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

January 1962 (60 years ago)

New music releases: So Much in Love - The Ray Conniff Singers; Shirley Bassey - Shirley Bassey; "The Young Ones" - Cliff Richard and The Shadows; "Twistin' the Night Away" - Sam Cooke

On the 15th, Roger Daltrey submits an application for The Detours to audition for the BBC Light Entertainment. The band members are listed as "Solo guitar - Roger Daltrey, Bass guitar - John Empwhistle, Rhythm guitar - Peter James, Rhythm guitar - Roy Ellis, Drums - Harry Wilson, Vocalist - Colin Dawson."

Pete Townshend later notes this month as the one where he successfully auditions for The Detours.

January 1963 (59 years ago)

New records: "Please Please Me" - The Beatles; "One Broken Heart for Sale" - Elvis Presley; Songs I Sing on The Jackie Gleason Show - Frank Fontaine; (Moving) - Peter, Paul & Mary

Sometime late in the month Roger kicks lead singer Colin Dawson out of the Detours. His replacement is Gabriel "Gabby" Connolly, a singer specializing in country-and-western!

January 1964 (58 years ago)

New music releases: Meet The Beatles! - The Beatles; Introducing... The Beatles - The Beatles; The Wonderful World of Andy Williams - Andy Williams; The Times They Are A-Changin' - Bob Dylan
Rolling Stones flyer Jan 3 1964 Rolling Stones flyer Jan 3 1964

On the 3rd, The Detours again get to open for The Rolling Stones at the Glenlyn Ballroom in Forest Hill. Pete, who has incorporated an arm-swinging move he saw Keith Richards perform as his own signature guitar move, apologizes for the appropriation to Richards. Richards says he doesn't know what Pete is talking about as it turns out he was merely limbering up before the show.

On the 19th, Pete fills out an official audition form for The Detours to appear on the BBC Light Programme. Entwistle is listed as "Bass - J. Johns." Nothing comes of the request.

January 1965 (57 years ago)

New music releases: A Love Supreme - John Coltrane; "King of the Road" - Roger Miller; "This Diamond Ring" - Gary Lewis and The Playboys; The Return of Roger Miller - Roger Miller

On the 2nd, Cash Box reports from Great Britain that "The Who have their first disk issue in America before it hits the countries here" confirming that "I Can't Explain" is first released in the U.S.

65-01-05 review 65-01-05 review

On the 9th, Melody Maker features their first review of a Who gig. 16 year-old fan Nick Jones raves about the "weird and effective techniques of guitarist Paul Townshend" and declares The Who "must surely be one of the trendsetting groups of 1965."

65-01 Who Marquee Handbill

On the 12th, it's back to the Marquee Club with The Boys again opening. The tally shows over £57 is raised at the door but Roger and Keith net only £2 for the night and Pete and John only £1!

I Can't Explain UK ad I Can't Explain UK ad

On the 15th, The Who finally get their first record in the U.K. shops as "I Can't Explain" is released on U.S. Decca's U.K. subsidiary Brunswick Records. Derek Johnson reviews it for New Musical Express: "...It's insidious and insistent, with an arresting backing - a blend of Mersey beat and surfing! Keep your eyes on this one..." and Record Mirror declares: "One of the most stylish British groups, pungently presented on a fastish beater with some first-rate vocal ideas. They have a good 'feel' for a song, with a good beat. Might do very well."

20 Jan 1965 BBC audition request 20 Jan 1965 BBC audition request

On the 20th, Pete again applies for The Who to audition for performances on BBC Light Entertainment. He lists John Entwistle under his then alias "John Brown" and describing The Who's music, calls it "Generally speaking R&B in a wide sense."

65-01-29 Ready Steady GO 65-01-29 Ready Steady GO
Photo: Cyrus Andrews

On the 29th, The Who begin pushing their fame beyond London, appearing for the first time on Ready, Steady GO! playing "I Can't Explain." To insure a good reception, Kit Lambert packs the audience with The Who's fan club, the 100 Faces and gives everyone Who football scarves to wear.

January 1966 (56 years ago)

New music releases: Sounds of Silence - Simon & Garfunkel; "The Ballad of the Green Berets" - SSgt. Barry Sadler; Just Like Us! - Paul Revere and the Raiders; Spanish Eyes - Al Martino
Record Mirror 1 Jan 1966 Record Mirror 1 Jan 1966

A busy New Year's Day for the boys. Record Mirror contains a letter calling a recent Who performance "the most appalling, sound-soaked, electronic drivel we have ever heard." That afternoon manager Chris Stamp shoots film of them performing onstage at an empty Marquee Club and that evening they play the Trade Union Hall in Watford.

