The Who Essay

Submitted By kybear21
Words: 890
Pages: 4

History & Early Years Three years before becoming the infamous The Who, original members John Entwistle, Pete Townshend and Roger Daltry were originally in Townshend’s band The Detours. Colin Dawson was the up-front vocalist of the The Detours up until 1963, when Daltry assumed lead vocals. Working exceptionally hard, within the year, the band became “semi-pro”, playing in west London in a circuit of ballrooms, pubs and clubs. Not long into 1964, The Detours changed their name from a suggestion from Townshend’s art school friend Richard Barnes. The Who officially arrived in the London rock’n’roll scene in February of 1964. Soon after they gained the managerial services of Helmut Gorden, from a suggestion from drummer Doug Sandom’s sister-in-law. In April following the departure of Sandom, they held impromptu auditions at the Oldfield Hotel in Greenford, London. Keith Moon became the official replacement for both of these temporary drummers. Within the same month, they acquired a publicist and changed their name to The High Numbers. Their first single released in July of ‘64 failed to make any charts. Lyricist Pete Townshend endured many difficulties throughout his childhood and adult life. There are many parallels between the opera style album Tommy and the abuse he endured as a young boy. He channeled many of his problems and hardships into his music before falling to a drug habit. This did not stop him from continuing to create and expand himself in the music world. The Who soon became well known for their ability to put on a wild show. While still acting under the name The High Numbers, they discovered that destroying their instruments on stage drew large crowds and increased their popularity. They continued to smash guitars, blow up drums sets and destroy stages to entertain their fans but this soon took a toll on their expenses. They continued despite this, becoming an increasingly popular band very quickly. They performed on television shows and continued to cause damage to everything in their path. By 1965, they began to gain popularity, releasing their first full album at the end of the year. With this, The Who also became popular enough to begin performing in festivals and traveling into foreign countries.
Influences and Influenced Pete Townshend’s early influences include great jazz and blues artists such as Bo Diddley, Ray Charles and John Lee Hooker. The blues sound is apparent in their earlier works; The Who successfully combines elements of rock and punk culture with blues and R&B style. The influence by these original artists is quite clear in most works, such as “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” released in 1971. Most early rock and rockabilly bands are said to have been influenced by blues artists. They were also highly influenced by a British band, Johnny Kids and The Pirates. The Who was originally interested in The Pirates because they had only one guitarist which inspired Townshend to combine lead and rhythm guitar. This caused Entwistle’s bass playing to become more of a lead instrument as he began to play the melodies. Their musical style continued to evolve as they did as people and they became more popular. Given the widespread popularity of The Who and their great musical talent, it was inevitable that they would become a deeply revered band. Many 70s rock bands and later punk bands attribute their musical influences to The Who. Those…