Widely acknowledged as the originators of rock opera, The Who is considered to be one of the most popular bands of the 1960s and ‘70s. Members Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle and Keith Moon put together the group in 1964 and quickly became a sensation in the British music scene. With more than a 100 million records sold all across the world, and a noted reputation for live shows, The Who is one of the most iconic groups of its time.
Lucky for the fans of the band, the group, now led by Peter Townshend and Roger Daltrey is still going strong. In fact, Roger Daltrey will be performing at the concert event based on the rock album that inspired the 1993 Broadway musical, in June 2018. And you would not want to miss this amazing opportunity to catch one of the most iconic acts live in action. The Who tickets for events such as these and many others are available via multiple channels. Get them at the earliest so that you don’t miss out on anything amazing!
Formation and Early Career
The Who formed out of an earlier group called The Detours. Their first single as The Who was “I Can’t Explain”, which reached the Top Ten in the UK. It was followed by more singles such as “Happy Jack”, “My Generation” and “Substitute”. By the time The Detours became The Who, the group had already managed to get some regular gigs in various local hotels.
Soon, the band started getting some attention, with a positive reviews appearing about them in local publications. They gained further exposure when they appeared on a television program called Ready Steady Go! where they received a very enthusiastic response. With regular airplay on pirate radio channels and appearances on television, The Who slowly began to climb the charts and eventually reached the top 10 in the UK.
The single “My Generation” was released in 1965 and became The Who’s most recognizable song. The hit song was even named as the 11th greatest song on Rolling Stone’s list for the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. “My Generation” is also ranked at number 13 on VH1’s list for the 100 Greatest Songs of Rock and Roll and is a part of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. The iconic song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for its “historical, artistic and significant” value.
Upon its release, the song reached No. 2 in the UK, the band’s highest charting single in their country of origin. The song also appeared on The Who’s debut album of the same name and is said to encapsulate “the angst of being a teenager”.
More Music and More Success
The earlier works of the band mainly dealt with themes such as alienation, frustration and uncertainty, with intense power chords, tough lyrics and an energy level unlike any other act at the time. Combining the high energy music with artistic statements such as Townshend’s habit of smashing his guitar on stage to climax concerts, the band became the voice of an entire generation.
Up until the release of their 1967 album, The Who Sell Out, the band was largely a singles band. Their fame in the US did not build up until the release of their 1969 rock opera, Tommy, which was an amazingly memorable performance at Woodstock. This album is what made The Who a world class, with Townshend getting recognition as one of the most intelligent rock artists of the time.
The band further strengthened their standing with the release of Who’s Next in 1971 – an album that had multiple hits such as “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and “Baba O’Riley”. The release of this album was overshadowed by the death of band member Keith Moon, shortly after the album came out.
He was soon replaced by Kenney Jones and the band got back to making music. The band released a film adaptation of Quadrophenia and a documentary, The Kids Are Alright. The group eventually split up in 1982 but has been coming together for multiple performances over the years.
Today, The Who is associated with Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, who released their latest album in 2006, called Endless Wire.
Award and Nominations for The Who
Over the years, The Who has received countless honors and awards. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and were the winners of the first yearly Freddie Mercury Lifetime Achievement Live Music Award in 2006.
Their Broadway version of Tommy, The Who’s Tommy, is the winner of Tony Awards and three prestigious Drama Desk Awards.
The Who has seven of its albums listed on the Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list – an honor that only four other artists share, namely the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and the Rolling Stones.
In addition to receiving a lot of awards and honors as The Who, the band members have also achieved a lot individually. Roger Daltrey was ranked as No. 61 on the list for the 100 Greatest Singers by the Rolling Stones in 2011. Pete Townshend was ranked at No. 3 in the list of “Best Guitarists” in The Book of Rock Lists by Dave Marsh. Keith Marsh was ranked at No. 2 on the Rolling Stone’s list for “The Best Drummers of All Time”.
Musical Style of The Who
The Who is classified as mainly a rock band, even though they have been influenced by other styles of music in various parts of their careers. Initially the group was more focused on singles, with the style being mostly trad jazz and eventually a more modern sound. Townshend called The Who’s music
“power pop”. The group was majorly influenced by the work of Jimi Hendrix, like the other similar bands of their time.
Around the early 1970s, The Who started using synthesizers in their music. Even though this musical equipment was in use by other bands before, it was not as common.
In terms of vocal style, Daltrey initially focused his sound on rock and roll and Motown. But after the release of Tommy, Daltrey experimented with new styles and unique sounds. His trademark sound with the band eventually became a scream, as can be heard on the song “Won’t Get Fooled Again”.
Legacy and Influence
The Who were, without doubt, one of the most influential rock bands of the century. They have been widely regarded as one of the greatest live rock acts. With more than 100 million records sold all over the world, the band has been a serious force in the world of rock music. Along with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, The Who completed the holy trinity of British rock.
The Who Tour Tickets
Even decades after their initial fame and music, the band still continues to be a sensation among audiences of all age groups. The Who Tour tickets for their performances and shows across the world still sell out faster than you would imagine. If you are a fan of the group, you might want to keep yourself updated about the latest performances by the band. They might be sooner than you think!