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December 2011 (5 years ago)

New album releases: El Camino - The Black Keys; TM: 103 Hustlerz Ambition - Young Jeezy; The Path of Totality - Korn; Back to Love - Anthony Hamilton
The Who 2011 Lotus The Who 2011 Lotus

On the 1st, a Lotus Evora designed by Roger Daltrey and with his signature etched into the hood is auctioned off to benefit the Teenage Cancer Trust.

On the 3rd, Quadrophenia (Deluxe Edition) hits its U.S. chart peak at #110 on the Billboard charts.

On the 8th, BBC Radio 4 broadcasts a new radio play, Burning Both Ends: When Oliver Reed Met Keith Moon starring Sean Pertwee as Oliver Reed and Arthur Darvill as Keith Moon. It is written by Matthew Broughton.

2011 Japan Mini-albums 2011 Japan Mini-albums

On the 11th, MCA Japan reissues A Quick One, Odds and Sods, Tommy/Original Soundtrack, The Who By Numbers, Who Are You, The Kids Are Alright, Quadrophenia/Original Soundtrack, Face Dances, It's Hard, The Singles, Who's Missing, Two's Missing, and BBC Sessions as cardboard sleeve mini-LP's. Several of them feature new mixes and re-masters and bonus tracks unavailable elsewhere.

On the 12th, Maxene, John Entwistle's second wife, appears on the reality show Pawn Stars with a sterling silver Tiffany Walkman formerly owned by John.

iTunes Session Gaslight Anthem iTunes Session Gaslight Anthem

On the 13th, the Gaslight Album releases iTunes Session: The Gaslight Anthem featuring a cover of "Baba O'Riley".

On the 30th, Roger narrates the BBC Radio 6 documentary The Wicked Pickett: The Life and Times of Wilson Pickett.

December 2006 (10 years ago)

New album releases: The Inspiration - Young Jeezy; Dreamgirls: Music from the Motion Picture - Various Artists; Eminem Presents The Re-Up - Eminem; Taylor Hicks - Taylor Hicks
The Who St Paul 2006 The Who St Paul 2006
Photo: Tom Sweeney

The Who's North American Endless Wire tour continues with shows at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut (1st), the TD Bankworth Garden (Fleet Center) in Boston (2nd), the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario (4th), the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan (5th), the Qwest Center in Omaha, Nebraska (7th), the St. Paul XCel Energy Center (Arena) (8th) and the Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio (11th).

Zak Starkey Zak Starkey

On the 4th, Pete Townshend reports in his online diary that he offered Zak Starkey a permanent role as drummer for The Who but Zak turned him down.

On the 5th, Roger Matura releases his CD the Return of the CaveMan auf wiedersehen zukunft!? featuring a cover of "Substitute".

Japan Great Albums 2006 Japan Great Albums 2006

On the 6th, a limited edition box set of 16 mini-album CD's is released in Japan under the name The Who – Great Albums 1965-.

On the 7th, Roger's signature appears on advert in the Financial Times calling for copyright extention in Europe for musical works.

Pete Townshend Minneapolis Barnes and Noble Pete Townshend Minneapolis Barnes and Noble
Photo: William Snyder

On the 8th, before The Who's show at the Xcel Energy Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Pete and his partner Rachel perform at a Barnes & Noble bookstore before a group of fans who brave the bitter cold. Speaking of cold, Roger catches one and he is forced to cut that night's concert short.

Simon and Pete Townshend Simon and Pete Townshend
Photo: Ozzie

On the 9th, Pete and his brother Simon and Rachel Fuller perform at Martyrs in Chicago. Audience members pay between $50 and $300 to attend the In the Attic show with the top ticket allowing fans to meet Pete before the show. Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen is an early arrival, but Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders cancels at the last minute even after Martyrs' had switched to a vegetarian menu at her request.

On the 18th, Mark Linden O'Meara releases his comedy EP I Think I Need Therapy featuring a parody cover "My De-Generation".

