Updated Feb. 24, 2022

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January 1989

New music releases: Skid Row - Skid Row; The Raw and The Cooked - Fine Young Cannibals; Electric Youth - Debbie Gibson; "Paradise City" - Guns N' Roses

Rolling Stone reports that MCA has plans for a Who CD boxset.

Pete Townshend Rock n Roll HOF 1989
Photo: R.J. Capak

Pete flies to New York for the Rolling Stones' induction into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel. While there, he meets with his attorney Ina Meibach who tells him that if he put out a new Who album and toured with them he would generate £14,000 every day. "I couldn't pass up this kind of money."

On the 18th, Pete delivers a speech heralding The Rolling Stones' induction. He advises them not to grow old gracefully. "It wouldn't suit you." He also takes part in the ending jam session.

Backstage, he is repeatedly asked when The Who are going to tour again. According to one source, Bono from U2 corners Pete and says he owes it to fellow band member John Entwistle to go out on the road with The Who to ease John's debt burden. Pete, however, later says it was enduring the flight back home economy class and getting off the plane with an aching back that caused him to decide to become wealthy enough to always fly first class. Whichever of these enticements was the reason, Pete soon changes his mind and agrees to accompany Roger and John on a 25th anniversary Who tour.

Sometime around the above events, Pete pulls in Roger to sing two songs, "Dig" and a cover of Arthur Brown's "Fire" for his new The Iron Man musical CD. John is then brought in to play bass and the two tracks are subsequently listed as being by "The Who," the first studio tracks recorded under that name since the It's Hard album nearly seven years earlier.

March 1989

New music releases: Like a Prayer - Madonna; Girl You Know It's True - Milli Vanilli; Nick of Time - Bonnie Raitt; "Like a Prayer" - Madonna
Who looks daft!

On the 17th, Pete attends the London premiere of Terry Gilliam's film The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. The press has a good time mocking his new ponytail. On the 30th, Pete turns one-time movie critic himself, going on ITV Anglia to review the film.

April 1989

New music releases: Garth Brooks - Garth Brooks; Full Moon Fever - Tom Petty; Skynyrd's Innyrds: Their Greatest Hits - Lynyrd Skynyrd; Repeat Offender - Richard Marx
W.A.S.P. The Real Me PS

W.A.S.P. releases their cover of "The Real Me" as the A-side of a single.

Rolling Stone reports that The Who are thinking of using Joe Walsh as a second guitarist during their summer tour.

Roger is filmed performing the part of the street singer in Menahem Golan's film of Bertolt Brecht's The Threepenny Opera that will be released as Mack The Knife.

The Who 1989 press conference

On the 24th, Pete, Roger and John Entwistle appear together at a press conference at Radio City Music Hall in New York City to announce they will again tour as The Who that summer. Pete tells the press that he still experiences hearing problems and gets a laugh when he says, "we will play very, very quietly."

On the 25th, all three are interviewed on ABC-TV's Good Morning America.

An Eye For An I promo record

On the 28th, Pete records a promotional interview at Atlantic Studios in New York City concerning his forthcoming album The Iron Man. The interview is later released as a promo LP called An Eye For An I.

May 1989

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".

On the 8th, Roger is interviewed on TVAM Good Morning Britain.

Rhino Tommy Orchestra

On the 12th, Rhino Records releases the 1972 London Symphony Orchestra version of Tommy on CD.

On the 17th, Roger is at the Cannes Film Festival for the premiere of Mack The Knife, which features Roger singing the title song. In an interview, Roger says he wanted to become a doctor of Chinese medicine and study herbal medicine and acupuncture. He adds that he never felt that singing and acting were proper careers.

John 1989 Jacket
Photo: Nils Jorgensen

On the 24th, John receives his custom-made black-and-white Union Jack jacket from the Mayor of London to wear on the tour.

On the 25th, The Who sit down for an early morning discussion on Good Morning, America.

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.

June 1989

New music releases: Soul Provider - Michael Bolton; The End of The Innocence - Don Henley; Cosmic Thing - The B-52's; Heart Of Stone - Cher
Standing In The Shadows of Motown

On the 1st, the book Standing in the Shadows Of Motown: The Life and Music of Legendary Bassist James Jamerson is published. It is accompanied by two cassette tapes containing famous bass players, including John, playing some of Jamerson's famous riffs.

