Pete Townshend was the lead guitar
player, main songwriter
and sometimes the vocalist of the english rock
band The Who
. He has an amazing songwriting talent, and can play his guitar like few people.
Peter Dennis Blandford Townshend was born on May 19, 1945, in Chiswick,
England. His parents, Clifford & Betty Townshend, were both musicians, meeting
in a band. Their marriage was not always the best, so Pete had to stay often
with his maternal grandmother.
Pete loved music very much, when he was 12 years old, he received his first guitar
from his grandmother. Soon after he got a banjo, which led to meeting John Entwistle
in 1959. They played together in some bands, before Entwistle became a member
of Roger Daltrey's Detours.
After Pete was asked by Roger Daltrey to join the band on rhythm guitar, he
agreed. Roger described Pete "as a nose on a stick" because he was very thin
and had a big nose. His big nose led to teenage insecurities, while he was
young. At this time, his mother gave birth to Pete's brothers, Paul & Simon (who
later would join The Who in some gigs after Keith Moon's death, IIRC).
In 1961 Pete enrolled in Ealing Art College and joined the Young Communist
League, and the Committee for Nuclear Disarmament. Townshend attended many lectures
by visiting artists and learned that art could be used as social criticism.
During Pete's time at the art school, the Detours were Pete Townshend on
rhythm guitar, John Entwistle on bass, Roger Daltrey on lead guitar,
Doug Sandom on drums, and Colin Davis on lead vocals.
After opening for Johnny Kidd & The Pirates, the Detours decided to become
a power trio, with Roger as their lead vocalist, and Pete, who was more talented
than Roger, switching to the lead guitar.
Townshend's blues or perhaps even jazz influences could have been from a big
record collection that one of his friends at the art school gave Pete, after being
caught with marijuana. His records included Mose Allison records, who has written
some songs The Who later covered, for example Young Man Blues (listen to the
Live At Leeds version).
In 1963, The Detours opened for the Rolling Stones and Pete saw Keith Richards
swinging his arm over his guitar as a warm up. Later, he created his windmill
guitar strum. I was told by some nice people that Keith Richards doesn't even remember doing this move, so perhaps it is even Pete's. Doug Sandom left the band in 1964, so the one and only Keith Moon
joined the band that had already changed its name to The Who.
After meeting Pete Meaden, a mod, who became their manager, the Who changed their
name again to The High Numbers, and the band dressed like mods and appealed to mods,
even though they weren't mods.
In the summer of 1964, Pete Townshend accidentally broke his guitar on a small
ceiling, but made it look intentional and carried on smashing it
completely. He had brought a twelve string guitar with him, so he could carry on
playing as if nothing had happened.
In the late summer of the same year, The Who's management changed again, Kit
Lambert and Chris Stamp took it over, and the band called themselves The Who
again. Soon after that, The Who started playing at the Marquee Club regularly.
The famous "Maximum R&B" slogan introducing The Who is also from this time.
After signing a record deal, The Who had to write their own material, so Pete
wrote I Can't Explain and Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere. About eleven months later
The Who released their first album, My Generation. The Who went on releasing
many albums during the later 60's and the 70's.
In 1972 Pete Townshend released his first solo album, Who Came First, a
collection of demos, new songs and cover versions of older ones. He played
his first solo gig in 1974 and started having depressions combined with alcohol.
His second solo album, Rough Mix, was released in 1977, made in collaboration
with various artists, for example Eric Clapton and Charlie Watts.
Depressions followed again in 1978, when Keith Moon, the unbelievable drummer
of The Who, died in his sleep from an overdose of anti-alcoholism pills.
Two years later, Townshend released his third, first "serious" solo album called
Empty Glass. The Who carried on after Keith's death and released Face Dances
in 1981. In the same year Pete nearly died of an overdose, after becoming a
heroin addict. Other solo albums are
Thanks to the very nice LaylaLeigh and http://www.thewho.net