Updated Dec. 1 2023

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January 1977

New music releases: Animals - Pink Floyd; "Southern Nights" - Glen Campbell; "Rich Girl" - Daryl Hall & John Oates; 20 Golden Greats - The Shadows

Roger is in Ramport Studios in Battersea, London to record songs for his third solo album.

On the 20th, The Who's lawsuit against ex-managers Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp is settled with negotiations between Pete and Stamp at an office on Poland Street. Pete receives a $1-million settlement of his U.S. copyrights to date and The Who gain rights to all their recordings from "Substitute" on. MCA also agrees to pay for the cost of writing a screenplay for Quadrophenia. During the settlement Pete learns that lawyer Allan Klein permanently owns a piece of his song copyrights as a result of the 1966 settlement with Decca Records. Pete who loathes Klein, is appalled by the news.

Pete Townshend with Sex Pistols

After the settlement Pete and Chris Stamp go clubbing at The Speakeasy where they catch some of John Otway's performance. Later that night Paul Cook and Steve Jones of The Sex Pistols stop by. Mistaking them for Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious, Pete huddles with them at their table and tells them The Sex Pistols will have to carry the "rock 'n' roll banner" as The Who are finished. Instead of the snarled response he expects, the two Pistols express their admiration for The Who and declare they don't want them to break up. Pete and the Pistols are snapped by a New Musical Express photographer who has punches thrown at him by a very inebriated Pete. Pete then tears up his million-dollar check, leaves The Speakeasy and passes out in the gutter where a policeman who recognizes him brings him around. The bobby explains that if he can get up and go home, he won't have to arrest him. Pete will later write the events of this night into the first verse of the song "Who Are You."

On the 24th, Eric Clapton records a guitar overdub for Roger's One of the Boys solo LP. The results aren't quite good enough to use, however, after Eric gets soused on Roger's gift of a barrel of Fuller's Superstrong Ale.

On the 29th, New Musical Express reports on the Pete/Sex Pistols meeting. "He thinks he's past it but he ain't really, he's still great," says Cook. Jones adds, "he was a really great geezer even though he was, like, paralytic."

On the 31st, Keith Moon is a presenter at the 1977 American Music Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.

February 1977

New album releases: Rumours - Fleetwood Mac; "Hotel California" - The Eagles; "The Chain" - Fleetwood Mac; Love at The Greek - Neil Diamond
Roger Daltrey Jimll Fix It

On the 5th, Roger appears on the BBC television programme Jim'll Fix It. What Jim'll fix is 8-year-old Sally Anne Pearson's desire to meet "Tommy."

Steve Gibbons Band Rollin On

On the 11th, The Steve Gibbons Band LP Rollin' On is released in the U.K. on Roger's Goldhawke label. Pete is the engineer. A note thanks John and David Langston.

Japanese Story of The Who

The Story Of The Who is released in Japan.

Tony Klinger 1977

Tony Klinger, director of videos for Roger's new solo album One Of The Boys, presents Who manager Bill Curbishley with a proposal for a film about the Who called "Kids Are Alright." Curbishley says he will present it to the band. He does tell Klinger that a young Who fan named Jeff Stein has been searching for old film and video of The Who but fails to mention that Stein has already received Pete's permission to make a documentary about The Who almost exactly the same as Klinger's and has already shown the band a ten-minute test reel.

On the 25th, Keith Moon checks himself into Cedars-Sinai Hospital to dry out for three days.

March 1977

New music releases: Foreigner - Foreigner; "Dreams" - Fleetwood Mac; John Denver's Greatest Hits, Vol. II - John Denver; Anytime... Anywhere - Rita Coolidge
John Entwistle NME 5 Mar 1977

On the 5th, John jumps to Pete's defense in an article in New Musical Express responding to a previous article in which Jimmy Page had called Pete a "musical dictator". Part of John's response is used as the title for the article: "Led Zeppelin? – wish we'd never invented the name."

On the 10th, Keith Moon again checks himself into Cedars-Sinai Hospital to dry out, this time for over a month.

