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Page updated May 1, 2022. This is a highly abridged version of all the things that happened to and around The Who in May. Click the INDEX button at the bottom for access to the full history.

May 1935 (87 years ago)

New music releases: "In the Middle of a Kiss" - Hal Kemp & His Orchestra; "The Lady In Red" - Xavier Cugat & His Waldorf-Astoria Orchestra; "I'll Never Say Never Again Again" - Ozzie Nelson & His Orchestra; "Tell Me That You Love Me" - Freddy Martin & His Orchestra
Baby Kit Baby Kit

On the 11st, future Who manager Christopher "Kit" Lambert is born to British composer Constant Lambert and his wife Flo.

May 1945 (77 years ago)

New music releases: "Bell Bottom Trousers" - Tony Pastor & His Orchestra; "You Belong To My Heart" - Bing Crosby; "I Wish" - The Mills Brothers; "Prisoner of Love" - The Ink Spots
Baby Pete Baby Pete

On the 19th, Pete Dennis Blanford Townshend is born ten days after V-E Day at the Central Middlesex Hospital Annexe in Chiswick, London to parents Cliff and Betty Townshend.

May 1961 (61 years ago)

New music releases: "I Feel So Bad" - Elvis Presley; "Well I Ask You" - Eden Kane; "Wooden Heart" - Joe Dowell; "Temptation" - The Everly Brothers
Acton County Grammar in 1961 Acton County Grammar in 1961

Around this month, Pete and John Entwistle finish their time at Acton County Grammar School. Pete heads on to art school while John's mom gets him a job working for Inland Revenue. He will keep this day job for more than three years.

May 1964 (58 years ago)

New music releases: "I Get Around" - The Beach Boys; Hello, Dolly! - Louis Armstrong; "You're My World" - Cilla Black; "My Boy Lollipop" - Millie Small
64-05 Keith Portrait 64-05 Keith Portrait

May 2nd is Keith's first official date with The Who playing a girl's 21st birthday party upstairs in a pub on the North Circular. John is amazed to see Keith tie his drums together with rope but understands when he sees him play.

Peter Meaden Peter Meaden

For help refashioning the band into hitmakers, The Who's manager Helmut Gorden brings in Peter Meaden, a former employee of The Rolling Stones' impresario, Andrew Loog Oldham. Meaden, a pill-popping Mod, has recently left Oldham's employ under bad circumstances and is now looking for a group to refashion as Mods to appeal to London's growing Mod cult.

During the weekend of the 16th, when The Who play Brighton, the Whitsun Bank Holiday riots between Mods and Rockers take place. Photos of Mods and Rockers smashing each other on the Brighton seaside inflame the British public.

May 1965 (57 years ago)

New music releases: My Name Is Barbra - Barbra Streisand; "I'm Alive" - The Hollies; "Cara Mia" - Jay and the Americans; "Yes, I'm Ready" - Barbara Mason
65-05 John Pop Art Clothes 65-05 John Pop Art Clothes
Photos: John Topham
65-05 Keith Pop Art Clothes 65-05 Keith Pop Art Clothes

During this month, The Who premiere their new look. Modeled after the then art school of "Pop Art," The Who wear T-shirts with Royal Air Force roundels, jackets covered in war medals and a special jacket made out of the Union Jack. It sparks a fashion trend that remains popular to this day (cf., Ben Sherman).

On the 19th The Who perform for Three Go Round at Southern Television Studios in Southampton. It is supposedly on the train to Southampton that Pete, still angry that his car (a hearse) had recently been towed away because the sight of it offended the Queen Mum on her morning rounds, writes a vicious put-down of the entire older generation called "My Generation."

