May 2010 (5 years ago)
New album releases: The Oracle - Godsmack; Glee: The Music, Vol. 3 Showstoppers; Night Train - Keane; Immersion - Pendulum
In Uncut magazine, Roger Daltrey says health issues may mean the end of The Who: "If carrying on is going to mean Pete going deaf, let's stop now. Entering old age in a silent world -- nothing is worth that."
On the 4th, Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby release their album Two-Way Family Favorites featuring a cover of "Endless Wire".
On the 19th, Roger attends the opening of a new teenage cancer wing at the Great North Children's Hospital in Newcastle. Accompanying him are the Duchess of York, her two daughters and X Factor winner Joe McElderry.
On the 25th, Bettye LaVette releases her album Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook featuring as a bonus track, her cover of "Love, Reign O'er Me" and The Who's Kennedy Center Honors.
On the 30th, the press reveals that Pete Townshend has bought Ashdown House in Berkshire, a National Trust property. Pete's investment allows renevations to be made to the estate that had been built for the daughter of King James I and is now a tourist destination.
May 2005 (10 years ago)
New album releases: With Teeth - Nine Inch Nails; Stand Up - The Dave Matthews Band; Mesmerize - System of a Down; Out of Exile - Audioslave
On the 2nd, Roger attends the reunion concert of Cream at the Royal Albert Hall.
On the 9th, Roger is a presenter at the Sony Radio Academy Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.
On the 10th, Styx releases their album Big Bang Theory containing a cover of "I Can See For Miles". On the same day Illogic releases Celestial Clockwork with the rap "1,000 Whispers" that samples "Won't Get Fooled Again".
On the 11th, Roger tells the press he will play a surgeon's assistant in a Battle of Waterloo drama for Britain's Channel 4. It is released in August as Trafalgar Battle Surgeon.
On the 13th, INDH2 hi-def channel on cable premiers The Who's 2004 performance at the Isle Of Wight.
On the 23rd, the 1982 television version of The Beggar's Opera starring Roger as MacHeath, is released on DVD in the U.K. On the same day The Buff Medways release their single "Medway Wheelers" with a cover of the finale of "A Quick One While He's Away" on the flipside.
On the 26th, Roger attends the Ivor Novello Awards in London.
On the 27th, Spitfire Pictures puts out a press release stating that Murray Lerner will be directing and co-producing a movie about the history of The Who with the co-operation of Pete Townshend and Roger who are also listed as producers. It is tentatively entitled "My Generation: Who's Still Who" but is ultimately released for home video as Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who.
The press release causes a hiccup the following day as Pete posts a web diary denying he is a producer on the new Who movie and castigating Lerner for saying he will contact family and ex-wives for the project. Lerner quickly contacts Pete and calms the rough waters.
On the 30th, an episode of Pete and Rachel Fuller's webcast series In the Attic streams. During the episode, a film is shown of the recording of the track "Trilby's Piano" for the new Who album.
May 2000 (15 years ago)
New album releases: Oops!...I Did It Again - Britney Spears; The Marshall Mathers LP - Eminem; Whitney: The Greatest Hits - Whitney Houston; Binaural - Pearl Jam
On the 1st is the world premiere of the football biopic Best at Waterfront Hall in Belfast. Roger co-stars as rowdy footballer Rodney Marsh and sings "House of the Rising Sun".
On the 6th, John Entwistle plays a benefit show for the Stow Surgery in his hometown of Stow-In-The-Wold, Gloucesterchire, England, with a bunch of other mid-50's rockers under the name "The Stowaways".
On the 10th, Pete opens an online auction to benefit Mozambique. The jewel of the auction is a 1957 Fender Stratocaster owned by Eric Clapton. Before the auction is over, the guitar is bought by Pete, Mick Jagger and David Bowie, who send it to Prime Minister Tony Blair as a gift. Blair returns it and the guitar returns to auction. Pete also auctions off his gold and silver album awards, autographed albums and posters, clothing, musical instruments and even bicycles.
