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Guitar and Pen
See Me, Feel Me
A Legal Matter
A Word about Copyrights
History of The Who › 1965-1967
Can't Explain" was released in the U.K. January 15 but took
three months of heavy lifting by The Who and their management
before it reached its #8 peak in the charts. Meanwhile all of
trendy London trekked to the Marquee on Tuesdays, leaving
drenched in sweat and shouting to each other over the ringing in
their ears about this incredibly loud, incredibly exciting band.
that wildness made it into their next single, "Anyway Anyhow Anywhere"
released May 21 with a middle instrumental section filled with runaway
drums and piercing guitar feedback. The Who switched
from being a Mod band to being a Pop-art band, wearing T-shirts with
medals and Royal Air Force insignia and, most famously, a jacket made
from the British flag. Pete, meanwhile, gave interview after interview
making outrageous statements, his already existing tendency to verbosity
egged on by managers Lambert and Stamp. From this point on The Who and
particularly Pete were seen by the music press as a perpetual source for
September 26 Roger and Keith got into a brawl over Keith's pill
use after a show in Denmark. Roger was fired after the group's
return to England but was allowed back in until a suitable
replacement could be found. For the next year the music press
was filled with reports of The Who at each other's throats,
reports that were often true as Roger remained on probation and
Keith and John auditioned for other bands, desperate to find a
Pete channeled his anger into The Who's third single, inspired
when the Queen Mother had his car towed from its spot in front of his
managers' offices because it offended her sensibilities
during her morning drive. "My Generation," released October 29,
was the Sixties' most searing condemnation of the older
generation. Its most quoted line, "hope I die before I get old,"
became the band's signature lyric. The Who's first album, also
Generation, followed on December 3.
for money, suffering under the terms of their contract with producer
Shel Talmy and ignored by their American label Decca, The Who's managers
decided to break the contract and, in January, signed The Who to
Atlantic in the U.S. and Robert Stigwood's new label Polydor through the
rest of the world. Talmy countered with a lawsuit that hampered the band
throughout the year until it was settled in October with The Who
remaining on Polydor but returning to Decca in the U.S.
Pete handled the production of the Who's new single,
"Substitute," himself. Released March 4, it marked a switch from
the wild feedback-laden sound of 1965 to a hard-driving pop
music Pete dubbed "power pop."
Another innovation followed May 10 when Pete presented his manager Kit
Lambert with a homemade parody track he referred to as a "rock opera."
Lambert, with his family training in classical music, leapt upon the
idea and encouraged Pete to start writing a real rock opera. Pete's
first attempt became The Who's next single, "I'm A Boy," released August
26. The bizarre tale of a boy raised as a girl was a fragment of an
opera called "Quads" that remained unfinished as Pete explored other
concepts. "I'm A Boy" was The Who's biggest hit single in Britain, reaching #1
on the Melody Maker chart.
ended with The Who's second LP,
One, featuring songs written by all the members of The Who
as part of a money-raising publishing scheme devised by their
managers. The album, released December 3, marked the emergence
of John Entwistle as another writer in The Who stable. His
darkly humorous style was evident in the album's track "Boris
The Spider" that became his signature song. Also of note
was the album's concluding track, "A Quick One While He's Away,"
a nine-minute long "mini-opera."
16, The Who's managers launched a label of their own, Track Records, not
only to publish The Who's records in Britain, but other artists as
well. The label's first act signed was The Jimi Hendrix Experience and
Track's success spurred other major British acts to consider starting
their own labels.
The Who's sixth official single, "Happy Jack," was held back in
America to coincide with the band's arrival there, playing two
songs five times a day at the Murray The K extravaganza in New
York March 25 - April 3. Each performance ended with smoke bombs
and smashed instruments that shocked jaded New York audiences,
gaining the band an immediate cult following. "Happy Jack"
became the first Who single to reach the U.S. Top Forty.
The Who returned to the U.S. June 18 to play at the prestigious
Monterey Pop Festival where the band had a tussle with fellow
Polydor performer Jimi Hendrix who intended to use The Who's
same instrument-smashing conclusion. The Who won a coin toss and
went first. On his way home from the festival Pete popped a new psychedelic, STP,
a lengthy trip Pete would later describe as "painful." Pete
swore off drugs and began to look for other paths to higher
photo: Bruce Fleming
were back a month later to begin their first lengthy tour of North
America opening for the teeny-bopper band Herman's Hermits. They ended
up spending more than they made. The expenses of the instrument-smashing
conclusion to their act were part of the reason but some of the cost
came from destruction that was done offstage as Keith began his
secondary career as a wild
man. He may not have actually driven a car into a swimming pool
at a Holiday Inn (Roger says yes, everyone else there says no) but he did more than enough damage to other hotels along
the route, blowing up toilets and doors off hinges after he purchased
firecrackers during the tour's Southern leg. From this point on, Keith
would leave hotel rooms in shambles wherever The Who toured.
|One of his wildest moments of mayhem came
premiere of The Who's new single "I Can See For Miles" on the
U.S. variety show
The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour September 15. Following with "My Generation,"
The Who's performance ended when Keith blew his drum set apart
with explosives. The publicity propelled "I Can See For
Miles" to #9 in the U.S. Billboard charts, their highest
position for a single in the U.S. In the U.K., however, the band
were dubbed old hat along with many other groups from the
1963-1965 period and the single barely squeaked into the Top
Ten. The single's disappointing showing caused Pete to have a
crisis of confidence. Feeling he could no longer write hit
singles for The Who, he turned his full attention to completing
a rock opera.
cast-off of his latest attempt, "Rael," climaxed the band's
Who Sell Out, released December15. With its comical cover
and imitation of a broadcast on recently outlawed pirate radio,
the album did not match the chart success of their previous LP's
but became, in time, a critical favorite.