Anyway Anyhow Anywhere UK Anyway Anyhow Anywhere UK

On the 21st, The Who's second single, "Anyway Anyhow Anywhere" backed with "Daddy Rolling Stone" is released in the U.K. on Brunswick. Derek Johnson in New Musical Express calls is "a wild racer, with just about every conceivable commands attention and should do well." Record Mirror scratches its head and declares: "This one is very weird. Sounds like Flamenco music at the start, all jangly and off-beat Piano appears mysteriously and the guitar break midway is highly electronic and strange. Yet very effective, though hard to describe." Supposedly, all the promo copies sent to radio stations come in a special "pop-art" sleeve. If you have one, I'd really love to see it.

May 1966 (56 years ago)

New music releases: Pet Sounds - The Beach Boys; "Paint It, Black" - The Rolling Stones; Strangers In The Night - Frank Sinatra; "Paperback Writer" - The Beatles
The Who at 1966 NME Poll Winners The Who at 1966 NME Poll Winners

On the 1st, The Who make their only appearance at one of the New Musical Express Poll Winners concerts at the Empire Pool in Wembley. The incredible line up for this concert also includes The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, The Small Faces, The Spencer Davis Group, Dusty Springfield, Herman's Hermits, Cliff Richard, Sounds Incorporated, The Alan Price Set, Crispian St. Peters, The Overlanders, The Seekers, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich, The Shadows, The Walker Brothers, Roy Orbison and, in their last concert appearance in the U.K., The Beatles. According to Alan Smith in New Musical Express' review, there was one band that stood out among these great talents: "I don't know that it was music; it was more like watching violence put to rhythm. But unquestionably, [The Who] stood out as the most remarkable appearance of the second half and I say this even though the Rolling Stones and The Beatles were to follow." The show is videotaped and The Who's performance is broadcast on ITV on the 8th. Rumors still circulate that a copy of this show exists but it has never gone public since its initial broadcast.

Taking some time off, Pete presents Who manager Kit Lambert with a musical gift on the 10th, the day before Kit's 31st birthday. It is a 10-minute piece called "Gratis Amatis" that Pete put together with his friend Ray Tolliday and which he jokingly refers to as an opera. It sparks Kit's imagination. Why not a rock 'n roll opera? Kit sends Pete off to try to devise a story and songs for a full-length work.

On the 19th, Pete turns 21. On the same day Keith meets up with Bruce Johnston of The Beach Boys who has arrived in London with an advance copy of the Pet Sounds album. Keith, being a huge Beach Boys fan, promises Bruce an appearance on the TV programme Ready Steady GO! Later that night Keith and Bruce meet up with John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The four play cards while listening to the album over and over. Keith doesn't care for it because it doesn't sound like typical surf music, but Lennon and especially McCartney are awed and intimidated by Brian Wilson's production and leave determined to top him.

Keith Moon Bruce Johnston RSG Keith Moon Bruce Johnston RSG
Photo: Bruce Johnston

On the 20th, Keith gets Bruce Johnston of the Beach Boys an interview on Ready Steady GO! but it causes him and John to miss the first half of The Who's set at The Corn Exchange in Newbury, Berkshire. Pete and Roger have been playing with the bassist and drummer from their opening act The Jimmy Brown Sound and are naturally furious at Keith. At the end of the show Keith, knocking over his drum set as usual, hits Pete in the leg with a falling cymbal. Pete turns and sends his guitar flying right into Keith's head.

Keith and John storm off determined that they are finally finished with The Who. They head over to Kit Lambert's house to tell him they're out. Pete goes over to Keith's the next day and tries to apologize. Keith is having none of it and for the time The Who have to continue with another drummer.

On the 25th, Polydor Records head Robert Stigwood tells the press that Keith is backing down on his threat to leave The Who. Keith returns on the 28th for The Who's performance at the South Pier in Blackpool.

May 1967 (55 years ago)

New music releases: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles; Are You Experienced - The Jimi Hendrix Experience; Headquarters - The Monkees; "Windy" - The Association
Biba's Boutique Who ad Biba's Boutique Who ad

On the 12th, Coca-Cola London registers receipt of two spots from MRM Productions. They are filmed commercials to be used in promoting a tie-in between Coca-Cola and Biba's Boutique in Piccadilly. The music for both spots is performed by The Who and is not officially released by the band until the mid-1990's as "Things Go Better With Coke" and "Coke After Coke".

