The Who is a critically acclaimed and veteran English rock band that became famous beginning in the mid 1960s. During the British Invasion, this iconic band took the world by storm with a fiery, hard-driving sound that came from Roger Daltrey's powerhouse lead vocals, Pete Townshend's stunning guitar acrobatics, John Entwistle's energetic bass solos, and Keith Moon's raucous drumming. A key figure in the birth of arena rock, The Who thundered on into the 1970s and beyond and became one of the most influential bands of the 20th century. The band's many signature songs include "I Can See For Miles" (1967), "Magic Bus" (1968), "Pinball Wizard" (1969), "Won't Get Fooled Again" (1971), and "You Better You Bet" (1981).
The Who's origins date back to 1959 when Roger Daltrey formed a covers band in London known as the Detours whose early members included bass guitarist John Entwistle (October 9, 1944 - June 27, 2002). Guitarist/singer Pete Townshend, who later also served as The Who's main songwriter, came on board in mid 1961, and through his mother, the Detours landed a management contract with Robert Druce who booked them as a support act. In 1964, the band changed its name to The Who to avoid confusion with a local group known as Johnny Devlin and the Detours. The new band name came from Townshend's roommate, future author Richard Barnes, who liked "The Who" because it had a
pop punch. Drummer Keith Moon (August 23, 1946 - September 7, 1978) joined The Who later that year, and the classic foursome lineup remained intact until his untimely death in 1978 at age 32 from an accidental overdose of Heminevrin, a drug prescribed to treat alcoholism. After Moon's passing, Kenney Jones (formerly with Faces/Small Faces) took over as drummer through The Who's split in 1983.
The Who's first charting song on both sides of the Atlantic came in early 1965 with "I Can't Explain," a minor hit in the U.S. which made the U.K. Top 10. The band scored its first U.S. Top 40 hit in 1967 with "Happy Jack" which was preceded by several (then minor) hits that include the stuttering "My Generation" (1966) and "The Kids Are Alright" (1966), both now considered to be rock classics. The Who's fame began taking off in late 1967 with "I Can See For Miles," a Top 10 hit followed in 1968 by "Call Me Lightning" and "Magic Bus." The band's popularity worldwide reached a pinnacle in 1969 with the release of "Tommy," The Who's fourth album and pop music's first-ever rock opera that includes "Pinball Wizard" (1969), "I'm Free" (1969), and "See Me, Feel Me" (1970). The band's long string of hits, which continued through the early 1980s, also includes such classic rock staples as the explosive "Won't Get Fooled Again" (1971), the riveting "Behind Blue Eyes" (1971), the enigmatic "Who Are You" (1978), the playful "You Better You Bet" (1981), and the band's hard rock cover of Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues" (1970). In addition to "Tommy," The Who's most popular albums include "Quadrophenia" (1973), which later became the inspiration to the 1979 movie of the same name, and "The Kids Are Alright" (1979), the soundtrack to the retrospective documentary.
After The Who's dissolution in 1983, the band re-formed several times over the years for various live events before reuniting in 1996 on a more permanent basis. Since then, The Who has continued to perform and record actively to the present day, with the current lineup consisting of two original members - Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend - plus touring members Jon Button (bass), Loren Gold (keyboards), Billy Nicholls (vocals), Zak Starkey (drums), and Simon Townshend (rhythm guitar, vocals). The band's numerous honors and accolades include being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and receiving Lifetime Achievement Awards from the British Phonographic Industry in 1988 and the Grammy Foundation in 2001. The Who remains one of the top selling bands of all time with over 100 million records sold worldwide to date.
- For more info about The Who and the band's touring schedule, visit thewho.com.
- Rolling Stone remembers original Who drummer Keith Moon.
- The Guardian remembers longtime Who bassist John Entwistle.
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- Behind Blue Eyes 1971
- Happy Jack 1967
- I Can See For Miles 1967
- I Can't Explain 1965
- I'm Free 1969
- Join Together 1972
- The Kids Are Alright 1966
(This was used as the title song for the 1979 rockumentary.)
- A Legal Matter 1966
(B-side of "The Kids Are Alright")
- Magic Bus 1968
- My Generation 1966
- Pictures Of Lily 1967
- Pinball Wizard 1969
(This song, which is from the rock opera "Tommy," later also became a hit for the New Seekers (1973, as a medley).)
- The Seeker 1970
- Squeeze Box 1975
- Summertime Blues 1970
(This song was previously a hit for Eddie Cochran (1958) and Blue Cheer (1968).)
- Won't Get Fooled Again 1971
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