I Can See For Miles’ becomes The Who’s biggest U.S. hit so far but its success in their native England is comparatively modest after their previous hits. Pete Townshend grumbles, “To me it was the ultimate Who record yet it didn’t sell. I spat on the British record buyer.” Among the album’s other highlights is the sordid dance of ‘Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand’, the oddly crooned ‘Tattoo’ and the two-part medieval mini-opera ‘Rael’.
From 20 to 27 January 1968 The Who tours Australia in the company of fellow British mod band The Small Faces. Following an incident on the flight between Adelaide and Melbourne, the ‘rowdy rockers’ are hounded back to England by the Australia media. Pete Townshend vows never to return to Australia.
Early in 1968 one of Pete Townshend’s old art school friends, Mike McInnerney, turns the guitarist on to Meher Baba. The Indian ‘perfect master’ utilises elements of Vedantic, Sufi and mystic schools in his preachings. By April 1968 Pete Townshend has become a disciple of the spiritual guru. It doesn’t mean he has deserted rock ‘n’ roll though. “I can talk for hours about Meher Baba the God Man who describes creation,” the guitarist later says. “But ultimately, I realise that I see it all through these two little slits labelled R & R.”
On 20 May 1968 Pete Townshend marries his long-time girlfriend, Karen Astley. Pete and Karen go on to have three children: Emma (born 1969), a daughter named Aminta (born 1971) whose name is sometimes shortened to ‘Minta’, and Joseph (born 1990).
The Who is relatively quiet in 1968, releasing only the singles ‘Call Me Lightning’ (US no. 40), ‘Dogs’ (UK no. 25) and ‘Magic Bus’ (UK no. 26, US no. 25). The most famous of these is ‘Magic Bus’, issued in September. A heavily percussive number with an oddly skeletal guitar part, ‘Magic Bus’ is as psychedelic as ‘I Can See For Miles’. Playing the part of a passenger on the mystical conveyance, Roger Daltrey sings, “I don’t want to cause no fuss / But can I buy your Magic Bus?” The response is, “No-ooo.”
Up to this point, The Who’s albums, EPs and singles have been combined into slightly different albums issued by U.S. Decca / MCA for the American market. Those albums are: ‘The Who Sings My Generation’ (1966); ‘Happy Jack’ (1967) (US no. 67); ‘The Who Sell Out’ (1968) (US no. 48); and ‘Magic Bus – The Who On Tour’ (1968) (US no. 39). From here, the content of the albums is the same in the U.K. and U.S.
On 12 December 1968 The Who is filmed for ‘The Rolling Stones’ Rock & Roll Circus’. The footage is shelved for years, only being released in full in 1996. Apparently, ‘The Stones feel their performance leaves much to be desired – especially after the show The Who puts on.’
‘Tommy’ (1969) (UK no. 2, US no. 4, AUS no. 8), released in May, is The Who’s best album. The Who has toyed with the concept of a ‘rock-opera’ from ‘I’m A Boy’ through ‘A Quick One’ and ‘Rael’, but ‘Tommy’ is the full realisation of the idea as a double album. The basic plotline is as follows: When Tommy Walker is a little boy he discovers his mother becoming intimate with another man while Tommy’s father is missing. The lad is afflicted with a hysterical state of being deaf, mute and blind as a consequence. After years of isolation and mistreatment, radical therapies – including playing pinball – restore Tommy to awareness. He becomes a guru with a vast following…until they turn against Tommy and abandon him. ‘Tommy’ is full of contradictions. It is profoundly silly, yet also profoundly moving. It has many lengthy instrumental passages, but it also has many ‘songs’ that are little more than jingles that last only for a few seconds and serve only to achieve a transition in scenes. To novices who know only of The Who’s fearsome reputation for noise and brutishness, it is surprisingly subdued and well-mannered. Such contrasts may turn some away from ‘Tommy’, but if they are accepted as being wholly in keeping with The Who’s own wilful behaviour, they can be embraced as part and parcel of their definitive work. The best track on the album is the dynamic ‘Pinball Wizard’ (UK no. 4, US no. 19). Pete Townshend overlays power chords on a bed of tickling acoustic guitar while Roger Daltrey, playing the part of a ‘local lad’, observes of Tommy, “That deaf, dumb and blind kid / Sure plays a mean pinball.” ‘I’m Free’ (US no. 37) is Tommy’s boast as he gains followers. ‘See Me, Feel Me’ (US no. 12) (“Touch Me, heal me,” adds Tommy) is the new messiah’s request and it carries great emotional weight. (Note: Although ‘See Me, Feel Me’ is the name of the single, there is no track by that name on the ‘Tommy’ album. The refrain is heard in ‘Christmas’, ‘Go To The Mirror’ and, most fully, in the closing song of the ‘opera’, ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’.) Pete Townshend says of ‘Tommy’, his masterwork, “We worked out the sociological implications, the religious implications, the rock implications…When we’d done that, we went into the studio, got smashed out of our brains and made it.”