On the 28th, The Who go to CBS Studios, London and record backing tracks for "I Can See For Miles," "Armenia City In The Sky" and the U.S. single version of "Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand." However, further recording is cancelled after Keith collapses from a rupture in his stomach wall caused by throwing his drum kit around at the show the previous night. He is taken to St. George's hospital for an operation. John's broken finger combined with Keith's rupture effectively scuttles the attempt to finish the "Who's Lily?" album in time for a summer release.

May 1968 (54 years ago)

New music releases: Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison - Johnny Cash; Creedence Clearwater Revival - Creedence Clearwater Revival; "Grazing in the Grass" - Hugh Masekela; The Beat of the Brass - Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
Pete Townshend MM article 4-5-68 Pete Townshend MM article 4-5-68
Photo: Barrie Wentzell

On the 4th, Melody Maker prints Chris Welch's story of a recent visit to Pete's home studio. Pete plays him the demo version of "Now I'm A Farmer" and says it is part of a new opera he is writing called "The Amazing Journey" about a deaf, dumb and blind boy who has dreams and sees himself as the ruler of the cosmos. It is the first public mention of what will eventually become Tommy.

Keith, Mandy and Kim Moon Keith, Mandy and Kim Moon
Photo: Ian Tyas

On the 11th, Keith is interviewed in Record Mirror where he gives more details of the still-planned Who TV programme "Sound and Picture City". Around the same time he is interviewed in Disc and Music Echo and admits he has been secretly married for over two years and has a baby daughter. In connection with this article Keith, his wife Kim and daughter Mandy have their first public photos taken by Ian Tyas. The family then leaves for a short vacation in Mombasa, Kenya.

Pete and Karen Townshend wedding Pete and Karen Townshend wedding

A far less secret marriage ceremony is held on the 20th as Pete and his long-time girlfriend Karen Astley wed at the Didicot Registry Office in Oxfordshire. The reception is held at the in-laws' but there is no honeymoon as Pete has to stay home to work on the next Who single.

May 1969 (53 years ago)

New music releases: Crosby, Stills & Nash - Crosby, Stills & Nash; Tommy - The Who; "Sweet Caroline" - Neil Diamond; Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere - Neil Young & Crazy Horse
69-05-01 Who Ronnie Scotts 69-05-01 Who Ronnie Scotts

On the 1st, The Who present Tommy to the press at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London. Chris Welch of Melody Maker later said the sound was so loud, his ears rang for 20 hours afterwards. Disc magazine headlines the performance: "Who's Tommy: A Masterpiece".

Fillmore Plainclothes Fillmore Plainclothes

On the 16th, The Who return to the Fillmore East in Greenwich Village, New York City with opening acts Sweetwater and It's A Beautiful Day. The last time they played there was under the threat of rioting after the Martin Luther King assassination. This time the building next door to the Fillmore catches on fire. Policeman Dan Mulhearn runs on stage to stop the show and warn the crowd. "I was working plainclothes assigned to trying to get 'mugged' on the Bowery and responded to the Fillmore as a fire was reported there. Officer Gehrig began to usher people out the fire doors and I approached the stage, in plainclothes but with badge in hand. I thought the band understood what was going on as I was handed the microphone by Roger Daltrey. Then I was kicked in the groin area by Pete Townshend and two large gentlemen grabbed me from behind and I was thrown out the fire door backstage... There was no real injury as Pete missed his mark by a couple of inches, thankfully." The second show is cancelled and The Who spend the night at Bill Graham's apartment while the police search for them at their hotel.

69-05-17 Arraginment 69-05-17 Arraginment

On the 17th, Pete and Roger surrender themselves to the authorities at the Ninth Precinct station. They are released on bail and return to the Fillmore to perform two shows that evening and another two on the 18th to make up for the missed shows on the 16th. Jimi Hendrix drops by for one of the 18th shows to catch the new rock opera.