John Wolff Light Fantastic

On the 14th, John "Wiggy" Wolff opens his "Light Fantastic" show at London's Royal Academy of Art showing his work with lasers that began with the 1975 Who shows.

On the 30th, Pete demos "Never Ask Me" at Eel Pie Studios. It is intended but rejected for the next Who album. Pete later sends it to Quincy Jones for the next Frank Sinatra album, but Jones also rejects it. It ultimately ends up on Another Scoop.

April 1977

New music releases: Go For Your Guns - The Isley Brothers; Rattus Norvegicus - The Stranglers; Celebrate Me Home - Kenny Loggins; Ol' Waylon - Waylon Jennings
Pub Bans Moon for Sex Frolic

Around the 19th, the day after Keith leaves Cedars-Sinai Hospital where he had been undergoing treatment for his alcoholism and drug abuse, he is kicked out of Ye Olde King's Head pub in Santa Monica after "simulating the act of intercourse" with a girl on the barroom floor. Prior to this he had ripped the sink out of the wall in the men's bathroom. On the 22nd, Keith checks back into Cedars-Sinai.

Punk Roger

On the 21st, A promotional film of the title song for Roger's solo album One Of The Boys is shot this day and the next around West London, directed by Tony Klinger. Roger plays a Teddy Boy, a Hell's Angel, a skinhead, and a punk rocker. It is shown that summer in the U.S. before certain shows of Star Wars.

Written On The Wind picture sleeve

On the 22nd, the first single from the One of The Boys album, "Written on the Wind" backed with "Dear John," is released in Europe. The delicate ballad, released just as punk rock becomes the rage in the U.K., stalls at #46 in the charts. The song will be dropped for the North American and Dutch release of the album.

On the 29th, Pete plays "Layla" and "Crossroads" with Eric Clapton at The Rainbow in Finsbury Park, London.

May 1977

New music releases: Barry Manilow Live - Barry Manilow; Book Of Dreams - The Steve Miller Band; Little Queen - Heart; Cat Scratch Fever - Ted Nugent

On the 11th, Who manager Bill Curbishley presents a contract to producer Sydney Rose and director Tony Klinger to make a documentary about The Who. Unbeknownst to the two signers, the contract is part of an unsuccessful backdoor attempt to remove Jeff Stein as director of the already planned film. Tony eventually joins Sydney as co-producer.

One of the Boys LP cover

On the 13th, Roger releases his third solo album One Of The Boys in Britain. He goes on a promotional swing for the LP, appearing on Capital Radio's Your Mother Wouldn't Like It on the 4th and Radio 1's Rock On on the 7th. Unfortunately, the album does not chart as well as the previous one, stalling at #45.

New Musical Express reports that Johnny Thunders of the Heartbreakers has been asked to star with The Who in a Chris Stamp-directed film called "My Generation". Thunders has been asked to play a 1963 beach-fighting Mod. The film is never made.

On the 25th, in honour of Paul Weller's birthday, he, The Jam and staffers at New Musical Express try but fail to track down Pete in Twickenham and Richmond. The magazine also reports that Pete has written 50 songs for the upcoming Who album.

On the 28th, part 15 of Tony Palmer's history of popular music All You Need Is Love airs with several Who clips and scenes of Keith recording "Do Me Good" for a follow-up solo LP. What he manages to record ultimately turns up as bonus tracks on CD reissues of Two Sides Of The Moon starting in the late 1990's.

On the 30th, official production of Who fan Jeff Stein's movie of the band, The Kids Are Alright, begins. He had proposed the movie to Pete two years before. The first weeks of production are spent in New York scouring archives for rare Who film.

June 1977

New music releases: CSN - Crosby, Stills & Nash; JT - James Taylor; Superman - Barbra Streisand; "Best of My Love" - Emotions

Pete records his demo of the song "Who Are You" at his Goring Studio.