The Who performs selections from ‘Tommy’ at the Woodstock Festival held at Max Yasgur’s farm in Bethel, New York over 15-17 August 1969. Woodstock is the high point of the 1960s hippie counterculture and The Who’s inclusion is very symbolic of their role in the era. However, according to Roger Daltrey, “It was the worst gig we ever played.” During their set, an angry Pete Townshend kicks Yippie leader Abbie Hoffman offstage while Hoffman is making a speech about imprisoned radical, John Sinclair.
On 4 January 1970 Keith Moon accidentally runs over and kills his driver, Neil Boland.
The Who’s first post-‘Tommy’ outing is the one-off single ‘The Seeker’ (UK no. 19, US no. 44). Over Pete Townshend’s volleys of strummed guitar, Roger Daltrey assumes the role of “A truly desperate man” on a spiritual quest. He turns to rock idols (Bob Dylan, The Beatles) and drug gurus (Timothy Leary) before informing all that, “I’ve been searching low and high / I don’t get to get what I’m after until the day I die.”
‘Live At Leeds’ (1970) (UK no. 3, US no. 4, AUS no. 6) in May attempts to get past ‘Tommy’ by emphasising The Who’s musical muscularity in a bruising concert recording. One of the highlights of the set is The Who’s rendition of ‘Summertime Blues’ (UK no. 38, US no. 27), originally a hit for rockabilly singer Eddie Cochran in 1958.
Finally, Pete Townshend gives in to the idea of crafting another rock opera in the style of ‘Tommy’. The ambitious project is named ‘Lifehouse’. Townshend explains it this way: “It was a portentous science-fiction film with utopian spiritual messages into which were to be grafted uplifting scenes from a real Who concert. I was selling a simple credo: whatever happens in the future rock and roll will save the world.” ‘The “Lifehouse” is the place where the music is played and the young people collect to discover rock music as a powerful, almost religious cult.’ The agonising work on the project results in The Who splitting away from producer / manager Kit Lambert. Finally, the whole mess collapses. Some fine songs (‘Mary’, ‘Join Together’, ‘The Relay’ and ‘Pure And Easy’) are lost in the fallout.
Roger Daltrey marries his girlfriend, Heather Taylor, on 19 July 1971. Roger and Heather go on to have three daughters: Rosie (born 1972), Willow (born 1975) and Jamie (born 1981).
‘Who’s Next’ (1971) (UK no. 1, US no. 4, AUS no. 3), in August, is salvaged from the aborted ‘Lifehouse’ project. The album is co-produced by The Who and Glynn Johns. The cover image, showing the band walking away from a ‘monolith’ at a slag heap outside Sheffield after having apparently urinated on the ‘monolith’ is a jibe at Stanley Kubrick’s film ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ (1968). In the movie a monolith appears to mankind at moments of cosmic significance. The Who’s irreverent act of micturition seems to be intended to deflate Kubrick’s posturings…and perhaps their own similarly overblown ‘Lifehouse’ science-fiction concept. In many ways ‘Who’s Next’ is probably a better album than ‘Lifehouse’ would have been and, in its full-on hard rock, is more representative of the band than ‘Tommy’. ‘Who’s Next’ is also notable for Pete Townshend’s pioneering use of synthesisers and sequencers, some of the first such uses of programmed electronic keyboards in rock music. The opening track, ‘Baba O’Riley’ (UK no. 55), is one of the main beneficiaries of the sequencers. This evocation of a “Teenage wasteland” takes its name from Pete Townshend’s guru, Meher Baba, avant-garde composer Terry Riley, and perhaps the song’s Irish jig conclusion (with Dave Arbus playing violin). Bracketing the album from the other end is ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ (UK no. 9, US no. 15) which weds its sequencers to Pete Townshend’s thunderbolt power chords and Roger Daltrey’s throaty yell. The song points out that the youth revolution has not been as successful as hoped (“Meet the new boss, same as the old boss”), what change has been effected is largely cosmetic (“The parting on the left is now a parting on the right”), and there is nothing to be done aside from this: “I get on my knees and I pray / We don’t get fooled again.” Amongst the highlights between those two poles are the pulverising passion of ‘Bargain’, John Entwistle’s humorous ode to the intimidating ‘My Wife’, and the sad/angry acoustic/electric minor masterpiece ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ (US no. 34).