Tommy Dj Promo Tommy Dj Promo

As Pete and Roger are being arraigned, the first copies of the Tommy LP are appearing on store shelves in America, disc jockeys also receive a 4-single box set of selected tracks. Ellen Sander in Saturday Review calls it a masterpiece and says it features some of the best rock music ever recorded. John Gabree in High Fidelity calls it "superlative rock-and-roll". David Walley in Jazz &Pop hails it as a "superlative achievement" while Charles E. Fager in Christian Century loves it and calls it a "thoroughly religious work." Despite the acclaim and promotion, sales are slow for the rock opera at first.

Tommy UK Tommy UK

On the 23rd, Track Records comes out with the Tommy LP in Britain. Melody Maker picks it as "Pop LP of the Month," calling it "a facelift for pop's image" and Record Mirror calls it "one of the most incredible feats ever accomplished in music." However, Richard Green in New Musical Express pans the record. "Pretentious is too strong a word; maybe over-ambitious is the right term, but sick certainly does apply." Obviously few take his words to heart as the album goes to #2 in the U.K. charts.

May 1970 (52 years ago)

New music releases: Let It Be - The Beatles; Live At Leeds - The Who; Woodstock: Music from the Original Soundtrack and More - Various Artists; The Best of Peter, Paul, and Mary: Ten Years Together - Peter, Paul & Mary
70-05-16 Live At Leeds Ad 70-05-16 Live At Leeds Ad

On the 16th Live At Leeds is released in the U.S. and on the 23rd in the U.K. The record comes in a sleeve made to resemble a bootleg and with copies of Who documents, photos and a poster inside. The reviews are ecstatic with the exception of Creem Magazine that faults it for being only one disc instead of two and for not being able to see The Who perform while you play the record. The record reaches #4 in the U.S. charts and #3 in the U.K. Live at Leeds also stays in the British Top Sixty for 21 weeks, the longest for any Who album.

May 1971 (51 years ago)

New music releases: Carpenters - The Carpenters; "Mr. Big Stuff" - Jean Knight; What's Going On? - Marvin Gaye; Every Picture Tells a Story - Rod Stewart

Another attempt at the Lifehouse Project was scheduled on the 2nd at the Young Vic but apparently The Who cancelled the date, ending Pete's first attempt to bring his multi-media, rock-revitalizing, science-fiction epic to fruition.

Smash Your Head Against The Wall LP Smash Your Head Against The Wall LP

On the 14th, John releases The Who's first solo LP, Smash Your Head Against The Wall in the U.K. and Europe. Keith Moon provides part of the drumming on the track "No. 29 (External Youth)." The album fails to make the U.K. charts.

May 1973 (49 years ago)

New music releases: Tubular Bells - Mike Oldfield; Now & Then - The Carpenters; There Goes Rhymin' Simon - Paul Simon; Head to the Sky - Earth, Wind & Fire
Outside Stargroves May 1973 Outside Stargroves May 1973
Photo: Pete Townshend

Who manager and former record producer Kit Lambert meets with The Who at Mick Jagger's mansion Stargroves to structure the story and record demo versions of the songs for Quadrophenia. Pete later recalls he showed up "smashed...he scribbled his usually incomprehensible notes on the tape boxes and stopped our engineer Ron Nevison doing his job. At the end of the second week I sacked him, coming very close to punching him." It is the last time Lambert works directly with The Who.

May 1974 (48 years ago)

New music releases: His 12 Greatest Hits - Neil Diamond; Forever and Ever - Demis Roussos; Journey to the Centre of the Earth - Rick Wakeman; "You Make Me Feel Brand New" - The Stylistics
74-05 Townshend Pinball 74-05 ownshend Pinball

On the 6th, The Who hold an announced warm-up concert at the New Theatre in Oxford before they make their joint appearance for three days of filming the "Pinball Wizard" sequence with Elton John at the King's Theatre in the Albert Road, Portsmouth. The extras are students from the local Portsmouth Polytechnic. Pete, while smashing his guitar for the cameras, accidentally brains one of the female students, sending her to hospital. Pete later gives her the guitar.