Roger Daltrey hologram offer

On the 11th, Roger's solo album One Of The Boys is released in the U.S. "Written In The Wind" is dropped in favor of "Say It Ain't So Joe." The album also contains an offer for a holographic pendant showing a 3-D bust of Roger. Ira Robbins in Crawdaddy says the LP has more good material than the last two Roger solo albums combined. Records and Recordings says Roger's voice is strong enough to put over weak material while Stephen Holden in Circus says the album never rises above the mediocre. It peaks at #46.

Fabulous Poodles LP

John produces four songs for The Fabulous Poodles' first LP during this month ("Workshy", "Mr. Mike", "Roll Your Own" and "Cherchez la Femme"). He also plays bass on Lonnie Donegan's Puttin' On The Style LP but his contributions are removed, for reasons unknown, before the LP's release.

Keith Moon Led Zeppelin

On the 23rd, Keith Moon comes out of seclusion to join Led Zeppelin during an encore at the Los Angeles Forum. While John Bonham drums to "Moby Dick", Keith plays tympani and tambourine. It will be his last musical performance in front of an audience in North America.

The same evening, John celebrates the 10th anniversary of his marriage watching The Pirates perform at Dingwall's in the Camden Market, London.

July 1977

New music releases: The Grand Illusion - Styx; Moody Blue - Elvis Presley; "I Feel Love" - Donna Summer; In Full Bloom - Rose Royce
John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett

On the 1st, the John Otway & Wild Willy Barrett LP is released in the U.K. It features the tracks "Murder Man," "If I Did," "Louisa On A Horse" and "Misty Mountain" all with bass and production by Pete recorded in 1973. It fails to chart.

On the 5th, Keith Moon overdoses on Valium and is rushed to Cedars-Sinai to have his stomach pumped. The hospital puts Keith into the Thespians Ward for a drying out spell. While he is there he has seizures from alcohol and cocaine withdrawal. He is released on the 9th as the next day he has to fly to London to prepare for planned filming on The Kids Are Alright.

On the 11th, The Who regroup at Shepperton Film Studios. Moon, with whom the other band members haven't worked since the previous October, has ballooned in weight. During this week the band rehearses and shoots a video for Roger's solo song "Say It Ain't So, Joe" with John and a topless Keith.

On the 20th, director Jeff Stein holds the first day's shooting of new film for The Kids Are Alright. The Who are shot arriving separately and rehearsing together "The Real Me," "Bell Boy," "The Kids Are Alright," "Run, Baby, Run," "Smokestack Lightning/Spoonful," "God Knows (an instrumental)" and "Won't Get Fooled Again." The next day Keith is shot arriving at the studio on a fire engine surrounded by smoke bombs. The Who then rehearse "Who Are You," "Baba O'Riley," "Shakin' All Over," "Travellin' Light," "I Saw Her Standing There," "Water" and "Barbara Ann." Only Keith's arrival, the last song and a short clip of Pete telling Keith about his hearing test results shot that day make it into the final film.

On the 30th, a single from Roger's solo album One of the Boys, "Say It Ain't So, Joe" backed with "Satin and Lace," is released in the U.S. It fails to chart.

August 1977

New music releases: Live - Foghat; The Elvis Presley Story - Elvis Presley; "You Light Up My Life" - Debby Boone; "Blue Bayou" - Linda Ronstadt
Shepperton Studios

For several years, Shepperton Studios had been renting their studios as rehearsal space for The Who and other major British groups. It was one of the few ways for British film studios to make money during the dire 1970s. The Who, looking for an investment to save some of their money from the current tax rate in the 90 percentile, offer to enter into a partnership with Shepperton, to purchase a long-term lease for Shepperton's stages J and K for £350,000, and make further investments in the studio's sound, video, and laser equipment. On the 2nd, Shepperton's stockholders approve the plan, giving a shot in the arm to the studio and the moribund British film industry. The biggest movie made during The Who's time at the studio will be Alien (1979) where the set designers will borrow The Who's stage lasers for a scene in the aliens' nest.