Pete Townshend curates the ‘greatest hits’ album ‘Meaty, Beaty, Big And Bouncy’ (1971) (UK no. 9, US no. 11), released in October, whose title neatly represents, respectively, John Entwistle, Keith Moon, Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey.
Some of the ‘lost’ songs from ‘Lifehouse’ surface as one-off singles during 1971-1972. First, there is 1971’s ‘Let’s See Action’ (UK no. 16). ‘Join Together’ (UK no. 4, US no. 17) is released in June 1972 and is an anthem to crowd power. Then comes ‘Relay’ (UK no. 21, US no. 39), whose electronic garble gives way to a song about questing forth. Pete Townshend will later claim, “We’re idealists. We believe that rock ‘n’ roll is not just some music for kids. We believe it’s something greater…To face up to problems, to sort of dance all over them, that’s what rock ‘n’ roll’s about.”
John Entwistle is the first member of The Who to release a solo album, ‘Smash Your Head Against The Wall’ (1971). He follows this effort with ‘Whistle Rhymes’ (1972). Pete Townshend also issues a solo album, ‘Who Came First’ (1972) (UK no. 30, US no. 69). This set includes ‘Pure And Easy’ from the failed ‘Lifehouse’ as well as Townshend’s version of ‘Let’s See Action’, the recent Who single. Roger Daltrey joins the move to solo albums with ‘Daltrey’ (1973) (US no. 45). Not being as inclined to songwriting as Entwistle and Townshend, Roger Daltrey makes use of outside compositions. The recording career of Leo Sayer is given a boost when his compositions ‘Giving It All Away’ (UK no. 5) and ‘One Man Band’ are used on this disc. John Entwistle notches up a third solo album, ‘Rigor Mortis Sets In’ (1973).
Pete Townshend works on another rock opera to be titled ‘Rock Is Dead…Long Live Rock’ but gives up on it in favour of another concept…which becomes the next album by The Who.
‘Quadrophenia’ (1973) (UK no. 2, US no. 2, AUS no. 35) is released in October. Production duties are shared by The Who, Kit Lambert and Glynn Johns. ‘Quadrophenia’ is a double album, a shot of ‘double schizophrenia’ that documents a day in the life of a mod in 1960s Britain. The project’s nostalgic theme is consistent with Pete Townshend’s view that, “One of the things which has impressed me most in life was the mod movement in England, which was an incredible youthful thing.” The album’s most successful single is ‘5:15’ (UK no. 20) which finds the central character, “Inside, outside…Out of my brain on the train.” Also notable is Keith Moon’s twisted ‘Bell Boy’ and the grandiose Pete Townshend ballad ‘Love Reign O’er Me’ (US no. 76).
On 20 November 1973 Keith Moon collapses twice onstage at a Who show in San Francisco. The drummer’s condition is ‘allegedly due to jet lag’ but is later attributed to him having taken ‘a huge amount of horse tranquiliser.’ Keith Moon’s wife, Kim, leaves him in 1973 because he had become ‘a very aggressive man to live around’ and takes up with keyboardist Ian McLagan, best known for his work with The Small Faces (the mod band with whom The Who toured Australia in 1968). The divorce becomes official in 1975. Kim Moon McLagan is killed in a car accident in Texas in August 2006.
‘Odds And Sods’ (1974) (UK no. 10, US no. 15) in September is a compilation of Who rarities assembled by John Entwistle. ‘Glow Girl’ dates back to January 1968 and was partially reworked to become ‘It’s A Boy’ from ‘Tommy’. There is a clutch of songs from ‘Lifehouse’ bundled into this album: ‘Pure And Easy’, ‘Naked Eye’ and ‘Too Much Of Anything’. The pick of the bunch may be ‘Long Live Rock’ which hails from the aborted ‘Rock Is Dead…Long Live Rock’ project. ‘Long Live Rock’ is a rambunctious account of a band (The Who?) blasting out their music in a pub.