Rolling Stone announces that The Who are going to participate in a Sun Records tribute CD. Although much discussed over the next few months, The Who ultimately withdraw from the project.
On the 19th, Justin Kreutzmann begins shooting a documentary about John at his house. The footage is released in 2006 as the DVD John Entwistle: An Ox's Tale.
On the 23rd, Redline Entertainment releases the CD Lifehouse Elements at Best Buy stores. The CD is a condensed version of Pete's recent 6-CD Lifehouse Chronicles set with one addition, Pete's demo for "New Song".
Also on the 23rd, Sherie Rene Scott releases her CD Men I've Had featuring covers of "Squeeze Box", "Let My Love Open The Door", and "Bargain". The Dropkick Murphy's Mob Mentality also comes out with a cover of "The Kids Are Alright".
On the 24th, Pete has an online chat through barnesandnoble.com. He says his favorite album is Frank Sinatra's Songs For Swingin' Lovers!
On the 25th, Roger and John are interviewed by Gary Graff for MusicDirect.com. John says he hopes the new Who album will be "a lot more up-tempo, up-front. I've said that before , and I usually end up with the only rock 'n' roll songs on the album."
On the 28th, The Los Angeles Times prints an interview with Pete in which he says that The Who reunited in 1999 because he was told by Roger that he and John needed the money.
May 1995 (20 years ago)
New album releases: Pulse - Pink Floyd; Pocahontas/Original Soundtrack; Nobody Else - Take That; I Should Coco - Supergrass
On the 1st, filming begins on the movie Bad English 1: Tales Of A Son Of A Brit in London and Baltimore with Roger, Olivia Hussey and Dennis Christopher.
On the 13th, Roger reprises his Hugh Fitzcairn role on Highlander: The Series in an episode called "Till Death".
During this month, Chris Charlesworth retrieves the tapes used to make the bootleg From Lifehouse To Leeds. The tapes contain The Who's first attempt to record the Who's Next album in New York in March 1971.
May 1990 (25 years ago)
New album releases: Vol. II: 1990 - A New Decade - Soul II Soul; Circle of One - Oleta Adams; Wilson Phillips - Wilson Phillips; I'm Breathless: Music from and inspired by Dick Tracy - Madonna
On the 9th, it is reported that Pete has invested £150,000 in a scheme to ferry commuters down the Thames.
On the 10th, Roger is an attendee at the Cannes Film Festival.
During the month, Tommy is released by Mobile Fidelity Soundlab as a gold CD. It contains the first CD release of "Eyesight To The Blind" with the alternate vocal previously found on the 1972 Track Records release.
May 1985 (30 years ago)
New record releases: Brothers in Arms - Dire Straits; Our Favourite Shop - The Style Council; Low-Life - New Order; Suzanne Vega - Suzanne Vega
John is a waiter for a day at London's Peppermint Park restaurant as part of a charity benefit.
The BBC airs a Marlin fishing tournament from the Bahamas. One of the contestants is Roger. It is later released on home video as The Big Game. Also this month, Roger attends a concert by The Alarm at the Hammersmith Palais in London.
During the month, shooting begins at Pete's residence for ITV's The South Bank Show. Pete is shown recording the music for his new solo album White City.
On the 24th, Gerry Marsden releases a charity single as a benefit for the victims of the Bradford City Disaster Fund after their horrible football stadium fire. The single is "You'll Never Walk Alone" backed with messages of support and credited to "The Crowd." One of "The Crowd" is John.
Also on the 24th, Pete appears on the BBC talk show Wogan.
On the 27th, Pete's short story collection Horse's Neck is published in the U.K. It receives positive reviews from Brian Case in Melody Maker ("a brilliant, troubling work"), Martin Booth in British Book News ("stunningly good") and The Observer ("the real thing") and a negative review by Geoff Dyer in New Statesman ("work of an apprentice").
The day before the book's release, Pete is interviewed in The Mirror. He discusses how little he misses the drugs and rock 'n' roll life: "I'm glad I got out. There's no way I'd go back."