Keith Moon question Aug 1977

On the 8th, filming of The Kids Are Alright resumes at Keith Moon's Malibu, California home. Shot this day is Keith's refusal to tell the truth. "As you want to hear it? You couldn't afford me", Keith in biker gear with a blow-up sex doll and a scene of Keith and Rick Danko of The Band playing cards. The latter sequence is cut out of the movie at the last moment due to a rights issue.

Keith Moon Pleasure Chest

The 9th is taken up with more Keith interviews and the 10th with views of Keith taking in the nightlife of Los Angeles. The crew ends up at The Pleasure Chest, a sex equipment shop, where Keith dons a leather mask and is interviewed while being whipped by Mary Ann Zabresky.

Keith Moon Trancas restaurant

On the 11th, filming takes place at a pre-birthday celebration at Trancas Restaurant and Bar in Malibu. A stripper pops out of cake and somehow Keith ends up on his back, covered in cake, trying to get his trousers down.

Keith Moon pirate

The final day's shooting on the 12th sees Keith wearing a variety of costumes parading up and down the beach followed by a return to his house where Ringo Starr both interviews him and shoots an introduction for the film's trailer.

The shoot goes well except for 'Dougal' Butler who sparks a major row with Keith when he gets a job as a production assistant on the film. Dougal leaves Keith's employ and sees him for the last time.

Late in the month, Keith is videotaped at CBS Studios in Hollywood for Rolling Stone...The Tenth Anniversary special. Keith tells some of his hotel exploits then participates in a sketch in which Steve Martin helps him destroy a hotel room. The later part also appears in the movie The Kids Are Alright.

Newport Male Voice Choir 45

On the 28th, John produces a session at Ramport Studios for the 74-member Newport Male Voice Choir including his father, Bert. They record "Yesterday," "Bridge Over Troubled Water," "Love Me Tender" and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." John plays bass on three tracks accompanied by Rod Argent on piano and Moog.

Roger Daltrey US Against the World

Also on the 28th, Roger is on the UCLA campus to shoot a "Battle of the Network Stars"-style program called US Against The World. On Roger's team representing the U.K. are Marty Feldman, Susan George, Oliver Reed, Jane Seymour, Richard Dawson and Twiggy. The special airs on NBC Sept. 7th.

September 1977

New music releases: The Stranger - Billy Joel; Elton John's Greatest Hits Volume II - Elton John; Simple Dreams - Linda Ronstadt; Aja - Steely Dan
Rough Mix LP

On the 5th, Pete's album made in conjunction with Ronnie Lane, Rough Mix, is released in the U.S. The U.K. release follows on the 16th. Dave Marsh in Rolling Stone calls it a successful blend of spiritual feelings and art. Positive reviews also come from Phil McNeill in New Musical Express, John Swenson in Circus, David Sargent in Vogue, Steve Simels in Stereo Review and Billy Altman in Creem who calls it one of the year's best albums. It reaches #44 in the U.K. charts and #45 in the U.S.

US Against the World ad

On the 7th, US Against The World, featuring Roger Daltrey, airs on NBC-TV. The special gets disappointing ratings.

On the 9th, The Fabulous Poodles self-titled LP, produced by John at his home studio, is released.

On the 12th, Keith ends his three year on-and-off residency in Los Angeles for good. After his arrival in London he tries to go cold turkey from alcohol and drugs to prepare for the upcoming Who recording, but it prompts another seizure and he has to be hospitalized for a few days. When he comes out his beard of the recent year has been shaved off.

Pete contacts Mick Jagger and gets his permission to use The Who's performance of "A Quick One While He's Away" from The Rolling Stones' Rock N' Roll Circus for The Kids Are Alright.

Melody Maker 17 Sep 1977

On the 17th, Pete and Ronnie Lane discuss their new album and their love of Meher Baba in Melody Maker. Pete also blasts the punk rock group The Stranglers who had been critical of The Who but shows his sympathy with punk rock. "In my imagination I invented punk rock a thousand times. I thought the hypocrisy of the position we were in was just unbelievable."

On the 19th, The Who reunite at Ramport Studios in London to begin rehearsals for the Who Are You album.