In September 1974 Keith Moon moves to Los Angeles, California. He leads a rather dissipated life with his famous rock star drinking buddies John Lennon, Harry Nilsson and Ringo Starr. Along the way, Keith Moon records his one and only solo album, ‘Two Sides Of The Moon’ (1975). In 1975 Moon begins a relationship with Swedish model Annette Walter-Lax. The drummer says, “The Keith Moon the public know is a myth, even if I have created him. The real me is the person who sits at home having a cup of tea with his old lady Annette. The hotel smashing is one way I get relief from the public image.”
Solo albums are issued by other members of The Who as well. John Entwistle releases ‘Mad Dog’ (1975) while Roger Daltrey puts out ‘Ride A Rock Horse’ (1975) (UK no. 14, US no. 28). The latter includes Daltrey’s rendition of the Russ Ballard composition ‘Come And Get Your Love’ (US no. 68). Roger Daltrey also has a parallel career as an actor. He stars in the title role of ‘Tommy’ (1975), Ken Russell’s adaptation of The Who’s concept album as a movie. It comes with its own soundtrack album, ‘Tommy – Soundtrack’ (1975) (UK no. 21, US no. 2). ‘Lisztomania’ (1975), another Ken Russell film, stars Daltrey as classical composer Franz Liszt.
The Who reconvenes for ‘The Who By Numbers’ (1975) (UK no. 7, US no. 8, AUS no. 29) in October. The group left Track Records in 1974 so this and subsequent albums are issued directly by Polydor, Track’s parent company. Bill Curbishly, who becomes The Who’s manager in 1976, co-produces this album with Chris Charlesworth, Glynn Johns and Robert Rosenberg. The album cover is a ‘join-the-dots’ caricature of The Who drawn by John Entwistle. The album’s most famous piece is ‘Squeeze Box’ (UK no. 10, US no. 16), a song about an accordion…or is it? “Momma’s got a squeeze box she wears on her chest / And when Daddy gets home he doesn’t get no rest,” winks Roger Daltrey, adding, “She goes in and out and in and out…” Pete Townshend contributes a banjo solo to the song.
On 31 May 1976 a Who concert at Charlton Athletic Grounds (a football field) makes it into the Guinness Book of World Records. Seventy thousand fans are present as the band uses seventy-six thousand watts to generate one hundred and twenty decibels of sound as ‘the loudest rock band ever.’
The Pete Townshend solo album, ‘With Love’ (1976), is a spiritual work devoted to his guru, Meher Baba. Townshend goes on to cut ‘Rough Mix’ (1977) (UK no. 44, US no. 45), an album co-credited to Ronnie Lane, formerly of The Small Faces. Roger Daltrey also issues a solo album, ‘One Of The Boys’ (1977).
‘Who Are You’ (1978) (UK no. 6, US no. 2, AUS no. 9) is released in August. The album is co-produced by The Who, John Astley and Glynn Johns. In the cover shot of the band, Keith Moon sits astride a chair turned backwards. Across the back of the chair are stencilled the words ‘Not to be taken away.’ The chair was turned around to conceal Moon’s bulging belly. Much of the album (‘New Song’, ‘Music Must Change’ and ‘Guitar And Pen’) consists of Pete Townshend songs that grapple with ennui and trying to find a way forward. ‘Sister Disco’ gives a slap to disco music, representing the anti-disco sentiment common in rock music at the time. John Entwistle pens three of the album’s nine songs (‘Had Enough’, ‘905’ and ‘Trick Of The Light’ (US no. 107)), though Entwistle sings only ‘905’, handing the rest to vocalist Roger Daltrey. The disc’s best song is the title track, ‘Who Are You’ (UK no. 18, US no. 14). “I woke up in a Soho doorway / The police man knew my name / He said, ‘You can go sleep at home tonight / If you can get up and walk away,” barks Roger Daltrey. The inebriated character at the centre of the song stumbles along bawling, “Who the f*** are you?” The well-orchestrated musical tension in this song is generated by the contrasting musical contributions of vocal harmonies, pulsing synthesisers and Townshend’s bee-in-a-bottle guitarwork.