On the 7th, Pete and Ronnie Lane's Rough Mix is released on CD. Around the same time MCA Records, having purchased the rights to The Who's two then-final studio albums, re-releases Face Dances and It's Hard on CD.

Musician July 1989

Musician carries a pre-tour article and interview with The Who. The cover presents a drawing of the three members over a dollar bill and the article damns them as sellouts. Inside, interviewer Charles M. Young gets in a heated exchange with Pete on the subject of the tour sponsorship by a beer company.

The Who Miller poster 1989

On the 21st, The Who play a warm up show for their tour at the Glens Falls, New York Civic Center. The tour officially begins on the 23rd and 24th at Toronto's C.N.E. Stadium. The show consists of two acts with intermission, act one being Tommy and the second a collection of Who hits, Pete solo material and some selected rarities. Pete plays only acoustic guitar through the first act, then electric in sections of the second act. For the tour Pete, Roger, John and keyboardist John "Rabbit" Bundrick are augmented by drummer Simon Phillips accompanied by percussionist Jodi Linscott, electric guitarist Steve Bolton, a horn section and backup singers led by Billy Nicholls.

June 27, 1989 ticket

From Toronto, The Who then head to New York City for a performance at Radio City Music Hall on the 27th. This is a charity performance for the benefit of the Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy and is broadcast live on the Westwood One Radio Network. Afterwards, The Who attend a party in their honor at the Waldorf Astoria. Robert Plant, then scheduled to perform with The Who at the charity show in Los Angeles, also attends.

On the 27th, Pete discusses the tour on NBC's The Today Show.

On the 28th, Pete appears on NBC's Late Night With David Letterman performing "A Friend Is A Friend" from his new solo album The Iron Man accompanied by Billy Nicholls and fellow singer Chyna.

The Who 25th Anniv. button

The 25th Anniversary Who tour continues with two nights at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on the 29th and 30th.

July 1989

New music releases: Cuts Both Ways - Gloria Estefan; Tender Lover - Babyface; Paul's Boutique - The Beastie Boys; When Harry Met Sally... - Harry Connick, Jr.
Roger and Pete Giants Stadium 1989
Photo: Neal Preston

The Who's four nights at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey concludes on the 2nd and 3rd. Performances of "Boris The Spider", "I Can See For Miles" and "See Me Feel Me" from these shows are later released on the 30 Years Of Maximum R&B video. All four shows are sellouts earning $5,243,672.

Who Party 1989

From there The Who extravaganza travels to R.F.K. Stadium in Washington, D.C. on the 6th and 7th. On the 8th The Who attend a private party at Cagney's nightclub where Pete, Roger and John blow out the candles on a 25th Anniversary cake.

The Who Miami 1989
Photo: Joe Raedle

Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia is next on the 9th and 10th followed by Sullivan Stadium in Foxboro, Masschusetts on the 12th and 14th, Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh on the 16th, Rich Stadium in Orchard Park, New York on the 18th, Cleveland Municipal Stadium on the 19th, Alpine Valley in East Troy, Wisconsin on the 21st, 22nd and 23rd, the Pontiac Silverdome on 25th, Carter-Finlay Stadium in Raleigh, North Carolina on the 27th, Tampa Stadium in Florida on the 29th, and Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami on the 31st. At this point the tour has to take a break as Roger is suffering horribly with abdominal pains aggravated by his singing.

On the 10th, Advertising Age magazine does a feature on the involvement of Miller Brewing and Anheauser-Busch in The Who's tour and The Who's participation in Miller TV commercials.

On the 13th, Pete answers fans' questions for over two hours on the syndicated American radio show Rock Line

The Iron Man LP

On the 15th, Pete's The Iron Man, a musical version of Ted Hughes' children's book and featuring two new recordings by The Who, hits the U.S. charts. The album opens to generally favorable but not enthusiastic reviews. It peaks at #58 in Billboard. A single "A Friend Is A Friend" backed with "Man Machines" is also released but does not chart. In The U.K. neither the album nor single charts.