December 2001 (15 years ago)

New album releases: Rock Steady - No Doubt; Stillmatic - Nas; Doggy Bag - Lil' Bow Wow; Big Boy and Dre Present...OutKast - OutKast

At the beginning of the month, the people behind Pete's soon to be released live Lifehouse DVD announce that they are looking for material to restore The Kids Are Alright for DVD.

This month's mp3's at Pete's website are "Latin Thing" (6th), Psychoderelict outtake "Looking For Words" (13th), and White City outtakes "A Man Without A Woman" (20th), and "You'll Never Be Alone Again" (27th).

On the 11th, the group Too Much Joy release a live album called Live At Least. The album cover copies Live At Leeds and on the album, the band covers "Happy Jack".

On the 23rd, Pete posts a diary entry in which he describes a new novel he has been working on called The Boy Who Heard Music. He says he will be writing songs to go with the novel that will come out on CD at the same time as its release. "Pretentious? Self-obsessed? Grandiose? Pompous? I hope so," says Pete.

Roger gives a surprise performance at NEC Birmingham as part of Jasper Carrott's Christmas Cracker. He performs a acoustic versions of "Behind Blue Eyes," "Substitute", "Who Are You", "Pinball Wizard" and "Stand By Me."

December 1996 (20 years ago)

New album releases: Greatest Hits - Mark Chesnutt; Song Review - Stevie Wonder; Muddy Waters - Redman; One Fierce Beer Coaster - The Bloodhound Gang
Earl's Court 1996 ad Earl's Court 1996 ad

The Who and friends return Quadrophenia to London with live shows at Earl's Court in London on the 6th and 7th. They then take it to Manchester's NYMEX Arena on the 11th. These shows introduce P.J. Proby taking Gary Glitter's place as The Godfather.

On the 10th, the soundtrack to Who fan Cameron Crowe's new movie Jerry McGuire is released. It features The Who's Live at Leeds version of "Magic Bus" and the studio version of "Getting In Tune".

Everybody's Somebody's Monster CD Everybody's Somebody's Monster CD

On the 12th, Floating Opera releases their CD Everybody's Somebody's Monster featuring a cover of "I Can't Reach You" and on the 17th, Plainsong releases their CD Sister Flute featuring a cover of "I Can't Explain".

December 1991 (25 years ago)

New album releases: Ten Strait Hits - George Strait; Live - Mental Jewelry; Juice (Original Soundtrack) - Various Artists; Put Yourself in My Place - Pam Tillis
Anchorage Anchorage

On the 20th, it is reported that Pete has sold the Anchorage, his Thames-side mansion for £595,000.

December 1986 (30 years ago)

New album releases: Hot, Cool & Vicious - Salt 'n Pepa; Mechanical Resonance - Tesla; Good Music - Joan Jett & The Blackhearts; Electric Café [Techno Pop] - Kraftwerk

The Who plan a one-off reunion concert this month at The Marquee in London. Just to be ready Who manager Bill Curbishley books them on a U.S. tour. When Pete hears about the U.S. bookings he pulls out of the Marquee show.

Pete signs a contract with Virgin to write a musical production of Ted Hughes' children's story The Iron Man. The sizeable advance allows Pete to gift himself with a Synclavier system and a new composition suite for his boathouse/recording studio.

The Little Matchgirl VHS The Little Matchgirl VHS

On the 26th, The Little Matchgirl, a video musical starring Twiggy and Roger, premieres on British television.

December 1981 (35 years ago)

New album releases: The Blasters - The Blasters; "The Catherine Wheel" - David Byrne; Peter Cetera - Peter Cetera; Wilder - The Teardrop Explodes
Talk Dirty ad Talk Dirty ad

On the 5th, Billboard carries an ad for John's 2nd single from his solo album Too Late The Hero, "Talk Dirty"/"Try Me". The A-side gets more airplay there than the album's title track but still does not reach the Billboard charts.

Pete resumes work on his LP All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes. To add to his own personal miseries, he also begins smoking crack cocaine.