John Entwistle’s marriage to Alison Wise starts to fail in 1978, though they do not divorce until 1981. In 1978 Entwistle becomes romantically involved with Maxine Harlow.
Keith Moon dies on 7 September 1978. The Who’s drummer was again living in England. He had been out at a party held by former member of The Beatles, Paul McCartney, to celebrate the screening of the movie ‘The Buddy Holly Story’ about the 1950s rocker who died at a tragically young age. Returning to his apartment in Wembley, London, Keith Moon passed away after taking an overdose of a prescription drug that was supposed to help with the symptoms of withdrawal from alcohol. Keith Moon was 32. The apartment where he expired was also the place where Cass Elliot of the U.S. group The Mamas And The Papas died in 1974. Pete Townshend later says of Keith Moon, “For him, life was a constant party and a constant act…He’s dead because of drugs. He’s dead partly from trying to enjoy himself too much. He probably took the last handful of pills as a joke because he thought someone would find it funny.”
Without Keith Moon, the future of The Who seems uncertain. However, in November 1978, they announce the name of their new drummer: Kenny Jones (born 16 September 1948 in Stepney, London, England). Kenny Jones was a member of The Small Faces, The Who’s fellow mod group in 1960s Britain.
On 2 May 1979 the movie ‘Quadrophenia’ (1979) premieres in London. This is based on The Who’s 1973 album of the same name. The Who appear on the soundtrack (‘Quadrophenia – Soundtrack’ (1979) (UK no. 23, US no. 46)), but not in the film. Phil Daniels is the actor in the lead role, but Sting (of British new wave band The Police) also plays a pivotal part in the movie.
Also on 2 May 1979 (the same date that ‘Quadrophenia’ premieres) The Who plays their first gig with new drummer, Kenny Jones. The venue is London’s Rainbow Theatre.
On 23 May 1979 ‘The Kids Are Alright’ (1979), a documentary film by Jeff Stein about The Who, has its debut at a screening in New York. The movie is assembled from film clips, television appearances and some live footage recorded especially for the film in 1977 and 1978. Naturally, there is a double album soundtrack as well, ‘The Kids Are Alright’ (1979) (UK no. 26, US no. 8), released in June.
When The Who tour the United States with their new line-up, beginning on 11 September 1979, the experience is marred by tragedy on 3 December 1979. Eleven fans are trampled to death at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Coliseum in a crush to obtain unreserved seats.
Roger Daltrey stars in the title role of the film, ‘McVicar’ (1980). The movie premieres in London on 30 April 1980. This is the true story of John McVicar, a British criminal, detailing his bank robberies, prison time and eventual rehabilitation. There is an accompanying Roger Daltrey solo album, ‘McVicar’ (1980).
Pete Townhshend’s ‘Empty Glass’ (1980) (US no. 5) is probably the best of the solo projects by members of The Who. It is a well-considered work of passion and depth, the equal of just about any Who album. The singles taken from ‘Empty Glass’ are: ‘Rough Boys’ (US no. 89), ‘Let My Love Open the Door’ (US no. 9) and ‘A Little Is Enough’ (US no 72).
‘Face Dances’ (1980) (UK no. 2, US no. 4, AUS no. 16) in March is the first album by The Who to feature new drummer, Kenny Jones. The album is produced by Bill Szymczyk. The pick of the album is ‘You Better You Bet’ (UK no. 9, US no. 18): “When I say I love you, you say you better / You better, you better, you bet / You better bet your life,” sings Roger Daltrey. It’s a little disorienting to hear The Who in the 1980s, as a group that first had hits in the 1960s, waxing nostalgic in this song about T-Rex, a British pop group of the early 1970s: “The sound of old T-Rex,” to which Daltrey slyly adds, “Oh, and ‘Who’s Next’,” citing their own early 1970s hit album. When ‘You Better You Bet’ is issued as a single, one of the verses is excised, probably to avoid any broadcast problems that might arise from the risqué line, “You work on me with open arms and open legs.” ‘Face Dances’ also includes John Entwistle’s personal anthem ‘The Quiet One’ which, naturally, is a buffeting hard rocker; the tempo-changing ‘Cache Cache’; and ‘Don’t Let Go The Coat’ (UK no. 47, US no. 84).