Pete Townshend A Whole Scene Going Pete Townshend A Whole Scene Going
Photo: Dezo Hoffman

On the 5th, Pete Townshend is featured on an episode of the BBC1 television programme A Whole Scene Going. A short documentary narrated by Pete shows his flat and a Who performance at The Witch Doctor Club in St. Leonard's-on-sea from August 4th of the previous year. Pete speaks in a dismissive way about the other members of The Who.

That same tone is extended to the segment after the film where Pete is interviewed by young people in the audience. He talks about how ugly The Who members are, how they are "blocked up" all the time on pills and how he and John recently listened to the backing tracks of a Beatles album and consider them "flippin' lousy" at playing their instruments. Asked if he meant the line in "My Generation," "hope I die before I get old," he answers emphatically "yes!".

1966-01-05 - A Whole Scene Going - The Who from on Vimeo.

On the 12th, Chris Stamp flies to New York to try to interest NBC-TV's Hullabaloo in the film he shot of The Who on the 1st. They turn it down. He also meets with Sir Edward Lewis to obtain his help in breaking The Who's exclusive contract with Shel Talmy and Brunswick/U.S. Decca. Lewis refuses. Nevertheless, Stamp goes to Atlantic Records and makes a deal to release a Who single on their Atco subsidiary, then telephones co-manager Kit Lambert to tell him to break the Talmy contract and sign The Who to a new label.

The Who Shel Talmy studio The Who Shel Talmy studio
Photo: Colin Jones

Meanwhile, on the very same day, The Who go to IBC studios to record their next single, "Circles" and "Instant Party Mixture." It will be their last time working under the production of Shel Talmy. A last time is also a first time as John records his first horn part for The Who.

On the 14th, the New Musical Express has the article "What a way to talk about your own fans!" Pete describes The Who's fans as "stupid, screaming little girls, morons and idiots."

Rave Feb 1966 Rave Feb 1966

Rave magazine puts out its February issue with Roger on the cover. Inside is a lengthy interview conducted by BBC disc jockey Alan Freeman with Pete, Roger and John together. It is one of the best in-depth interviews with the group from this early period. Pete and John report that their hearing is already beginning to go, leading to a humorous bit: "It's beginning to affect our eardrums." "Eh?" said John Entwistle. "I said it's beginning to affect our eardrums," roared Pete. "I don't like rum," shouted John. "I'll have a Scotch and coke." "What Scotch bloke?" Pete also admits that the story of him accidently smashing his guitar on the low ceiling of the Railway Hotel was concocted. Inspired by a lecture from self-destructive artist Gustav Metzger, Pete suggested to the band that they try it onstage. "We tried it out with me slamming the guitar into the amps. Keith pounded his drums into smithereens and hurled them into the audience and the audience threw them back." "I couldn't think of anything to contribute," Roger said modestly. "So, I scratched the speaker column with my fingernail. It made the best row of all." "But it worked out," said Pete. "The last chords were struck, and we put down the guitars and we walked off. They were astounded, and a few laughed at first. Then they began to clap, and that was it."

On the 22nd is the Disc article, "Faces of Keith Moon - by the woman who knows him best...His MUM!" In a rare interview Kathleen Moon says, "Keith doesn't smoke, drinks only in moderation and doesn't bother much about girls." She doesn't mention Kim, the teenage girl Keith got pregnant who is now living in their house.

January 1967 (55 years ago)

New music releases: The Doors - The Doors; More of The Monkees - The Monkees; "Ruby Tuesday" - The Rolling Stones; Between the Buttons - The Rolling Stones
The Who ad 6 Jan 1967 The Who ad 6 Jan 1967

The Who's first show for the year is on the 6th at the Marine Ballroom in Morecambe, all except for Pete who doesn't make it. The Who's management claim it is another car accident on the M1. The truth is that Pete is on his third acid trip and sensing correctly that he is in no shape to drive, instead goes to the UFO Club to see The Pink Floyd. He takes Eric Clapton with him the next night specifically to check out Syd Barrett.