Rolling Stone reports at the end of the month that Eddie van Halen plans to collaborate with Pete on some songs. If the collaboration ever occurs, none of the songs are released.
May 1980 (35 years ago)
New album releases: McCartney II - Paul McCartney; Peter Gabriel [III] - Peter Gabriel; Flesh and Blood - Roxy Music; The Magic of Boney M. - 20 Golden Hits - Boney M.
The first leg of the 1980 North American Who tour continues at the Civic Center in St. Paul, Minnesota (2nd), the Chicago Amphitheater (3rd), two nights at the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto (5th and 6th) and concludes at the Montreal Forum (7th). Blackfoot is the supporting act on the last two shows.
On the 10th, Pete's solo album Empty Glass is released in the U.S. John Rockwell in The New York Times says 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. Also released is a promotional album The Pete Townshend Tapes, in which Pete discusses the songs on Empty Glass and what's doing with The Who.
On the 12th, The Who are on the cover of People magazine.
Roger and John McVicar attend the premiere of Roger's film McVicar at the Cannes film festival.
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 persuing the lawsuit and may have scuttled a possible settlement at the time.
May 1975 (40 years ago)
New album releases: Captain Fantastic and The Brown Dirt Cowboy - Elton John; Venus and Mars - Wings; Once Upon a Star - The Bay City Rollers; Love Will Keep Us Together - The Captain & Tennille
On the 2nd, the Two Sides of The Moon album version of Keith Moon singing "Don't Worry Baby" is released as a single in the U.K., backed with the song "Together". It does not chart.
On the 7th, "However Much I Booze," another of Pete's very personal and painful songs for the new album, is recorded by The Who at Shepperton Studios.
During mid-month, The Who attend a meeting where they make their final decision to end Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp's management of the group.
Keith Moon tells the Evening Standard that he will star in a remake of Soldiers Three with Ringo Starr and Harry Nilsson to be directed by Sam Peckinpah. The movie never happens.
On the 16th, Keith is plugging his forthcoming in the U.K. solo album Two Sides of the Moon on The Old Grey Whistle Test. He also discusses The Who's future.
An article by Pete on the history of Tommy appears in Films and Filming magazine.
On the 18th, Roger is interviewed in The New York Times. He says their is no truth to a Who split.
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.
On the 23rd, the album Flash Fearless Versus The Zorg Women Parts 5 & 6 is released. The Rocky Horror Show-inspired musical by Dave Pierce and Steve Hammond has John Entwistle on bass throughout. In addition, John sings one of the songs, "To the Chop" and he drags Keith Moon in to do a couple of seconds of his Robert Newton impression on the otherwise Alice Cooper-sung "Space Pirates". Future Who member Kenney Jones drums on four of the tracks. The commercial failure of the album stalls plans to produce the musical onstage until a short run in 1981.
Also on the 23rd, Keith's one solo album Two Sides of The Moon gets its release in the U.K. It gets a favorable review in Melody Maker, but is blasted by Roy Carr in New Musical Express. The album does not appear in the U.K. charts. Keith, meanwhile, spends the day jetting to Cannes where Tommy: The Movie is shown as the closing film of the festival.
On the same day, Roger is finally free from the filming of Ken Russell's insane biopic Lisztomania and returns to London to record the vocals for the new Who album. On the 23rd, "Blue Red and Grey," a Pete demo with horns added by John, is finished as well as "Dreaming from the Waist" and "Success Story". "In a Hand or a Face" under its original title "Round And Round" is completed by the 27th, "How Many Friends" by the 28th, "Imagine A Man" by the 29th, and finishing the album "Slip Kid" and "Squeeze Box" by the 30th.
On the 30th, Roger's disco-style single "Get Your Love" backed with "World Over," both from his forthcoming solo album Ride A Rock Horse, is released in Britain. It fails to chart.