Townshend in flight 1989
Photo: Bret Roberts

All the attempts to protect Pete from his tinnitus, from limiting Pete to acoustic guitar and lowering the onstage volume, fail and Pete is forced to wear earplugs from the 16th on. He later remarks that whenever he leaps, the earplugs pop out.

Despite being in Pittsburgh that day, Pete is also supposed to have made an appearance on the 16th on the ITV Border's children's programme Ghost Train on Sunday.

In Elle magazine, Pete says among the current generation of musicians, he admires Michael Jackson, Madonna and Prince while in Guitar Player, John says he is writing a book about The Who. Meanwhile Roger appears in Life magazine in a 20th anniversary article on the Woodstock festival. He's says, "I would have been 10 times richer if I'd left England and gone to live as a tax exile, but I chose to stay because I believed in the dream of socialism."

Rolling Stone reports that The Who's summer tour is expected to gross from 25 to 30 million dollars.

August 1989

New music releases: Sleeping With the Past - Elton John; Steel Wheels - The Rolling Stones; "The Best" - Tina Turner; "Pump Up the Jam" - Technotronic
Roger Daltrey 1989 tour
Photo: Neal Preston

The Who 25th Anniversary North American tour begins the month taking a break while they try to find out why Roger is having intense pain when he sings. Roger: "I had something wrong with me from birth on the inside that all of a sudden had come to life. It was called a hemangioma, which is a bunch of varicose veins in my guts. I'm okay now; I had it all cut out. On that tour when I started singing and all the blood would go down because you start pumping your diaphragm, the thing would blow up like a balloon. It stopped me eating. I lost so much weight. God, I was ill on that tour."

With no quick fix available, Roger decides to tough it out and the tour resumes at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City on the 5th followed by a three-night stand at Lakewood Amphitheater in Atlanta, Georgia on the 7th, 8th and 9th, then Busch Stadium in St. Louis on the 11th and Folsom Field in Boulder, Colorado on the 13th.

Goldmine Aug 11, 1989

On the 11th, William Ruhlmann blasts The Who in Goldmine Magazine calling them "Rock's Recycling Kings".

On the 16th, Pete joins the list of injured players during The Who's show at the Tacomadome in Tacoma, Washington. A loose tremolo bar impales Pete's hand in mid-windmill during the conclusion of "Won't Get Fooled Again", driving the bar through the webbing between the fourth and fifth fingers. He is rushed to hospital where he gets stitched up. The rest of the band continues with the encore absent their pierced axeman.

Pete, now wearing a hand brace, returns with The Who at the next show on the 18th at B.C. Place Stadium in Vancouver. There is another show at this venue on the 19th followed by a trip down to San Diego, California to play Jack Murphy Stadium on the 22nd.

All-Star Tommy 1989
Photo: Steve Gurnitz

On the 24th, The Who participate in their second all-star version of Tommy at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles. Elton John plays the Pinball Wizard, Phil Collins is Uncle Ernie, Billy Idol is Cousin Kevin, Steve Winwood is the Hawker and Patti Labelle is the Acid Queen. Front row seats go for a ticket price of $1500. All but $50 of that (all but $25 of the cheaper seats) goes to the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Foundation. The show is simulcast on pay-per-view to over sixty countries.

The Who ticket Aug. 30, 1989

For those wanting a cheaper show in Los Angeles, The Who play the Coliseum on the 26th, then travel up the California coast to play two shows at Oakland Coliseum on the 29th and 30th. During the latter concert Pete presents a check for $10,000 to hard-of-hearing fellow musician Kathy Peck for her non-profit organization Hearing Education Awareness for Rockers.

Pete Townshend - Terence Trent D'Arby

In an interview in Rolling Stone Terence Trent D'Arby lists Pete's music as one of his main inspirations.