December 1976 (40 years ago)

New album releases: Hotel California - The Eagles; Wings Over America - Wings; A Day At The Races - Queen; Brass Construction II - Brass Construction

On the 6th, shooting resumes on Mae West's last movie Sextette at Paramount Studios in Hollywood running through March 25, 1977. Sometime during the shoot, Keith Moon comes on board, playing a small role as a gay dress designer.

On the 10th, Keith's marriage to Annette is officially postponed five days before the scheduled wedding.

Melody Maker 11-12-76 Melody Maker 11-12-76

On the 11th, Roger defends punk rock in Melody Maker, saying it feels good that young musicians are making their mark.

The British punk rock band Eddie & The Hot Rods release the LP Teenage Depression with a live cover of "The Kids Are Alright".

On the 17th, Pete receives a telex from Keith's lawyer expressing concerns that, since the other member of the band have elected to remain in high-tax Britain, the group's tax affairs are arranged to suit them.

December 1971 (45 years ago)

New album releases: Hot Rocks (1964-1971) - The Rolling Stones; America - America; The Concert for Bangladesh - Various Artists; Music - Carole King
The Who Houston 1971 The Who Houston 1971

The Who's Who's Next North American tour continues on the 1st at Sam Houston Coliseum in Houston. On the 2nd they play the Memorial Auditorium in Dallas.

Who poster Denver 1971 Who poster Denver 1971

On the 4th and 5th, The Who are at the Coliseum in Denver. John Swenson interviews all four members at length for the magazine Crawdaddy.

Also on the 4th, The Who compilation LP Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy hits its U.S. chart peak at #11 in Billboard.

On the 7th, they play the Veteran's Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix and on the 8th and 9th they are at the Forum in Los Angeles. For these two shows The Who insist that the first ten rows are for the general public only.

The Who The Battle for the Gold The Who The Battle for the Gold

After the show on the 9th, The Who attend a party at the Top of the Strip at the Continental Hyatt House on Sunset Strip where they receive gold and platinum discs for Who's Next and Live At Leeds. Mick and Bianca Jagger, John and Catherine Sebastian and 'Mama' Cass Elliot are also present. Pete tries to grab all the discs and the rest of The Who jump on him starting a melee.

While The Who are in Los Angeles, Pete and Keith have a jam session with Billy Preston and Charlie Starr.

On the 10th is a show at the Long Beach Arena. At one point Pete reminds the audience, "this is a fuckin' rock 'n' roll concert, not a fuckin' tea party!" His rant becomes the opening for the 30 Years Of Maximum R&B boxset. The entire show is also bootlegged as Closer to Queen Mary. On the same day The Los Angeles Free Press begins the first part of a huge four-part interview with Pete.

Melody Maker 11-12-71 Melody Maker 11-12-71

On the 11th, a Chris Charlesworth interview with Nicky Hopkins appears in Melody Maker. The great British keyboard session man says that Pete had recently offered him a permanent place in The Who's lineup.

Also on the 11th, "Let's See Action" enters the Dutch chart where it will peak at #28 and John's solo album Smash Your Head Against the Wall reaches its U.S. chart peak at #143 in Billboard.

The Who San Francisco 1971 The Who San Francisco 1971
Photo: Jim Marshall

On the 12th and 13th, The Who head up the coast to San Francisco's Civic Auditorium. On the first night Keith overdoses on pills and begins to pass out halfway through the show. His minder Dougal Butler and a free-clinic doctor have to sneak up behind Keith while he is playing and inject cortisone shots into his legs to keep him upright. Both nights are recorded and parts later officially released: "Baby Don't You Do It" on the b-side of "Join Together", and selections on Who's Missing, Two's Missing, 30 Years of Maximum R&B, View from a Backstage Pass and The Who's Greatest Hits Live.

The Who Seattle ticket 1971

The last show of the tour is at the Seattle Center Coliseum. On the way one of the equipment truck crashes and fails to make it to the show. The Who are forced to borrow equipment from the opening act.

The next day The Who return to London except for Keith who flies to New York.

