RockHistoryS’21
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RockHistoryS’21

Who, The Who?

Legendary and always in their own lane, The Who was a breath of fresh air during an era that was dominated by rockers and Beatlemania.

On guitar, there was Pete Townshend, Rodger Daltrey as lead singer, Keith Moon on drums, and Brian Entwistle on bass guitar. While I dive into this brief overview of a time in music that felt overpowered by the Stones and Beatles, I invite you to this exploration of legends that are truly iconic within their own right.

The look

English band, The Who, started out in the mods seen and during this era, there were the mods versus the rockers. This is time in music where fashion played a tremendous role in the musician’s appeal. I like to think of the mod's style as Austin Powers-esque, if you will. During the late sixties, anything other than hippies and rocker styles was drowned out and faded to the back and although the mod style wasn’t as prevalent, it definitely had its own draw. There was an appeal to this style and presence that embraced mod-ern times. I like to think of The Who as a direct representation of this scene.

Musical Style

On one hand, there was the Beatles and the Stones, and on the other hand was The Who. The Who was always seen as underdogs and their successes were often attributed to their unique style and performance. They definitely weren’t as polished as the two more popular bands previously mentioned but they truly came to their own on their album titled Tommy, famously known for being a rock opera of sorts. The band was incredibly successful and shared the love with up-and-coming bands like The Clash when they went on tour.

Pete Townshend smashing a guitar

It’s difficult to place The Who into one musical category. Songs like My Generation and Won’t Get Fulled Again, which was straight-up rock and roll, were radically different from tunes like See Me, Feel Me/I’m Listening to You, which was more of a psychedelic jam. On a more personal note, the band members were known for being big partiers, especially Keith Moon who was known for driving cars into hotel swimming pools. Moon died at an early age from his heavy partying and was replaced by Zach Starsky, Ringo Star’s (of The Beatles) son — how ironic, right?

To say the very least, The Who is a force to be reckoned with. To many, they are acclaimed as the godfathers of punk rock and are infamously known for their theatrics on stage and smashing of guitars. Next time you think of the late sixties, early seventies, and only recall hits from The Beatles or The Rolling Stones, challenge yourself to remember tunes from The Who that continue to shape music today.

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Class page of the Rock History class, S ‘21

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Alexis Santiago-Cruz

Alexis Santiago-Cruz

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