74-05-18 Poster 74-05-18 Poster

On the 18th, The Who appear as the final act for a day-long concert at Charlton Athletic Football Club. The supporting acts are Lou Reed, Humble Pie, Bad Company, Lindisfarne and Maggie Bell. At least 50,000 people attend. The original plan was for the concert to be filmed by Ken Russell featuring Roger singing "I'm Free" while running around the top of the stadium. Ultimately the concert is only shot by the BBC who broadcast it on a later television special. Four songs from the show are later included on the Maximum R&B video and selections on the View From a Backstage Pass and The Who's Greatest Hits Live CD's. One of those songs is a new arrangement of "My Generation" done as a slow blues.

1974-05-18 - Charlton from on Vimeo.

74-05-22 Pete Portsmouth 74-05-22 Pete Portsmouth

On the 22nd, The Who perform a formal concert at Portsmouth Guildhall for the students that put up with the filming. Backstage The Who sign the contracts that terminate their management by Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp, turning the band over to Roger's personal manager Bill Curbishley. They also sign a deal with Polydor Records to release future Who albums outside the U.S., leaving Lambert & Stamp's Track Records. Pete is drinking heavily and suffers an alcohol-induced blackout about the show and the contract signings.

May 1975 (47 years ago)

New music releases: Captain Fantastic and The Brown Dirt Cowboy - Elton John; Venus and Mars - Wings; Red Headed Stranger - Willie Nelson; "Rhinestone Cowboy" - Glen Campbell

During mid-month, The Who attend a meeting where they decide to sue Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp for their mismanagement of the group.

75-05-31 NME Pete 75-05-31 NME Pete
Photo: Pennie Smith

On the 19th, Pete reaches his 30th birthday, a rather bitter birthday for the author of "hope I die before I get old." That and the recent Lambert/Stamp lawsuit meeting make Pete angry and depressed. Unfortunately he unloads all his feelings to journalist Roy Carr who is visiting him on that day. Among some of the statements are Pete blasting Roger for saying The Who will be rocking in their wheelchairs: "he might be but you won't catch me rockin' in no wheelchair." He also says The Who's glory days are behind them. "Everybody has a hump and you have to admit that you've got to go over that hump." He also claims The Who are becoming a "golden oldies band" and that during the 1974 shows The Who were "copying what The Who used to be." Pete later says he is shocked when his conversation with Carr appears in New Musical Express on the 31st and refuses all interviews for the next two years as a result.

May 1976 (46 years ago)

New music releases: Fly Like an Eagle - The Steve Miller Band; Rocks - Aerosmith; Breezin' - George Benson; High Voltage - AC/DC
BellboyProgram BellboyProgram

On the 31st, The Who start a three-date tour of the U.K. at the Charlton Football Ground. Since all three dates are at football stadiums, the tour is known as the "Who Put the Boot In" tour. Fans who attend wonder "who'll stop the rain" as it pours buckets throughout the day. This show also puts The Who in the Guinness Book of World Records as "The World's Loudest Pop Group" as their output registers 120 decibels at 50 meters. Supporting acts are The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Little Feat, The Outlaws and Streetwalkers. Sold at the show is an elaborate program called "Bellboy" that features a centerfold of a nude Keith Moon.

May 1978 (44 years ago)

New music releases: Stranger In Town - Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band; "You're the One That I Want" - John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John; Natural High - The Commodores; "Grease" - Frankie Valli
The Who recording Who Are You video The Who recording Who Are You video

On the 4th, The Who assemble at Ramport Studios to film a promotional video for "Who Are You." The Kids Are Alright's director, Jeff Stein, is behind the camera. They intend to mime to the single edit of the song but end up laying down new vocals, guitar, drums and piano overdubs. It is Keith Moon's last time in a recording studio with all the other members of The Who.