September 1989

New music releases: Pump - Aerosmith; Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 - Janet Jackson; Dr. Feelgood - Mötley Crüe; Foreign Affair - Tina Turner
Who ticket Sep 3, 1989

The North American 25th Anniversary Who tour wraps up with a Texas swing as The Who and friends play the Houston Astrodome on the 2nd and finish up at the Dallas Cotton Bowl on the 3rd. This final show is later bootlegged under the titles Magic Bus and Where Are The Kids. Supporting The Who at both shows are Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble and The Fabulous Thunderbirds.

Pete Townshend Guitar Player 1989

Part one of a two-part Pete interview is the cover story on this month's Guitar Player. A lot of the first part concerns how Pete has adapted his guitar playing to accommodate his tinnitus problem.

Keith Moon Drums and Drumming 1989

Drums and Drumming magazine remembers the missing member. This month's cover story is "The Keith Moon Legend".

On the 19th, Timothy White's Rock Stars radio program is broadcast featuring an interview with Pete. He airs a new demo called "Penny Drop". The interview, in print form the next year, will be the basis for the "Pete Is Gay" rumor.

On the 30th, the day she and Pete were to adopt a baby boy, Karen discovers she is pregnant.

October 1989

New music releases: The Road to Hell - Chris Rea; The Little Mermaid: Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack - Various Artists; Storm Front - Billy Joel; Enjoy Yourself - Kylie Minogue
The Who London Hard Rock 1989
Photo: Brendan Monks

On the 3rd, The Who gather for a photo-op outside the Hard Rock Cafeacute; in London. Pete smashes a guitar for the cameras.

Birmingham Review 1989

The Who bring their 25th Anniversary extravaganza to England for four performances at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham on the 6th, 7th, 9th, and 10th. The latter two dates are added after the first two dates sell out.

Scorpions Best of CD

The Scorpions release their best-of LP The Best Of Rockers 'n' Ballads with a bonus cut cover of "I Can't Explain."

Rolling Stone magazine announces their picks for the Top 100 Albums of the Eighties. No Who record places but Pete's solo album Empty Glass hits at #57.

1989 Wembley poster

On the 23rd, The Who begin four more nights at Wembley Arena in London. Additional dates are on the 24th, 26th and 27th. On the night of the 26th, Roger's voice gives out toward the end and he is forced to leave the stage. Pete wraps it up singing "Behind Blue Eyes" and "Won't Get Fooled Again" all on his lonesome.

On the 28th, Pete appears with Eric Clapton on the BBC-TV talk show Saturday Matters where they discuss their respective careers and perform the Muddy Waters' song "Standin' Around Cryin'."

Royal Albert Hall ad 1989

On the 31st, The Who perform the first of two nights at the Royal Albert Hall in London featuring an all-star performance of Tommy.

November 1989

New music releases: ...But Seriously - Phil Collins; The Best of Rod Stewart - Rod Stewart; Greatest Hits 1982-1989 - Chicago; Affection - Lisa Stansfield

On the 1st, BBC1 Newsroom South East has a video report on The Who's first night at the Royal Albert Hall in London featuring an interview with Roger conducted by Cathy McGowan, plus remarks from Terence Trent D'Arby, Brian May and Elton John.

On the 2nd, The Who wrap-up their 25th Anniversary tour with a final night at the Royal Albert Hall in London. It is The Who's last performance before a paying audience for over six years.

Roger Daltrey John Entwistle Silver Clef 1989
Photo: Ron Galella

On the 15, Roger and John attend the 2nd Annual Silver Clef Awards at the Puck Building in New York.

Rez Innocent Blood CD

The Christian rock band Rez release their album Innocent Blood featuring a cover of "Bargain.".

On or right before the 17th, Pete releases his second single from The Iron Man, "I Won't Run Anymore" backed with "A Fool Says..." in the U.K. It fails to reach the charts.

On the 21st, after two daughters, The Townshends finally have a son, Joseph.

December 1989

New music releases: "Under the Sea" - Samuel E. Wright and Chorus; "Do They Know It's Christmas?" - Band Aid II; "Infinity" - Guru Josh; "I Wanna Be Rich" - Calloway
The Who Live 1989 laserdisc

The video The Who Live featuring the rock opera 'Tommy' is released. It features an edited version of The Who's August 24th, 1989 performance at the Universal Amphitheatre.

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