Though chiefly inspired by american rhythm and blues, the Who took a boldface step toward defining a uniquely british rock slang in the 1960s. Shunning the Beatles ’ idealized romance and the Rolling Stones ’ cocky browbeat, the Who rejected pretension and squarely dealt with adolescent travails. At a time when rock music was union young people all over the global, the Who were friendless, bitter outsiders .
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Townshend and Entwistle joined Daltrey in his group, the Detours, in 1962 ; with drummer Doug Sandom they became, in turn, the Who and the high Numbers. Moon replaced Sandom in early 1964, after which the group released a self-consciously mod individual ( “ I ’ m the Face ” ) to little notice and became the Who again in late 1964. The West London quartet cultivated a Pop art image to suit the fashion-obsessed british “ mod ” subculture and matched that front with the rhythm-and-blues healthy that mod youth favoured. Townshend ultimately acknowledged that clothing made from the Union Jack, sharp suits, pointy boots, and short haircuts were a contrivance, but it did the trick, locking in a fanatically devoted core following. Fashion, however, was strictly a begin indicate for the Who ; by the late 1960s the mods were history, and the Who were long past want to identify themselves with the uniform of any motion. The isthmus ’ s early on records deal with alienation, doubt, and frustration, lashing out with tough lyrics, ferocious exponent chords and squalling feedback by guitarist-songwriter Townshend, the energizing assault of drummer Moon and bassist Entwistle, and the butch brawn of singer Daltrey. The four singles that introduced the Who between January 1965 and March 1966— “ I Can ’ triiodothyronine Explain, ” “ Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere, ” “ My Generation, ” and “ Substitute ” —declared themselves in an unprecedented fury of compress sonic aggression, an artistic affirmation matched and intensify onstage by Townshend ’ s habit of smashing his guitar to climax concerts. While other groups were moving toward peace-and-love idealism, the Who american ginseng of unanswered lecherousness ( “ Pictures of Lily ” ), peer pressure ( “ Happy Jack ” ), creepy insects ( Entwistle ’ s “ Boris the Spider ” ), and gender confusion ( “ I ’ m a Boy ” ). As one instrument after another ended in splinters, the Who securely declared themselves proponents of making crimson rage a shape of rock ‘n’ roll catharsis. Until the 1967 release of The Who Sell Out, a sardonic concept album presented as a pirate radio receiver broadcast, the Who were chiefly a singles group. They were, however, more successful in this gaze in Britain ( eight lead ten hits between 1965 and 1967 ) than in the United States ( “ I Can See for Miles, ” released in 1967, was the group ’ s lone Billboard top ten-spot single ). It was the 1969 rock opera Tommy —and a memorable performance at Woodstock that summer—that made the Who a first album-rock act. In the serve, Townshend was recognized as one of rock ’ s most healthy, give voice, and self-conscious composers.
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The Who cemented their stand with Who ’ second Next ( 1971 ), an album of manque adolescent anthems ( “ Won ’ thymine Get Fooled Again, ” “ Baba O ’ Riley ” ) and sensitive romances ( “ Behind Blue Eyes, ” “ Love Ain ’ metric ton for Keeping ” ), all reflecting Townshend ’ s commitment to his “ embodiment, ” the indian mystic Meher Baba. That same year, Entwistle released a solo album, the darkly amusing Smash Your Head Against the Wall ; Townshend issued his first solo album, Who Came First, in 1972 ; and Daltrey offered his, Daltrey, in 1973. hush, the Who continued quickly, releasing Townshend ’ s second base magnum rock opera, Quadrophenia, in 1973, The Who by Numbers in 1975, and Who Are You in 1978. Moon ( “ the Loon ” ), whose excessive life style was legendary, died of an accidental drug overdose in 1978 and was replaced by Jones ( once of the Small Faces and the Faces ). so form, the Who released Face Dances ( 1981 ) and It ’ s Hard ( 1982 ) before disbanding in 1982. Daltrey pursued acting while letting his solo career taper off. Entwistle released episodic records to small effect. Townshend busied himself briefly as a ledger editor program while undertaking a diverseness of alone ventures—from well-received Who-like rock records such as empty Glass ( 1980 ) to The Iron Man ( 1989 ), a less-successful experiment in musical field that however paved the way for the exultant delivery of Tommy to Broadway in 1993. Townshend, Daltrey, and Entwistle reunited for tours in 1989 and 1996–97. The Who was about to embark on a U.S. enlistment in 2002 when Entwistle died. Tommy remains the Who ’ s most wear creation. On its way to the theater, Tommy became an all-star orchestral album in 1972 and a brassy film with Daltrey in the championship function in 1975. Quadrophenia besides was made into a film, in 1979, and was revived by the tour Who as a stagy rock spectacle in the 1990s. In 2005 and 2006 Townshend serialized a novelette, The Boy Who Heard Music, on-line, and a set up of refer songs constituted “ Wire & Glass, ” the mini-opera that made up part of Endless Wire ( 2006 ), which was the beginning album of new Who material since 1982. On it Townshend and Daltrey were supported by drummer Zak Starkey ( son of Ringo Starr ) and Townshend ’ s brother Simon on guitar, among others. A full-blown musical based on this material and besides titled The Boy Who Heard Music premiered in July 2007 at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. The Who later performed at the Super Bowl halftime display in 2010 and at the close ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games. The Who engaged in another serial of Quadrophenia performances in 2012–14. later in 2014 Townshend and Daltrey began what was expected to be their final tour, in celebration of the band ’ s fiftieth anniversary. That tour concluded in October 2017 with a concert in Buenos Aires. The Who embarked on another tour in 2019 and, that same year, issued the well-received album WHO. The Who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and received Kennedy Center Honors in 2008.
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