The Who Biography
The Who is an English rock band founded in 1964 in London. Lead singer Roger Daltrey, guitarist and singer Pete Townshend, bass guitarist and singer John Entwistle, and drummer Keith Moon comprised their iconic lineup. They are widely regarded as one of the most influential rock bands of the twentieth century, with over 100 million albums sold worldwide. The Marshall Stack, big PA systems, the usage of the synthesizer, Entwistle and Moon’s influential playing styles, Townshend’s feedback and power chord guitar method, and the birth of the rock opera are just a few of their contributions to rock music. Many hard rock, punk rock, and mod bands acknowledge them as an influence, and their songs are still widely played. They are well known for the songs “Baba O’Riley” and “Behind Blue Eyes”.
The Who arose from an older band, the Detours, and became known for their auto-destructive art, which included trashing guitars and drums on stage. “I Can’t Explain” (1965), their first record as the Who, made the UK top ten, and was followed by a string of smash singles such as “My Generation” (1965), “Substitute” (1966), and “Happy Jack” (1967). They appeared at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and released “I Can See for Miles,” their sole top ten record in the United States. Tommy, the group’s concept album released in 1969, was a critical and economic triumph, with the single “Pinball Wizard.”
Their position as a recognized rock act was cemented by subsequent festival appearances at Woodstock and the Isle of Wight, as well as the concert CD Live at Leeds (1970). Because of the success, lead songwriter Townshend was under pressure, and the follow-up to Tommy, Lifehouse, was shelved. Who’s Next (1971) featured songs from the project, including the classics “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” “Baba O’Riley,” and “Behind Blue Eyes.” As a celebration of their mod beginnings, the band released Quadrophenia (1973), a concept album, and oversaw the film adaptation of Tommy (1975). They continued to travel to enormous crowds until the end of 1976, when they announced their semi-retirement from live engagements. Moon’s death shortly after the release of Who Are You (1978) overshadowed the film’s release.
Kenney Jones took over as Moon’s replacement, and the band began touring again, as well as releasing a film adaptation of Quadrophenia and a retrospective documentary called The Kids Are Alright. They broke up in 1983 after Townshend got dissatisfied with the ensemble. The Who reformed for live performances on occasion, such as Live Aid in 1985, a 25th anniversary tour in 1989, and a Quadrophenia tour in 1996–1997. In 1999, drummer Zak Starkey initiated a full reunion. After Entwistle’s death in 2002, the release of a new album was postponed until 2006, when Endless Wire was released. The Who have continued to perform and tour since Entwistle’s death, most recently with Starkey on drums, Pino Palladino on bass, and Pete’s brother Simon Townshend on second guitar and backing vocals. The band published the album Who in 2019 and went on tour with a symphony orchestra.
For their recordings and influence, The Who have garnered numerous honors from the music business. The British Phonographic Industry honored them with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1988, and the Grammy Foundation honored them with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001.
The band was admitted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005, with their display describing them as “prime contenders, in the views of many, for the title of World’s Greatest Rock Band.”
The Grammy Hall of Fame has inducted the single “My Generation” as well as the albums Tommy and Who’s Next. As members of the Who, Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey received Kennedy Center Honors in 2008. My Generation was chosen for preservation in the US National Recording Registry in 2009.
The Who Discography
|Who Are You|
|The Who by Numbers|
|The Who Sell Out|
|The Who sings My Generation|
Frequently Asked Questions
What Made The Who Famous?
The Who rose to fame in the 1960s with their unique brand of power pop and psychedelic rock. Their catchy songs and energetic stage performances made them one of the most popular bands of the era.
Who Was The Lead Singer Of The Who?
The lead singer of the Who was Roger Daltrey.
Who Formed The Who Band?
Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey are the founding members of the Who. They formed the band in London in 1964. Townshend is the primary songwriter and guitarist, while Daltrey is the lead singer.
What Made The Who Famous?
The Who became famous in the 1960s with their unique brand of rock music. They were known for their hits such as “My Generation” and “I Can’t Explain.” The Who were also known for their live performances, which often featured destruction of their instruments. The Who were one of the most influential bands of the 1960s and continue to be popular today.