1978 - Who Are You from on Vimeo.
Keith Moon Pete Townshend 25 May 1978 Keith Moon Pete Townshend 25 May 1978
Photo: Ross Halfin

On the 25th, Who fans and the members of the bands Generation X, The Rich Kids, The Pretenders and The Sex Pistols assemble at Shepperton Studios in London for an impromptu Who concert. Jeff Stein films performances of "Baba O'Riley" and "Won't Get Fooled Again" for The Kids Are Alright movie but The Who give the audience an almost complete concert. At the end of "Won't Get Fooled Again," the performance reaches a dead stop and The Who walk off the stage. Stein, realizing this will make an awful ending to the movie, gets The Who to go back on stage and perform the song again. This time The Who put everything into the ending and the crowd is encouraged to go wild. This ending will be grafted onto the earlier take for the finished film.

Photo for final Who Are You cover Photo for final Who Are You cover
Terry O'Neill

The next day, The Who return to Shepperton Studios for insert shots. Before going back on stage, they pose in the car park of Shepperton's I Stage amidst their gigantic stage equipment. This is the photograph that will provide the cover for Who Are You. Keith, his belly sticking way out over his tight trousers, hides his paunch by sitting backwards on a chair marked "Not To Be Taken Away." Afterwards, The Who go inside to shoot the lasers sequence for "Won't Get Fooled Again." The shoot takes some time and Keith keeps the crew and others entertained with a display of his usual manic drumming. It is to be his last performance on the drums before an audience.

May 1979 (43 years ago)

New music releases: Discovery - Electric Light Orchestra; "Boogie Wonderland" - Earth, Wind & Fire; "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" - The Charlie Daniels Band; Dionne - Dionne Warwick
The Who The Rainbow 1979 The Who The Rainbow 1979
Photo: Claude Gassian

On the 2nd, The Who return for their first concert after Keith Moon's death playing the Rainbow Theatre in London. According to John Swenson, the audience went "absolutely bonkers" and Who fans and reviewers are ecstatic about the new line up featuring Kenney Jones on drums and John "Rabbit" Bundrick on keyboards.

The Who concert Cannes 1979 The Who concert Cannes 1979
Photo: Richard Young

On the 12th and 13th, The Who play two dates at the Arena Des Frejus, in France while also appearing at the nearby Cannes Film Festival where both The Kids Are Alright and Quadrophenia have their world premiers. Press reviews of these shows are almost completely raves. Ex-Who manager Kit Lambert shows up backstage and spends fifteen minutes telling Pete what is wrong with their current live act.

May 1980 (42 years ago)

New music releases: "It's Still Rock & Roll To Me" - Billy Joel; My Home's in Alabama - Alabama; Diana - Diana Ross; Fame - Original Soundtrack
Empty Glass US LP Empty Glass US LP

On the 10th, Pete's solo album Empty Glass is released in the U.S. John Rockwell in The New York Times calls it a success that sounds like The Who of a decade before while Jon Parales in Mademoiselle says it shows Pete has risen to the challenge set forth by punk rock. The album will ultimately reach #5 in the U.S. charts, the highest position for any solo album by a member of The Who.

80-05 Roger McVicar Cannes 80-05 Roger McVicar Cannes

Roger and John McVicar attend the premiere of Roger's film McVicar at the Cannes film festival.

1980 RS Pete 1980 RS Pete

At the end of the month, Rolling Stone publishes the Pete interview they had conducted back in April as a cover story. Within the interview, Pete makes some incautious remarks about how The Who continued after the 1979 Cincinnati concert disaster that imply The Who didn't care about the deaths and destruction. This inflames those pursuing the lawsuit and may have scuttled a possible settlement at the time.

May 1981 (41 years ago)

New music releases: Long Distance Voyager - The Moody Blues; Hard Promises - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers; Present Arms - UB40; "Theme from The Greatest American Hero (Believe It Or Not)" - Joey Scarbury

On the 11th, Pete and Chris Stamp attend a memorial service for The Who's late manager Kit Lambert at St. Paul's Church in Covent Garden. It would have been his 46th birthday and was almost exactly 30 years after the memorial service was held for his father Constant at the same church. Pete arranges for the London Symphony Orchestra to perform selections from Tommy and Kit's favorite piece, Purcell's "The Gordian Knot Untied." Pete also delivers one of the eulogies. None of the other members of The Who attend.