Nik Cohn Nik Cohn

Nik Cohn recounts his recent adventures touring with The Who in this month's Creem magazine. He accompanied the band, ostensibly to adapt the script of "Guitar Farm" for The Who but he is actually writing a script called "Rock Is Dead (Rock Lives)" where a young Who fan embodies the four members of The Who within himself. Pete, meanwhile, is envisioning a sort-of super-A Quick One with each member writing or curating one side of a double album.

Woman Child Marsha Hunt Woman Child Marsha Hunt

On the 17th, Marsha Hunt's album Woman Child is released in the U.K. on Track Records. It features Pete on guitar and backing vocals on the songs "Long Black Veil" and "Wild Thing."

On the 18th, "Behind Blue Eyes" hits its U.S. chart peak at #34 in the Billboard charts. The same issue reports "Let's See Action" is #6 in France.

Keith Moon in dress 1971 Keith Moon in dress 1971

On the 28th, Keith is the emcee at Sha Na Na's Carnegie Hall concert wearing a dress and performing Frank Zappa's "Caravan With A Drum Solo."

Who's Next is voted album of the year in The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop critic's list.

December 1966 (50 years ago)

New records: "I'm A Believer"/"(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" - The Monkees; "Kind of a Drag" - The Buckinghams; "Snoopy vs. The Red Baron" - The Royal Guardsmen; "(We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet" - The Blues Magoos

On the 1st, "I'm a Boy" reaches its peak on the German single charts at #10.

On the 3rd, The Who play their first gig of the month, an all-nighter at the Midnight City in Birmingham.

On the 8th, John attends the premiere of the Cliff Richard movie Finders, Keepers.

Happy Jack German picture sleeve Happy Jack German picture sleeve

On the 9th the single "Happy Jack" backed with "I've Been Away" is released in the U.K. For promotional ads, The Who hire illustrator Ralph Steadman who draws The Who as intertwined snakes. In Disc & Music Echo, Penny Valentine says "Happy Jack" proves Pete is "definitely one of Britain's finest writers, with so much charm in his work he's a sort of modern day Hans Christian Andersen."

A Quick One A Quick One

Also on the 9th, The Who's second album A Quick One has its British release. Chris Welch reviews it for Melody Maker and declares that, although he found the first album a "disappointment," the second disc "captures The Who's essence, humour, cynicism, nervous drive, violence and delicacy." Most reviews comment on the novelty of the multi-song mini-opera. "It's all very well bandying about words like freak-out and psychedelic, but when it comes to actually doing something different – well!" says Music Maker magazine. The album ultimately peaks at #4.

That night, The Who perform at the Assembly Rooms in Dumfries, Scotland and the next night two shows at the Empire Theatre in Durham.

I'm a Boy US ad I'm a Boy US ad

On the 10th, Billboard runs a full-page ad for The Who's new single in the U.S., "I'm A Boy" backed with "In the City". Despite being their biggest U.K. hit and Who co-manager Chris Stamp flying to New York to coordinate promotion, "I'm A Boy" fails to appear on any of the U.S. singles charts.

young Bobby Pridden

On the 15th, The Who perform at the Locarno Ballroom in Streatham, South London. Making his first appearance behind the sound board is new hire Bobby Pridden. Bobby will give his name to the hero of Pete's Lifehouse, appear on the back cover of Odds and Sods and remain The Who's live soundman until his retirement in 2016.

Around the time The Eyes release their EP These Are The Eyes featuring several songs that copy The Who's sound and top it all with a parody of "My Generation" called "My Degeneration."

Also this month, the Yugoslavian rock group Zlotni Akordi release their EP Moja Generacija. The title track is a phonetical English performance of "My Generation."

And back in the U.K., The Liverpool Five release their album Out of Sight, also featuring a cover of "My Generation".

The Who on last Ready Steady GO The Who on last Ready Steady GO
Photo: Chris Morphet

On the 16th, The Who go into Ryemuse Sound Studios to record backing tracks for "Please Don't Touch" and "I'm a Boy" for use on the last episode of Ready, Steady GO! called appropriately Ready Steady GOES!. The vocal and mimed performance is videotaped at Studio One in Wembley on the 20th. The show, broadcast in London on the 23rd, is the last for the revolutionary pop music showcase.