One more date in the U.K. for The Who follows at Festival Hall in Kirkby-in-Ashfield on the 13th before they fly off to Hamburg, Germany on the 15th to perform on the TV show Beat Club. They mime to "I'm a Boy," "Heat Wave" and "Happy Jack" and the first song is later released on the Who's Better Who's Best video.

1967-01-15 - Beat Club - The Who from on Vimeo.

Sometime during this month, Pete and The Who's manager Kit Lambert are invited to John Lennon's house to listen to and critique The Beatles' soon-to-be-released song "Strawberry Fields Forever". Whether or not Pete is critical to John Lennon's face, he shortly afterwards tells New Musical Express: "I believe pop music should be like the TV - something you can turn on or off and shouldn't disturb the mind. Eventually these people are going to go too far and leave the rest of the world behind. It's very hard to like 'Strawberry Fields Forever' for simply what it is. Some artists are becoming musically unapproachable." Much later he will change his mind and declare the song The Beatles' best.

Also on the 28th, more Who business news. Billboard reports Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp are setting up a public relations firm with Nancy Lewis. They will handle U.K. publicity for The Who, The Merseys and touring Motown acts. Meanwhile Disc and Music Echo gives the details of the absorbtion of Robert Stigwood's Organization by Beatle manager Brian Epstein's NEMS Enterprises. Stigwood will still manage tour dates for The Who, Cream and other acts as joint managing director.

The Who with Jimi Hendrix The Who with Jimi Hendrix
Photo: Chris Morphet

That night, The Who play at the Saville Theatre in London. The opening act is The Koobas followed by The Jimi Hendrix Experience. John Lennon and Paul McCartney watch from Brian Epstein's private box. In their first match up, reviewers say Hendrix's show tops The Who's. Part of this is because Hendrix ends his set by smashing his guitar and amplifiers, leaving The Who with no climax to their set. Pete walks out and says, "Well, we're not going to top that. You lot might as well go home now." The Who's set does have two surprises. John smashes toy robots walking across the stage, and the mini-opera "A Quick One While He's Away" has its live premiere.

January 1968 (54 years ago)

New music releases: "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" - Otis Redding; The Graduate - Simon & Garfunkel/Dave Grusin; "Love is Blue (L'amour est bleu)" - Paul Mauriat and His Orchestra; Lady Soul - Aretha Franklin

On the 4th, The Who head into CBS Studios, London to record Pete's new composition "Faith In Something Bigger." It is the first of Pete's songs inspired by his recent reading of The God-Man, a book about the Indian mystic Meher Baba. The song is intended for the next album but remains unreleased for almost seven years. On the 5th, comes a track that sees vinyl much sooner. John's "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," inspired by Keith's erratic personality, is recorded at IBC Studios, London. John later says this song and others he wrote during this period were for a Who children's album planned by manager Kit Lambert.

The music director at New York's WMCA bans The Who Sell Out calling it "disgusting." He decries the album cover as too offensive to be shown to children.

On the 6th, Pete is interviewed in Disc and Music Echo. He says he liked The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour TV special but blames them for leaving younger fans behind: "If you're 13 years old, it's a bit much when the chart is full of 'I Am The Walrus’ which nobody understands."

The Who at Sydney Airport The Who at Sydney Airport

On the 18th, The Who begin a 36-hour, five-stop flight from London to Sydney, Australia. Arriving horribly jet-lagged at Mascot Airport in Sydney, The Who are immediately herded into a press conference. With Australia's conservative press raising a stink about long-haired foreigners coming to take money out of Australia's depressed economy, reporters pepper the group with hostile questions. The silent, dazed Who can do little to defend themselves before they are shuttled off for another flight to Brisbane. Joining The Who for the tour are The Small Faces (with drummer Kenney Jones) and Paul Jones, ex-member of Manfred Mann and star of the new musical film Privilege.

The first show of the tour is at Festival Hall in Brisbane, Queensland. The performances go over well with the audience but are belittled in the next day's press ("The Who were guilty of playing down to the yokels").

On the 21st, The Who get a day off. Roger, Keith and John try water-skiing. Later Keith is given a rental car and, according to Australian tour manager Ron Blackmore, drives it into the lobby of the Park Royal Motel, hands the keys to the bellboy and tells him to park it.

