Pete Townshend Biography
Pete Townshend is an English singer, songwriter, and musician. He is one of the most influential rock bands of the 1960s and 1970s, serving as co-founder, leader, guitarist, secondary lead vocalist, and major songwriter of the Who.
For the Who’s studio albums, Townshend has composed over 100 songs. There are hundreds more that surfaced as non-album singles, bonus tracks on reissues, and music on rarities compilations like Odds & Sods, as well as concept albums, rock operas Tommy and Quadrophenia, and popular rock radio staples like Who’s Next (1974). He’s also written over a hundred songs for his solo albums, as well as radio jingles and television theme music.
Townshend was born in Chiswick, west London, on May 19, 1945, at the Chiswick Hospital, Netheravon Road. Cliff Townshend, his father, was a professional alto saxophonist in the Royal Air Force’s dance band the Squadronaires, and Betty (née Dennis), his mother, was a singer with the Sydney Torch and Les Douglass Orchestras. He wanted to be a journalist at first, but then he changed his mind and went into music. Entwistle joined the Detours, a skiffle/rock and roll band led by Roger Daltrey, in late 1961. Townshend was then offered as an additional guitarist by the new bass player. The Detours’ early repertoire consisted primarily of instrumentals by the Shadows and Ventures, as well as pop and trad jazz covers. Roger Daltrey played lead guitar, Townshend played rhythm guitar, Entwistle played bass, Doug Sandom played drums, and Colin Dawson sang.
Townshend is an instrumentalist who plays keyboards, banjo, accordion, harmonica, ukulele, mandolin, violin, synthesizer, bass guitar, and drums in addition to guitar. On all of these instruments, he is self-taught. He appears on his own solo albums, several Who albums, and a variety of other artists’ recordings as a guest contributor.
Townshend has also cooperated as a lyricist and composer for many other musical acts, contributing to and authoring numerous newspaper and magazine pieces, book reviews, essays, books, and scripts. Townshend’s work with the Who and in other ventures has received critical acclaim for his aggressive playing style and inventive songwriting skills.
From the mid-1990s to the present, Townshend has toured with the remaining members of the Who, including a 2002 tour that went on despite the death of John Entwistle.
Townshend got the Brit Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1983, and as a member of the Who, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. In Dave Marsh’s 1994 list of Best Guitarists in The New Book of Rock Lists, Townshend was ranked third. As a member of the Who, he won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001, and in 2008, he got Kennedy Center Honors. He was voted No. 10 on Gibson.com’s top 50 guitarists list in 2011, and No. 10 on Rolling Stone’s updated list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time in 2011. On May 21, 2016, he and Roger Daltrey were honored at UCLA with the George and Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What Was Pete Townshend Biggest Hit?
“Won’t Get Fooled Again” is a song by the English rock band The Who. It was released as a single in June 1971, and is featured on their album Who’s Next.
Pete Townshend is an English rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He is the principal songwriter, lead guitarist, and co-founder of The Who, considered to be one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century.
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