Kit Lambert, the former manager of The Who, dies on 7 April 1981 due to a cerebral haemorrhage after falling downstairs in his mother’s house.
John Entwistle releases a solo album, ‘Too Late The Hero’ (1981). Pete Townshend issues ‘All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes’ (1982) (US no. 26). The guitarist also confesses to drug and alcohol problems, but straightens himself out. However, from this point, Townshend becomes less vocal about his devotion to Meher Baba. Although he still believes the guru’s teachings, Townshend feels his difficulties with booze and drugs make him a poor spokesman for the cause.
The Who reassemble for ‘It’s Hard’ (1982) (UK no. 11, US no. 8, AUS no. 55) in September. The disc is produced by Glynn Johns. The barnstorming ‘Athena’ (UK no. 40, US no. 28) is the single from this album.
On 12 October 1982 The Who begins a ‘farewell tour’ winding up in Toronto, Canada, on 17 December 1982. Early indications are that, though the band is calling it quits as a touring entity, they will continue to record together as The Who.
‘Scoop’ (1983), released in February, is a fascinating Pete Townshend solo album, a two-disc assemblage of demos for Who songs and discarded material from the breadth of his career with the band and as a solo act. Among the treasures are ‘Mary’ (from ‘Lifehouse’) and ‘Popular’ (a piece rewritten to become ‘It’s Hard’, the title track of the last Who album).
By May 1983 Pete Townshend is telling the rest of The Who that he is quitting The Who and the group officially announces they are disbanding on 16 December 1983.
Roger Daltrey continues his solo career with ‘Parting Should Be Painless’ (1984) and ‘Under A Raging Moon’ (1985). The Pete Townshend solo album ‘White City: A Novel’ (1985) (US no. 26) includes the pounding dance-oriented single ‘Face The Face’ (US no. 26) which includes backing vocals from Townshend’s 16 year old daughter, Emma.
The Who reunites to perform four songs at the all-star charity benefit concert Live-Aid on 13 July 1985.
Roger Daltrey issues ‘Can’t Wait To See The Movie’ (1987). His former colleague unveils ‘The Iron Giant: The Musical By Pete Townshend’ (1989), based on the 1968 Ted Hughes children’s story ‘The Iron Giant’.
Statements made by Pete Townshend in 1989 seem to acknowledge his rumoured bisexuality, but he goes on to refute that theory, insisting, “I’m heterosexual but I’ve never made a big deal out of it.” Also in 1989 the guitarist publicly admits he is having problems with his ears: “I have terrible hearing trouble.”
In summer 1989 The Who reunites. Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle had been keen on the idea for some time but Pete Townshend had remained reluctant. The 1989 tour has an expanded line-up that includes a second guitarist to assist the beleaguered Townshend who continues to struggle with hearing loss. Kenny Jones is absent from the reunion; Simon Phillips plays drums on this tour. After this, The Who does not officially disband again but rather maintain a semi-inactive state, getting together for occasional shows or tours.
John Entwistle marries his long-time partner Maxine Harlow on 11 September 1991.
Roger Daltrey releases a solo album, ‘Rocks In The Head’ (1992). Pete Townshend’s ‘Psychoderelict’ (1993) reworks some of the elements of the long lost ‘Lifehouse’ project.
Pete Townshend separates from his wife, Karen, in 1994. The divorce becomes final in 2009.
John Entwistle issues the albums ‘The Rock’ (1996) and ‘Music From Van Pires’ (1997). Entwistle divorces his second wife, Maxine, in 1997. He goes on to a relationship with Lisa Pritchett-Johnston.
In 2000 Pete Townshend begins a relationship with musician Rachel Fuller who becomes his long-term companion.
John Entwistle is found dead in a Las Vegas hotel room on 27 June 2002. The cause of death is a heart attack induced by cocaine. John Entwistle was 57.
Despite the loss of another founding member, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend continue to work together sporadically – with various other hired musicians – as The Who.
In 2003 Pete Townshend is cautioned by police and placed on a sex offenders register for five years after he admits having accessed child pornography on the internet.
‘Endless Wire’ (2006) (UK no. 9, US no. 7, AUS no. 63) is the first new album of studio recordings by The Who in twenty-four years. It includes a ‘mini-opera’ entitled ‘Wire & Glass’.
Pete Townshend’s hearing problems continue in 2011 as he develops tinnitus (a ringing in the ears). Although his hearing is not perfect, he insists it is okay.