Who manager Bill Curbishley holds a Face Dances post-mortem with The Who during this month. Roger confesses that he cannot bear to work with Kenney Jones anymore and blames him for the primary problem with the album, a lack of fire. Kenney defends himself by blaming Pete, saying Pete kept all the good songs for his solo album Empty Glass. John puts the blame on producer Bill Szymczyk and his piecemeal recording process. Pete disagrees with John's opinion of Szymczyk's work and, typically for Pete, puts the blame on himself saying the problem was that his songs were inappropriate for the band. Roger disagrees, saying he thought the songs were great. The main takeaway from the discussion is that no one in the band agrees on what went wrong with the album and there is now an unresolved animus between Roger and Kenney that will poison the rest of Kenney's time with The Who.

May 1983 (39 years ago)

New music releases: Cargo - Men at Work; Piece of Mind - Iron Maiden; "Every Breath You Take" - The Police; In Your Eyes - George Benson

A few days before his 38th birthday on the 19th, Pete meets with Roger to discuss future plans. In his diary, Pete notes "I said I would consider working on special projects with him - charity shows, musicals, anything but rock tours. He seemed receptive." Roger, speaking of it later remembers it quite differently. He says Pete called him up out of the blue claiming "No one's phoned me up and asked me how it's going," referring to his progress on writing songs for a new Who album. Roger offers to help, but Pete tells him "I'm going to finish the band."

May 1986 (36 years ago)

New record releases: Top Gun - Original Soundtrack; So - Peter Gabriel; Who Made Who - AC/DC; The Final Countdown - Europe

On the 10th in Billboard, Bill Curbishley says Pete, Roger, and John are all busy preparing solo albums. Pete is "getting new material together at his London studio, and he's deciding on the producer". Roger is "basically through with preproduction and he's working with Alan Shacklock again." John has formed the nucleus of a new band with Lou Gramm-influenced vocalist Henry Small, keysman Andy Nye (ex-Michael Schenker Group) and drummer Zak Starr. Curbishley is in New York negotiating a deal for John and reports, "I'm getting a lot of interest from the majors".

May 1989 (33 years ago)

New music releases: Ten Good Reasons - Jason Donovan; The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses; Killin' Time - Clint Black; Disintegration - The Cure

On the 3rd, the New York Times interview Pete as The Who prepare for the Celebrating 25 Years of The Who tour. The article is entitled "The pop life: Old Grandpa Who". Pete says when it comes to touring he feels like "an 80-year-old grandfather".

The Who begin practice sessions for the tour in a hangar in the London suburb of Bray. Pete plays with the band while sealed in a glass, soundproofed booth to protect his hearing.

May 1994 (28 years ago)

New music releases: The Lion King - Original Soundtrack; Seal - Seal; Ill Communication - The Beastie Boys; Weezer - Weezer

Roger and John are currently in a lawsuit filed against Pete over the "Tommy Grand Right Document" concerning how much they are to receive from the Tommy musical. The public does not know of the suit but tensions between band members are high and animosity bubbles over into interviews.

May 1998 (24 years ago)

New music releases: Songbird - Eva Cassidy; Where We Belong - Boyzone; It's Dark and Hell is Hot - DMX; "The Boy is Mine" - Brandy & Monica

According to Pete's later report, during this month, Roger has an extremely emotional confrontation with him. "He still had a deep conviction in the notion of The Who as a living, material and necessary force. He felt that my deliberate neglect of it had been a mistake. That it had left him and John in the cold... At one point he made his points so forcefully, and personally, that despite the fact that some of the accusations he made were inaccurate and ill-founded, I broke down and cried in front of him. He said then, softly, that it didn't matter what I decided to do, either way - he would always be there for me. Later he called to apologise for being so brutal. I told him he had done what needed to be done, and far from feeling I had been brutalised, I felt I had been offered unconditional love."