On the 26th, Pete and Ronnie Lane are interviewed on BBC2's The Old Grey Whistle Test to promote Rough Mix.

October 1977

New music releases: Bat Out of Hell - Meat Loaf; "We Will Rock You"/"We Are The Champions" - Queen; News of the World - Queen; Point of Know Return - Kansas
Avenging Annie US single

On the 1st, another single from Roger's solo album One Of The Boys, "Avenging Annie" backed with "The Prisoner," hits the U.S. charts. It peaks at #88 in Billboard, #87 in Cash Box.

On the 3rd, Pete is interviewed on a pre-recorded segment of Capitol Radio's Your Mother Wouldn't Like It. He says he gets ten offers a week to produce punk-rock bands. He also declares The Who have reached the end of what they can do.

The U.S. TV show Midnight Special airs the video of Roger performing "Say It Ain't So, Joe" with John and Keith shot in August.

The Story of Tommy book

Pete Townshend and Richard Barnes' book The Story Of Tommy is published by Eel Pie Publishing. The book focuses on the two-and-a-half year old film but also contains a wealth of information about the genesis of the rock opera. On the 15th, Pete goes on BBC Radio One's Rock On to promote it.

Pete Townshend Rolling Stone cover 1977

On or after the 20th,Rolling Stone publishes a long article written by Pete about what had been happening to him over the past four years, covering the production of Quadrophenia his growing alcoholism, writing the soundtrack to Tommy, his press fight with Roger, the recording of The Who by Numbers, his establishment of the London Meher Baba Oceanic Centre, the band's lawsuit against their former managers, and the rise of punk rock, all of it told in a very subjective and apologetic manner. Some memorable lines: "If it screams for truth rather than help, if it commits itself with a courage it can't be sure it really has, if it stands up and admits something is wrong but doesn't insist on blood, then it's rock & roll.". "I prayed for it [punk rock], and yet it's too late for me to truly participate. I feel like an engineer. Just let me... watch." "Drinking around the Who is the greatest thing gutter-level life can offer. The bawdiness of the humor, the sheer decadence of the amount put away, the incredible emotional release of violent outbursts against innocent hotel-room sofas; all these count to get a body through a lot of trouble." "The answer came out of the sky, in a voice that, to me, was audible in a fantastic sense: 'Keep playing the guitar with the Who until further notice!'"

Recording continues throughout the month on the new Who album. "Who Are You" and "Sister Disco" are recorded at Ramport and Goring Studios, London, "Love Is Coming Down" is begun on the 18th at Ramport and "New Song" begins on the 24th and continues on the 27th.

Also on the 27th, tension between Roger and producer Glyn Johns comes to a head. According to fellow producer Jon Astley, "Roger leaned over the desk while Glyn was sitting there and he said 'Can I hear a bit more bass?'' Glyn stopped the machine and said 'What?' and Roger said 'I just want to hear a bit more bass in the mix.' Glyn said 'We're listening to all this f***ing work that they've done, and you want to hear a bit more bass?' At that point, things exploded. It was unbelievable. They both stormed out, and then I heard this kerfuffle in the corridor and Glyn came back in the control room with tears in his eyes, holding his nose and saying 'That's it. I'm going home.' Roger had nutted him and driven off in his Ferrari." Jon Astley is promoted to full producer. Johns returns to work with The Who five years later.

Street In The City 45

"Street In the City" backed with Ronnie Lane's "Annie" comes out in Britain as a single on the 28th. It does not reach the charts

On the 31st, Pete is interviewed in his Twickenham home for the BBC-TV programme Tonight. He declares stories of his smashing guitars to be "lies, all lies!" and describes himself as "a desperate old fart now; not boring though!" The interview is later used in the movie The Kids Are Alright.

November 1977

New music releases: Saturday Night Fever - The Bee Gees and Various Artists; Foot Loose & Fancy Free - Rod Stewart; Slowhand - Eric Clapton; All 'n All - Earth, Wind & Fire

On the 4th, Keith Moon is arrested at the Ritz Hotel in Paris for rowdy behavior and spends the night in jail. He is in Paris to hang out with the Rolling Stones as they record their Some Girls LP.

