The Who

The Who bio, timeline, discography, pics & more

  • The Who band

    The Who band 1981

The Who Biography

The most important group of the Mod movement was formed in 1964 in London, ENGLAND by vocalist Roger Daltrey, guitarist+vocalist Pete Townshend, bassist John Entwistle and drummer Keith Moon; the foursome, under the direction of publicist Peter Meadon, who changed their name to The High Numbers, recorded the single "I'm The Face"; in late 1964 they signed for the American label Decca Records, this time as The Who and released the single "I Can't Explain", the band performed in a couple of TV shows during which Townshend and Moon both destroyed their instruments, the single immediatly entered the top 10 of the British chart, followed another single "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" that also rose to the U.K. Top 10. In 1965 the group released their first album, "The Who Sings My Generation", which included another top 10 hit, "My Generation" plus one of their most significant rock songs: "The Kids Are Alright". Despite the commercial success the band fired their producer and released the non-album single "Substitute" which ranked in the top 10 of the U.K. chart. "A Quick One", the band's second album which arrived in 1966 became an instant success in their homeland, the record under the title of "Happy Jack" broke into the U.S. Pop Albums chart and the title-track reached the #24 on Pop Singles chart. The following year the band released "The Who Sell Out" and after their performance at Monterey Pop Festival the album entered the top 50 of the U.S. Pop chart and spawned "I Can See For Miles" the group's first top 10 hit single Stateside. During 1968 the band released the European-only single "Dogs" and the singles B-side collection "Magic Bus - The Who On Tour" in America, the record generated two top 40 hit singles: "Call Me Lightning" and "Magic Bus". When the Mod movement began to fade away, The Who released an extravagant rock opera titled "Tommy" which arrived in 1969, the double-album peaked at #4 in U.S. Pop Albums chart, internationally acclaimed by critics, the set spawned "Pinball Wizard" which peaked at #19 in U.S. Pop Singles chart and another top 40 hit single, "I'm Free"; "Tommy", in 1975, was the subject of a Ken Russell film. During 1970 the band released "Live At Leeds" that entered the top 5 of the U.S. Albums chart plus the American top 30 hit single "Summertime Blues" and "The Seeker" which became part of the 1971's singles compilation "Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy", the collection reached the #11 in U.S. Albums chart. In early 1971, Pete Townshend began working on his solo effort, a rock-opera called The Lifehouse and came up with some of his strongest material ever, but the heavy work-load contributed to Townshend suffering a nervous breakdown and the project never materialized. The Who returned in action with a Townshend reenergized releasing the superb "Who's Next", it included several songs from The Lifehouse, the album peaked at #4 in U.S. chart, its single "Won't Get Fooled Again" hit the #15 spot in U.S. chart and ranked in the top 10 of the British chart, also "Behind Blue Eyes", recently covered by Limp Bizkit, became a top 40 hit in America, "Baba O'Riley" was issued in November 1971 and achieved airplay on American Rock radio stations. The following year the group released the single "Join Together" which climbed into the top 20 of the U.S. Pop chart and another top 40 hit: "Relay". "Quadrophenia" was issued in 1973 and scored the #2 spot on U.S. Pop Albums chart, the double-LP contained two singles: "Love Reign O'er Me" and "The Real Me". Two years later, after various side-project, the quartet released "The Who By Numbers" , it peaked at #8 in U.S. Albums chart and its single "Squeeze Box" reached the #16 on the official U.S. Pop chart. After three-year hiatus, The Who, re-emerged with "Who Are You", the record peaked at #2 in U.S. Pop Albums chart and the title-track reached the #14 on Pop Singles chart, but tragedy struck when Keith Moon died on September 7, 1978, in his sleep due to an overdose of the prescription drug to alleviate alcohol addiction. After the death of the former drummer the group was nearly disbanded, but in 1979 Kenny Jones joined as Moon's replacement and The Who hit the road again, however, any new-found optimism was undermined that year when 11 fans were killed in a rush prior to a concert in Cincinnati, after the new tragedy Townshend became addicted of hard drugs, Entwistle and Daltrey focused on their solo careers. In 1981 appeared the first album without Keith Moon, "Face Dances" reached the #4 in U.S. Pop chart highlighted by "You Better You Bet" which entered the top 20 of the Pop Singles chart, peaked at #1 on Mainstream Rock chart and restored them to the U.K. top 10; "Another Tricky Day" hit the #6 on Mainstream Rock chart and "Don't Let Go The Coat" became a minor hit on Pop Singles chart Stateside. A year later they released "It's Hard", another top 10 hit in U.S. Pop Albums chart that spawned two Mainstream Rock top 5 hit singles: "Athena" and "Eminence Front", the band supported the album with an extensive tour that culminated with the release of the 1984's live-set "Who's Last". The Who appeared at Live Aid in 1985 and in some other shows over the course of the rest of the '80s and '90s. In October 2001, the group played the Concert for NYC benefit for families of the victims of the September 11 attacks, a year later, they were about to kick off a North American tour when the night before the first show, John Entwhistle died at the age of 57 in Las Vegas' Hard Rock Hotel from a cocaine induced heart attack.

 

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  • The Who band mid 60s The Who band mid 60s
    Group shot 1965