May 1999 (23 years ago)

New music releases: Millennium - Backstreet Boys; The Man Who - Travis; Ricky Martin - Ricky Martin; Play - Moby

On the 26th, Who manager Bill Curbishley writes to Pete, asking if he would agree to a Who tour to help John Entwistle whose finances, once again, are in dire shape.

May 2001 (21 years ago)

New music releases: Survivor - Destiny's Child; Break the Cycle - Staind; Moulin Rouge! - Original Soundtrack; Lateralus - Tool
John Entwistle with Govt Mule John Entwistle with Govt Mule

On the 27th, John records the bass for the song "Same Price" for the forthcoming Gov't Mule album. The group's regular bassist, Allen Woody, had died and the band hit on the idea of replacing him with a succession of the world's great bass players. Coincidentally, this will be John's last studio recording session.

May 2003 (19 years ago)

New music releases: "Crazy in Love" - Beyoncé featuring Jay Z; On and On - Jack Johnson; How the West Was Won - Led Zeppelin; "Stacy's Mom" - Fountains of Wayne
Pete Townshend leaving home May 2003 Pete Townshend leaving home May 2003

On the 7th, the results of the police investigation into Pete and his computers by forensic experts are made public. No evidence of downloaded child pornography has been found on any of his computers or in his home and Pete is cleared of all suspicion. However, pressure is put on prosecutors to punish the innocent Pete in some way. They coerce him into voluntarily putting his name on Britain's Sex Offender Registry for five years with threats that his case will be dragged through the courts. Despite the certainty that a trial would prove him innocent, Pete chooses the Registry as he doubts he could remain calm under cross-examination. This morning he goes to Kingston police station where he is fingerprinted, and a DNA sample is taken.

On the 18th, Roger tells the Los Angeles Times, "I am really pleased that Pete has been cleared of all charges...Anyone who thinks he is anything but a deeply thinking, caring, valuable member of society is sadly wrong. His honesty has shone through. Let's get back to work."

May 2007 (15 years ago)

New music releases: Good Girl Gone Bad - Rihanna; Minutes to Midnight - Linkin Park; "Big Girls Don't Cry" - Fergie; "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" - Soulja Boy Tell'em
The Who in Madrid 2007 ad The Who in Madrid 2007 ad

On the 16th, The Who launch a tour of Europe at the Atlantico Pavilion in Lisbon, Portugal. When the guitar goes out of tune, Pete throws it at his guitar tech Alan Rogan and then smashes the guitar. It is Pete's last guitar smash to date.

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As always, thanks to
John Atkins,
Richard Barnes,
Kevin Berger,
Chris Charlesworth,
Alan Clayson,
Tony Fletcher,
Ed Hanel,
Gary Herman,
Joe Giorgianni,
Bruce Kawakami,
Matt Kent,
Max Ker-Seymer,
Karen Kimber,
Olle Lundin,
"Irish Jack" Lyons,
Dave Marsh,
Alan McKendree,
Joe McMichael,
Andrew Motion,
Andy Neill,
Paul Rees
Scott Smith,
Christian Suchatzki,
John Swenson,
George Tremlett,
Richie Unterberger,
Dave van Staveren,
Mark Ian Wilkerson,
Stephen Wolter and all
the others who did
the original research
and provided the aid
that led to this page.

A note about photographs:
None of the photographs used
on this site are by
purchase agreement with
the original photographer.
I try to credit when I can
discover the name of the
original photographer but, in
most cases, sources in
newspapers, old copies of
Creem Magazine, and even some
Who books, do not credit
photographers. If you are the
photographer or represent the
photographer and you do not
want your photograph posted,
please get in touch
and I will remove it immediately.
This is a wholly non-profit site
(if you could see my bank account,
you'd know it's quite the opposite!)
established to provide an historical
overview of The Who.