May 1970 (45 years ago)
New album releases: Let It Be - The Beatles; Woodstock: Music from the Original Soundtrack and More; ABC - The Jackson 5; Thank Christ for the Bomb - The Groundhogs
The Who's British University tour continues with performances at the University Great Hall in Exeter before 1800 fans (1st - supporting act Mighty Baby), Sheffield University (2nd), Elliot College at the University of Kent (8th - supporting act Genesis) and Manchester University, a sell-out of 1200 seats (9th).
Starting on the 11th, The Who spend five days rehearsing afternoons at the Granada Theatre in Wandsworth in order to inject some of the new songs they have been recording, such as "I Don't Even Know Myself" and "Water", into the act.
On the 14th, Down Beat carries an interview with Pete in which he discusses his love of The James Gang and declares that the best rock music is neither revolutionary nor political.
On the 15th, The Who have a chance to try out the new songs in concert at Lancaster University. Quintessence, Hammer, and Pink Custard are the opening acts.
Also on the 15th, Nippon Grammophon in Japan releases paired LP's in a metal can. One of the first is Battle of The Who & Jimi Hendrix that will become a sought-after collector's item.
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.
Also on the 16th, New Musical Express prints Roger's "Blind Date" reactions to newly released singles. The Who perform that night at Derwent College at the University Of York, with opening act Jan Dukes De Grey.
In the U.K. on the 23rd, Track Records releases five LP's at 99p each called Backtrack that feature a variety of old Who material mixed with other Track acts. Backtrack 3 will contain the first true stereo mixes of "Disguises", "Run Run Run" and "I'm a Boy" released in the U.K.
On the same day New Musical Express, which has a cover advertisement for Live At Leeds, carries a picture of Pete, Graham Nash and Tiny Tim singing together for the residents of a handicapped children's home in Britain.
John meanwhile is interviewed in Record Mirror where he says The Who have completed two of a planned ten tracks for their forthcoming album that will have "no main theme about it as Tommy did."
On the 25th, more of the Who's BBC recordings of April 13th are played on BBC Radio One's The Johnnie Walker Show and The Dave Symonds Show.
On the 30th, an interview with Roger appears in New Musical Express. Roger calls the way Tommy has taken over their live set "a bit of a monkey." He says the upcoming shows at New York's Metropolitan Opera will be the last live performances of the rock opera.
Towards the end of the month, the soundtrack of the movie Woodstock is released as a 3-LP set. The Who's performance of "See Me Feel Me" is included. The album will reach #1 for four weeks in the U.S. charts.
Also during the month, Roger finally receives his final divorce decree from his first wife, Jacqueline.
May 1965 (50 years ago)
New records: "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" - The Rolling Stones; "Set Me Free" - The Kinks; "I'm Alive" - The Hollies; "Gloria" - Them
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).
The Who begin another busy month of live shows on the 1st at the College of Art & Technology in Leicester. At the show a film student named Richard Stanley projects films onto The Who as they perform. Pete strikes up a friendship with the young man and will go on to collaborate on several films with Stanley.
On the 2nd The Who are at the Dungeon Club in Nottingham. They show up two hours late. The same night their April 27th show is broadcast on Radio Luxembourg's Ready, Steady, Radio!
After that The Who play the Majestic Ballroom in Newcastle-upon-Tyne on the 3rd and do not report for work again until they begin a Scotland tour on the 6th at the Two Red Shoes Ballroom in Elgin. Roger drives the van on the 20 hour trip.
On the 7th, they play the Raith Ballroom in Kirkcaldy followed by the New Palladium Ballroom in Greenock on the 8th. The opening acts for the last gig are Studio Six and the Jaygars, the latter featuring twelve-year old guitarist and later member of Thunderclap Newman and Wings, Jimmy McCulloch.
On the 9th, The Who drive down to De Montfort Hall in Leicester to support Tom Jones and Marianne Faithfull. Appearing before The Who are The Naturals, The Squires, The Hustlers, Jon Mark and Al Paige.
Back to London on the 11th for a return performance at The Marquee. The set is recorded and broadcast on the 16th on Radio Luxembourg's Ready, Steady, Radio!
Wednesday sees The Who taking their one day off. Keith still manages to work, sitting in with The Action at Le Disque a Go! Go! in Bournemouth. He was in town visiting his fiancée Kim.