Top EP chart 1966 Top EP chart 1966

On the 17th, the EP Ready Steady Who hits its peak at #1 in the British Top EP chart, one of The Who's only two official #1's in the U.K.

Robbers Pete Townshend and Keith Moon Robbers Pete Townshend and Keith Moon
Photo: Chris Morphet

On the 19th, The Who assemble in costume as burglars at their managers' office in Caroline House in London for the shooting of the "Happy Jack" promotional video. The Monkees-style short is directed by Ready Steady GO! director Michael Lindsay-Hogg and premieres three nights later on BBC-1 TV.

The Who 21-12-66 ad The Who 21-12-66 ad

On the 21st, The Who open boxer Billy Walker's new club The Upper Cut at Forest Gate Centre in London in front of a mostly celebrity audience. Their set is "Barbara Ann," "See My Way," "Substitute," "I'm A Boy," "Whiskey Man," "Happy Jack" and "My Generation."

Afterwards, Pete and Eric Clapton go out on the town together for the first time and check out the Blaises Club to hear Jimi Hendrix perform. They meet Jeff Beck coming out after Hendrix's first set shaking his head. "Is he that bad?" Pete and Eric ask. "No," says Beck, "he's that good." Pete and Eric go in and are completely blown away by Hendrix's guitar prowess. Both Eric and Pete later say they thought that night, "the game is over for us."

Pete Townshend home studio article Pete Townshend home studio article

On the 24th, New Musical Express runs the article "Who's for a merry Xmas?" with silly Christmas comments from Pete, John and Keith. Music Maker magazine out this month has a photo and description of Pete's home recording equipment.

Also on the 24th, Billboard reports that "I'm A Boy" has hit #6 in the New Zealand charts.

On Christmas Day, "Happy Jack" reaches #1 on Radio London's Fab 40.

On the afternoon of the 29th, The Who stop by Studio 2 at the BBC's Television Centre to mime to "Happy Jack" for that night's Top of the Pops.

On the 30th, The Who stop by the Cheam Baths Hall for a performance.

Psychodelphia ad Psychodelphia ad

On New Year's Eve, The Who headline a "Giant Freak-Out All-Night Rave" at The Roundhouse in London. It's a showcase of the new "psychedelic" sound and is promoted under the name "Psychodelphia." Pete drops acid before walking with his wife Karen to the Roundhouse. By the time The Who get on stage around 3am, Pete's trip is nearly over. Behind the acts are psychedelic patterns from a liquid crystal light projector created by Gustav Metzger whose auto-destructive art inspired The Who's instrument smashing. The Move also play but the truest proponents of the new style are an act then making a name at the UFO club, The Pink Floyd. The Who's set doesn't go well. The power goes out several times and when it is on, the strobe lights from the projector put The Who off-beat.

Also on the 31st, Keith is interviewed in New Musical Express providing them with his best financial advice: "Good. I think you need a certain amount, to buy your basic needs. And the rest, spend it like dust!"

December 1961 (55 years ago)

New records: "Hey! Baby" - Bruce Channel; "Dear Lady Twist" - Gary U.S. Bonds; "Norman" - Sue Thompson; "Tuff" - Ace Cannon

Keith gets his first kit, a used Premier drum set, on the HP.

December 1956 (60 years ago)

New records: "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)" - Harry Belafonte; "Don't Forbid Me" - Pat Boone; "Young Love" - Sonny James; "Come Go With Me" - The Del-Vikings
Paul Townshend Paul Townshend

On the 6th, Pete's first brother Paul is born.

On Christmas Day, Pete's Grandmother Denny gives him his first guitar. Pete later describes it as the sort of cheap guitar one would see decorating the wall of an Italian restaurant.

December 1941 (75 years ago)

New records: "Blues in the Night" - Woody Herman & His Orchestra; "A String of Pearls" - Glenn Miller & His Orchestra; "The Shrine of St. Cecelia" - The Andrews Sisters, "Shepherd Serenade" - Bing Crosby

John's parents, Herbert and Queenie Entwistle, begin their war-time marriage.

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