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date: 11 July 2020

Who, thelocked

  • Allan F. Moore

Extract

English rock group . It was formed in West London in 1964 by Pete Townshend (Peter Dennis Blandford Townshend; b Chiswick, London, 19 May 1945; guitar and vocals), Roger Daltrey (Roger Harry Daltrey; b Hammersmith, London, 1 March 1944; lead vocals), John Entwistle (John Alee Entwistle; b Chiswick, 9 Oct 1944; d Las Vegas, 27 June 2002; bass guitar) and Keith Moon (Keith John Moon; b Wembley, London, 23 Aug 1947; d 23 Aug 1978; drums). They began playing rhythm and blues covers, like most contemporary London bands, but Townshend started to write original material in order to capitalize on the band's mod following engineered by then manager Pete Meaden. My Generation literally spoke for this audience, although Townshend claimed most of his songs were born of his intense loneliness; he avoided love-song clichés in favour of the documentary approach taken by Ray Davies of the Kinks.

The Who's early sound was founded on Townshend's guitar style. In the context of Merseybeat and London rhythm and blues, the band's use of only one guitarist was an important step, laying a crucial foundation for the power trio represented by Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and later, the Jam. In effect, Townshend played both lead and rhythm guitar, often switching functions within a song. He did not consider himself an adequate lead guitarist, a belief which led to his development of power chords (often played with a ferocious attack achieved by propelling his right arm in a windmill fashion) and the control of feedback which changed his instrument from an amplified guitar to something quantitatively different. The absence of a rhythm guitar from the texture was counterbalanced by Moon's manic drumming, who seized more space and presence than any rock drummer had done previously....

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