Thursday The Who get back to work at the Public Hall in Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire. News of the gig must not have got out as The Who play their first set to an empty hall. The second has attendees but is even worse. According to Pete, some "drunken blokes from the pub next door" run in and "let us have it with bottles, pennies and everything. They didn't care what they hit. And some of them got annoyed when we ducked the bottles and they accused us of using swear words in front of their young ladies."
Things go better the next night playing a cancer research benefit at the Civic Hall in Dunstable, Bedfordshire followed by Neeld Hall in Chippenham (15th), Stratford Town Hall (16th), The Pavillion in Bath (17th) and McIlroy's Ballroom in Swindon (18th).
Their next appearance is for television as The Who perform for Three Go Round at Southern Television Studios in Southampton on the 19th. 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." That night The Who play the Corn Exchange in Bristol.
The following night (20th) they play the Town Hall in Kidderminster.
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 gimmick...it 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.
On the 22nd The Who are at the Astoria Ballroom in Rawtenstall, Lancashire and then a bunch of live and mimed sessions for broadcast.
Also on the 22nd, an article on The Who appears in Record Mirror featuring short and angry quotes from Pete and Keith. Pete: "This thing about smashing amplifiers; well, if we've got a particularly thick audience out in the sticks we do it but sometimes we take the thing down a bit." Keith: "We had to do something ['Anyway Anyhow Anywhere'] that would get away from all the rubbish that people are buying."
On the 23rd, the pre-record an appearance on Thank Your Lucky Stars miming to "Anyway Anyhow Anywhere." On the 24th they play the Majestic Ballroom in Reading after recording a three-hour session on BBC's Top Gear performing "Good Lovin'," "Anyway Anyhow Anywhere," "I Don't Mind," and "Daddy Rolling Stone." The next afternoon they appear on the BBC's Saturday Club performing "Leaving Here," "Please Please Please," "Just You and Me, Darling" and probably on tape from the day before "Good Lovin'" and "Anyway Anyhow, Anywhere." Four of the tracks recorded over these two days are later released on the BBC Sessions CD.
From the BBC the Who head over to the Marquee Club where they pre-record a performance later broadcast by Radio Luxembourg's Ready, Steady, Radio!
The next morning, the 26th, The Who head up to Bristol to hawk their new single on Discs A Go Go at the TWW Television Centre but walk off after producer Christopher Mercer insists they add a pianist to the lineup to mime to Nicky Hopkins' piano part in "Anyway Anyhow Anywhere."
The Who finish out the month playing the Assembly Hall in Worthing (27th), the Ricky Tick Club in Windsor (28th), the Pavilion Ballroom in Buxton (29th) and The King Mojo Club in Sheffield (30th). Prior to the Buxton show, the band is interviewed for The Big L show on Radio London.
On The 31st, The Who fly to Paris to begin their invasion of the continent.
May 1955 (60 years ago)
New music: "Rock Around The Clock" - Bill Haley & His Comets, "Maybelline" - Chuck Berry; Love Me or Leave Me - Doris Day; Oklahoma!/Original Soundtrack
On the 8th, Cliff Townshend, Pete's father, receives a telegram from Norrie Parmor of Parlaphone Records offering him a solo record deal.
May 1945 (70 years ago)
New music: "Sentimental Journey" - Les Brown and his Orchestra; "Salt Peanuts" - Dizzy Gillespie; "Bell Bottom Trousers" - Tony Pastor and his Orchestra; "In a Sentimental Mood" - Duke Ellington and his Orchestra
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 1935 (80 years ago)
New music: "Rhythm Is Our Business" - Jimmie Lunceford and his Orchestra; "Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life" - Jeanette McDonald and Nelson Eddy; "The Lady in Red" - Xavier Cugat and his Orchestra; "The Shiek of Araby" - Django Reinhardt
On the 11st, future Who manager Christopher "Kit" Lambert is born to British composer Constant Lambert and his wife Flo.
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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, 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 case, 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.