Pete Townshend

May 19, 1945

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From Wikipedia:

Peter Dennis Townshend (/ˈtaʊnzənd/; born 19 May 1945) is an English musician. He is co-founder, leader, guitarist, second lead vocalist and principal songwriter of the Who, one of the most influential rock bands of the 1960s and 1970s.

Townshend has written more than 100 songs for 12 of the Who’s studio albums. These include concept albums, the rock operas Tommy (1969) and Quadrophenia (1973), plus popular rock radio staples such as Who’s Next (1971); as well as dozens more that appeared as non-album singles, bonus tracks on reissues, and tracks on rarities compilation albums such as Odds & Sods (1974). He has also written more than 100 songs that have appeared on his solo albums, as well as radio jingles and television theme songs.

While known primarily as a guitarist, Townshend also plays keyboards, banjo, accordion, harmonica, ukulele, mandolin, violin, synthesiser, bass guitar, and drums; he is self-taught on all of these instruments and plays on his own solo albums, several Who albums, and as a guest contributor to an array of other artists’ recordings.

Townshend has also contributed to and authored many newspaper and magazine articles, book reviews, essays, books, and scripts, and he has collaborated as a lyricist and composer for many other musical acts. Due to his aggressive playing style and innovative songwriting techniques, Townshend’s works with the Who and in other projects have earned him critical acclaim.

In 1983, Townshend received the Brit Award for Lifetime Achievement and in 1990 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Who. Townshend was ranked No. 3 in Dave Marsh’s 1994 list of Best Guitarists in The New Book of Rock Lists. In 2001, he received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award as a member of the Who; and in 2008 he received Kennedy Center Honors. He was ranked No. 10 in’s 2011 list of the top 50 guitarists, and No. 10 in Rolling Stone‘s updated 2011 list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. He and Roger Daltrey received The George and Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement at UCLA on 21 May 2016. […]

Townshend made several solo appearances during the 1970s, two of which were captured on record: Eric Clapton’s Rainbow Concert[88] in January 1973 (which Townshend organized to revive Clapton’s career after the latter’s heroin addiction),[89] and the Paul McCartney-sponsored Concerts for the People of Kampuchea in December 1979. The commercially available video of the Kampuchea concert shows the two rock icons duelling and clowning[90] through Rockestra mega-band versions of “Lucille”, “Let It Be”, and “Rockestra Theme”; Townshend closes the proceedings with a characteristic split-legged leap.[91]

Townshend also got the chance to play with his hero Hank Marvin for Paul McCartney’s “Rockestra” sessions, along with other rock musicians such as David Gilmour, John Bonham, and Ronnie Lane.

“Angry” and “Move Over Busker” on Paul McCartney’s Press to Play (1986)

From Melody Maker – January 14, 1967
From Facebook

While I felt a bit stranded by Jimi [Hendrix]’s psychedelic genius, I felt equally out of the loop when drugs became a political issue for those of us in the music business – Paul McCartney hiad gone on TV saying marijuana should be legalised [circa 1967], for example. It might appear that I felt threatened by talented people, or those brave enough to live a wilder life, and there’s some truth in that, but mostly I felt out of synch, a few steps behind.

Pete Townshend – From “Who I Am“, 2012

I remember going to a lunch gathering with Barry and Sue Miles. Barry was a founder of the Indica Bookshop, a radical establishment selling books and magazines relating to everything psychedelic and revolutionary. I met Paul McCartney properly there, with his girlfriend, actress Jane Asher. Paul had helped fund Indica, and he seemed much more politically savvy than any other musician I’d come across. He was clear-thinking and smart, as well as charming and essentially kind. Jane was well-bred, polite and astonishingly pretty; behind the demure exterior simmered a strong personality, making her the equal of her famous beau.

Pete Townshend – From “Who I Am“, 2012

I saw Paul again at the Bag O’Nails in Soho, where Jimi Hendrix was making a celebratory return. Mick Jagger came for a while and then left, unwisely leaving Marianne Faithfull, his girlfriend at the time, behind. Jimi sidled up to her after his mind-bending performance, and it became clear as the two of them danced together that Marianne had the shaman’s stars in her eyes. When Mick returned to take Marianne out to a car he’d arranged, he must have wondered what the sniggering was about. In the end, Jimi himself broke the tension by taking Marianne’s hand, kissing it, and excusing himself to walk over to Paul and me. Mal Evans, The Beatles’ lovable roadie-cum-aide-de-camp, turned to me and breathed a big, ironic Liverpudlian sigh. ‘That’s called exchanging business cards, Pete.’

Pete Townshend – From “Who I Am“, 2012

At the end, as he battled to find a place to stand on the stage, it was I who moved to lift Bob Geldof up to join us for the finale, and it was Paul McCartney who moved to my side to help. That was a good moment for me. As for our performance, The Who were out of practice and should probably have left it to Queen and George Michael, who stole the show.

Pete Townshend – From “Who I Am“, 2012

Linda McCartney lost her battle against cancer and Paul asked me to give a eulogy at the memorial service.

Pete Townshend – From “Who I Am“, 2012

In the wake of 9/11 The Who performed at Madison Square Garden at the Concert for New York that Paul and Heather McCartney had conceived while grounded on their plane on the runway at Kennedy Airport, watching rhe distant smoke rising from the World Trade Center. As the lights went up I was stunned to see that most of the audience were in uniform; police, firefighters, paramedics, men and women, were tossing their hats in the air to ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’. Many of these very tough guys were weeping.

Pete Townshend – From “Who I Am“, 2012

Last updated on February 14, 2024

Albums, EPs & singles which Pete Townshend contributed to

Back To The Egg

By Wings • Official album

Contribution: Electric guitar • 1 songs

Concerts for the People of Kampuchea

By Various Artists • Official album

Contribution: Guitars • 3 songs

Press To Play

By Paul McCartney • Official album

Contribution: Backing vocals, Electric guitar • 1 songs

Stranglehold / Angry

By Paul McCartney • Official album

Contribution: Backing vocals, Electric guitar • 1 songs

Press To Play (LP version)

By Paul McCartney • Official album

Contribution: Backing vocals, Electric guitar • 1 songs

Stranglehold / Angry

By Paul McCartney • 7" Single

Contribution: Backing vocals, Electric guitar • 1 songs

Pretty Little Head / Write Away

By Paul McCartney • 12" Single

Contribution: Backing vocals, Electric guitar • 1 songs

Press To Play (1993)

By Paul McCartney • Official album

Contribution: Backing vocals, Electric guitar • 1 songs

Concerts, TV & radio shows

Concert For The People of Kampuchea

Dec 29, 1979 • United Kingdom • London • Hammersmith Odeon


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