music As The Who set out on their Quadrophenia tour celebrating 48 years of rocking music, here’s a deconstruction on the group’s enduring legacy
November is ripe for two bands with timeless music – The Rolling Stones release their 50th anniversary compilation album GRRR! featuring two new songs, and just two years behind them in the timeline are The Who, heading out on Quadrophenia Tour in the US with gigs going on till February.
There’s also guitarist Pete Townshend’s biography Who I Am , which released last month, spilling out intimate details of his days with the band, and his relation with the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Mick Jagger. After 48 years of rocking out, smashing instruments on stage, peaking and then seeing your band members pass away from the vices of rock n’ roll, the Who still connect. How else does one explain their 2005 release ‘Endless Wire’, which only featured Daltrey and Townshend, out of the original four? This is the exact return that spurs a following — fans who are accrued either instantly as the opening organ riff to ‘Baba O’ Riley’ kicks in or over decades. The Who with the throwaway quotes on ‘My Generation’, the invention of art-rock, and their rock operas, all contribute to their timelessness.
Reflecting on their stage act, Townshend said in an interview, “Some of our bad behaviour as young men was a response to the way we were treated, not the challenge to authority and order it was seen to be by the press. We travel and hotel elegantly today. Our fans treat us like precious friends, not chattel.”
While promoting the Quadrophenia tour, Townshend had stated: “The real high point for me is always the final song ‘Love Reign O’er Me.’ Roger (Daltrey) and I now stand almost alone together, representing not only the original band, but also its Mod (the sub-culture promoted by the Who) audience, and of course all our other early fans.
Their music influenced me like no other music at the time