On the 7th, Pete goes on Nicky Horne's radio show Your Mother Wouldn't Like It in London with demos intended for the new Who album. He plays "Who Are You," "Sister Disco, "Love Is Coming Down" and the rejected track "Like It The Way It Is."

On the 9th, Pete sees an ATV documentary called Dummy directed by Franc Roddam. It impresses Pete enough that he subsequently approaches Roddam to direct the film version of Quadrophenia.

Pete Townshend NME cover Nov. 17, 1977

On the 17th, New Musical Express has the article Pete wrote for Rolling Stone, published in October. Their version is longer, particularly in the scraps of prose writing that had accompanied the original article. The rest shows evidence of a Townshend rewrite with parts added and others deleted.

The U.S. gets their single from Rough Mix on the 18th, "My Baby Gives It Away" backed with "April Fool". As with the British single, it also does not reach the charts.

Keith Moon pub crawl
Photo: Barry Plummer

On the 21st, Keith takes Melody Maker journalist Chris Welch on a "punk rock pub crawl." Accompanying them is Keith Altham, Bill Curbishley, Richard Dorse, and Billy Idol and Tony James of Generation X. They drive the short distance from the Marquee to the Vortex Club in Keith's pink Rolls Royce. Spying the queue of punks waiting to get in, Keith berates them. "Call yourselves anarchists? I've never queued in my life! I'll show you how to walk into a club!" He promptly marches in past the bouncers to the punks' cheers.

Warsaw Pakt Needle Time

On the 27th, Warsaw Pakt releases the album Needle Time with a cover of "It's Not True." It had been recorded the night before, pressed and rushed to Virgin's Records Store in London to beat a Guinness World Record.

December 1977

New music releases: Running On Empty - Jackson Browne; "Stayin' Alive" - The Bee Gees; "Lovely Day" - Bill Withers; Abba: The Album - Abba

On the 12th, Keith drags Pete to his new hangout, the punk-rock club The Vortex to see Wayne County and the Electric Chairs, Backlash and the Skunks. Pete is particularly impressed with the latter band and signs them to his Eel Pie record label.

On the 13th, Pete is interviewed by Dave Schulps of Trouser Press. He says he won't be touring with The Who in the foreseeable future but does not mention the reason, his concern that Keith is not in fit shape to tour. The interview appears in the April and May 1978 issues. On the same day, Roger overdubs his vocal on "Who Are You."

The Who Kilburn portrait 1977

On the 14th, The Who rehearse for the next day's concert. On the 15th, The Who perform a set at the 2000-seat Gaumont State Theatre in the London suburb of Kilburn. The audience is made up of those lucky enough to have heard an announcement that morning on Capitol Radio. Jeff Stein, director of The Who documentary The Kids Are Alright, set up the show because he had found no good footage of The Who performing their hits "Baba O'Riley" and "Won't Get Fooled Again." The show turns into a full-length concert with the only live complete performance of "Who Are You" with Keith on drums.

Although Pete and the rest of the band find their performance adequate, Stein realizes he has not yet gotten a Who performance exciting enough for the end of his film. All he will use in the finished movie is an angry Who attacking the camera as they go offstage to their dressing rooms and Pete inciting the audience to come up and try to take his guitar off him. The footage will rest in the Who film vaults until it is released on DVD as The Who at Kilburn 1977 in 2008.

Roger has to go under the knife as nodules are found on his vocal chords, delaying further work on the Who Are You album until March. Meanwhile work continues on recording and mixing the orchestral parts added to "Had Enough" and "Love Is Coming Down".

The Village Voice places Pete and Ronnie Lane's album Rough Mix at #13 in their year-end Pazz & Jop critic's poll.

Keith Moon as jester
Photo: Kent Gavin

On the 22nd, Keith is photographed as a court jester in full makeup.

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