The Whoby Tyler Woods on Feb. 17, 2012, under Life
Last week I was talking about Eric Burdon and the Animals. Indeed what a great band and the hits they gave us were incredible. Eric Burdon and the Animals was part of the British Invasion, which happened in the early sixties. If you are old enough to recall, the British Invasion shaped our music and rocked our world and it got me thinking…
I want to spend some time writing about some of the great music that the British Invasion produced for us. I have already written about The Beatles and the Stones, and of course, I think they were one of the highlights of the British Invasion. Another big invader from Britain was The Who. The Rolling Stones magazine wrote, “Along with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, The Who complete the holy trinity of British rock.” As I sit in my office writing about the Who, I have Won’t Get Fooled Again blaring on YouTube, fond memories come up for me. I mean what young guitar player didn’t imitate Pete Townshend’s famous guitar strum?
The Who, which was listed as “the world’s greatest rock band, ” had such great hits like I Can See for Miles, Who Are You, My Generation, Teenage Wasteland, Won’t Get Fooled Again, Happy Jake, The Seeker, and from the rock opera Tommy, Pinball Wizard.
The Who consisted of Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John and Keith Moon. This band hit the states in 1967 as what was called the “second wave” of the British Invasion, which left a major impression on us. They were loud and rowdy on stage as Townshend destroyed amplifiers by shoving his guitars into them as audiences shouted for more, and Moon knocked over his drum set kicking them frantically over as if his drum kit was a kickball. Daltrey would take his microphone and swing it round and round in circles. I remember after seeing this as a kid I tried it and broke my microphone that I just got at the Sears mail order. That meant more chores to earn money to get another one. The bottom line was we were not used to seeing such a commotion on stage and they made a huge impression on both young and old.
Even a bigger impression was their rock opera Tommy, which was billed as the first rock opera which came out in 1968. This amazing rock opera would be the beginning of a series of other artists doing rock operas. I remember going to see the movie in 1975 with my cousin Tommy and we were both awe struck by this amazing movie and music. I learned how to play Pinball Wizard on my guitar and we would sing it and play the album until the gooves wore out.
The Who did not stop there and did a second rock opera in 1973 called Quadrophenia. This band was non-stop doing remarkable new things. In fact, The Who had 17 top ten albums, with 18 Gold and 12 Platinum and this does not include the UK. They are hall of famers and their awards would take a page to describe. Sadly, with such success can come great tragedy and in 1978 Keith Moon died of a drug overdose and in 1979 in a crowd in Cincinnati Ohio rushed the stage killing 11 people. Despite this, The Who continues to do music and use music to begin the healing process.
Today the living members of The Who still play, they played the Super Bowl in 2010, and in 2011 performed in London. Sometimes good music just goes on and on. For many of us in our late forties and fifties, The Who played a major role in our lives growing up. They introduced concepts to music that was new and exciting. So, what do you recall about The Who?