The Who’s early notoriety was connected with Pete Townshend’s guitar-smashing. Their explosive stage act – and explosive personalities – made them unlikely candidates for a lengthy career. Yet The Who carved out a place for themselves in rock history. In retrospect, it seems it may have been wiser for them to disband for good following the death of Keith Moon. Their subsequent work was patchy. Whatever their mistakes and missteps, The Who recorded a number of albums and singles that are deservedly considered classics. They popularised the concept of the ‘rock opera.’ The Who was ‘a dynamic and undeniably powerful sonic force.’ ‘Their sound was anarchy, chaos, pure noise…’
- lyricsfreak.com as at 12 August 2014
- wikipedia.org as at 9 June 2014
- allmusic.com, ‘The Who’ by Stephen Thomas Erlewine as at 14 August 2014
- Internet movie database imdb.com as at 14 August 2014
- ‘The Illustrated Rock Handbook’ edited by Roxanne Streeter, Ray Bonds (Salamander Books, 1983) p. 55, 77, 149, 226, 227
- brainyquote.com as at 14 August 2014
- ‘Rock Stars’ by Timothy White (Columbus Books, 1984) p. 150, 151
- ‘Who’s Better, Who’s Best’ – Sleeve notes by Richard Barnes (Polydor Limited, UK, 1988) p. 5, 6, 9, 10
- ‘Before I Get Old: The Story of The Who’ (2003) by Dave Marsh (amazon.co.uk as at 14 August 2014) via 4 above
- whosdatedwho.com as at 14 August 2014
- Notable names database – nndb.com – as at 14 August 2014
- ‘Friday On My Mind’ by Ed Nimmervoll (Five Mile Press, 2004) p. 65, 74, 79, 146
- ‘Moon the Loon’ – MTV Cable Network – video interview with Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend and John Entwistle (1989?)
- ‘Good Morning America’ (U.S. television program, ABC Network) – interview with Pete Townshend and Keith Moon (1978)
- ‘Rolling Stone Rock Almanac’ by the Editors of ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine (Papermac, 1984) p. 98, 102, 106, 107, 108, 116, 121, 128, 131, 132, 151, 161, 206, 213, 220, 256, 287, 288, 298, 302, 305, 311, 345, 347, 361
- ‘The Illustrated New Musical Express Encyclopedia of Rock’ by Nick Logan, Bob Woffinden (Salamander Books, 1978) p. 241, 243
- ‘The Rolling Stone Illustrated History Of Rock ‘N’ Roll’, ‘The Who’ by Dave Marsh (Plexus Publishing, 1992), p. 400, 401, 403, 404, 405
- smothersbrothers.com/episodes/htm as at 14 August 2014
- ‘The Who Sell Out’ (1967) – Sleeve notes by Dave Marsh (Polydor Ltd. (UK) (1995 re-issue)) p. 16
- milesago.com as at 3 April 2014
- ‘Stones History & Discography’ – MTV Networks – angelfire.com/pa/Redlands/hist.html as at 19 October 2001
- ‘Tommy’ – Anonymous sleeve notes (Polydor Ltd., London, 1969) p. 5
- ‘The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time’ – ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine (February 2004) p. 40, 48, 55
- ‘Dear Boy: The Life of Keith Moon’ (2005) by Tony Fletcher (amazon.co.uk as at 14 August 2014) via 4 above
- ‘The Who – BBC Sessions’ – Sleeve notes by Andy Neill (Polydor Ltd. (UK), 1995) p. 5, 6
- ‘Who’s Next’ (1971) – Sleeve notes by Pete Townshend (Polydor Ltd. (UK), 1995 reissue) p. 5, 6
- ‘Who’s Next’ (1971) – Sleeve notes by John Atkins (Polydor Ltd. (UK), 1995 reissue) p. 14, 17, 18, 20
- ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine – Pete Townshend interview (1968) via 16 above p. 20
- ‘Odds And Sods’ – Sleeve notes by Pete Townshend (Polydor Ltd. (UK), 1974) via 19 above p. 20
- brandy-and.tripod.com as at July 2002
Song lyrics copyright Fabulous Music Ltd. / Essex Music with the exception of ‘Boris The Spider’ (New Ikon Music Ltd.)
Last revised 9 September 2014