Facts about The Who
The Who Biography
The Who were one of the great rock bands of the 1960s and 1970s. In its glory years the group consisted of guitarist and main songwriter Pete Townshend (b. 19 May 1945), singer Roger Daltrey (b. 1 March 1944), bassist John Entwistle (b. 9 October 1944, d. 27 June 2002) and drummer Keith Moon (b. 23 August 1946, d. 7 September 1978). Early on the group was part of the “Mod” movement, playing R&B music in stylized tailored suits, before morphing into an unruly proto-punk band famous for smashing its instruments at the end of live performances. This period is epitomized by the oft-mentioned lyric “Hope I die before I get old” in the band’s 1965 tune “My Generation.” Eventually The Who graduated into high-minded and inventive rock, rising in fame alongside fellow Brit superbands The Beatles and The Rolling Stones and playing at Woodstock in 1969. Daltry was a blonde-maned and bare-chested lead singer, Townshend an energetic dervish on guitar. Moon became one of rock-and-roll’s great flameouts, famous for his savage drumming and whimsically mad offstage life until his sudden death at age 32. Burly bassist Entwistle anchored the group, standing stoically alongside Townshend’s leaps and windmills. The band continued on after the deaths of Moon and later Entwistle, touring and recording into the 21st century. Their many albums include My Generation (1965), The Who Sell Out (1969, including the single “I Can See for Miles”), the groundbreaking rock opera Tommy (1969, with the single “Pinball Wizard”), the landmark Live at Leeds (1970), Who’s Next (1971, with the singles “Baba O’Reilly” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again”), Who Are You (1978), and It’s Hard (1982). The 1973 concept album Quadrophenia was the basis for a 1979 movie. A 1979 documentary of the band, The Kids Are Alright, was titled after their 1965 single of that name. The Who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. Their first studio album in almost 25 years, Endless Wire, was released in 2006.
Singer Colin Dawson and drummer Doug Sandom were early members of the band, but departed before the group became famous… Moon died of an overdose of of the prescription drug Heminevrin, a drug intended to control alcoholism. By coincidence, he died in the same apartment where Mama Cass Elliot had died in 1974… Moon was succeeded by drummer Kenny Jones and later by Zak Starkey, son of Beatles drummer Ringo Starr… Entwhistle was succeeded by bassist Pino Paladino… 11 fans were crushed to death on 3 December 1979 while rushing to get seats at a The Who concert in Cincinnati, Ohio… Some sources list Moon’s birth year as 1947; though Moon himself often claimed 1947, the correct year seems to be 1946.