Pete Townshend Sydney 23 Jan. Pete Townshend Sydney 23 Jan.
Photo: Laurie Smith

Sydney Stadium is the next stop on the 22nd and 23rd. The groups play on a revolving stage but the weight of the equipment breaks the mechanism and the view is obscured for two-thirds of the audience. The next night The Who and Small Faces are accused of using foul language on stage and the press demands a police investigation.

During this period Pete and Small Face Ronnie Lane hang out together and discuss mysticism and their mutual interest in the teachings of Meher Baba.

The Who Melbourne 24 Jan. The Who Melbourne 24 Jan.
Photo: Ted Holliday

On the 24th, the tour flies to Essendon Airport in Melbourne, Victoria. A press conference gathers in the VIP lounge. Reporters badger the two groups demanding to know what drugs they had smuggled into the country and what they were high on now. When one reporter gets in Pete's face, Pete punches him.

The audiences are more receptive when The Who play Festival Hall in Melbourne on the 24th and 25th and Pete gets something more from the visit than bad press. A groupie he meets there with a "spiritual presence" inspires him to write a new song called "She's A Sensation," which will make it to Tommy as just "Sensation." Keith isn't so lucky as he and Small Face Steve Marriott barely avoid a beating at the hands of local youths hanging around their hotel.

Pete Townshend escorted by air marshall Pete Townshend escorted by air marshall

On the 27th, The Who plays Centennial Hall in Adelaide, South Australia, the last date of the tour on the continent. However, they are not to escape Australia so easily. A 7am flight to Melbourne (after a night of partying) turns nasty when an air hostess, serving drinks to passengers, refuses to serve the groups. When they demand to know why, she reports them to the pilot and by the time they reach Melbourne, there are two lines of police to escort the group off to a VIP lounge. The pilot of their connecting flight to Sydney refuses to take them onboard and the tour ends up on a chartered plane accompanied by two Department of Civil Aviation officers who keep an eye on them all the way to Sydney. From there they fly to Auckland, New Zealand arriving sixteen hours after they left Adelaide.

Rowdy pop singers ordered from aircraft Rowdy pop singers ordered from aircraft

The next day's Australian press has a field day shouting good riddance to long-haired English rubbish. According to Steve Marriott, as soon as they disembark, Pete grabs a news photographer's camera and smashes it to the ground. Pete quickly announces that he will never set foot in Australia again, a promise he keeps for the next thirty-six years.

At the same time, news breaks in England that Roger's wife Jacqueline is suing him for divorce. Until that time, the public did not know Roger had been married for the last five years or had a four-year old son.

68-01-30 Steve Marriott 68-01-30 Steve Marriott

On the 30th, they fly to Wellington with one day off before their next show. Steve Marriott celebrates his 21st birthday with a party and, when a record player he is given by EMI begins to malfunction, out the hotel window it goes. Soon, with more than a little help from Keith and Who roadie "Wiggy" Wolff, the entire contents of the hotel room are flying out the window to smash in the street below. For now, they all escape by telling the arriving police that someone must have broken in and wrecked the room.

The Who at Town Hall, Wellington The Who at Town Hall, Wellington

The last show of the tour is at the Town Hall in Wellington on the 31st. After the show, Marriott receives a new, high-powered stereo to replace the one "vandals" had destroyed the day before. By 3am he has it cranked up full blast. Keith drops by to admire the work the hotel has done rebuilding the room, grabs an ashtray and sends it flying through the French windows. Once again, Steve, Keith and Wiggy start shoving the TV set through the window and smashing everything in the room. This time the hotel manager catches them in the act. The three miscreants have to pay 781 New Zealand dollars then and there or go to court. Wiggy responds by picking up an antique chair, throwing it through the window, and announcing "Fuck it, let's make it a grand!"

Across the Pacific, Rolling Stone magazine votes The Who the Best Band Of 1967.

January 1969 (53 years ago)

New music releases: Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin; "Proud Mary" - Creedence Clearwater Revival; Bayou Country - Creedence Clearwater Revival; Yellow Submarine - The Beatles/George Martin
Thunderclap Newman Thunderclap Newman
Photo: Harry Goodwin

Pete helps form the group Thunderclap Newman around Andy Newman, a piano player Pete had idolized in art school, his former chauffeur and roommate John 'Speedy' Keen, and 15-year old Jimmy McCullouch.

Meher Baba Meher Baba

It was Pete's intention to finish the Who's rock opera, then make a pilgrimage to India to finally meet his avatar, Meher Baba. He misses his chance on the 31st as Meher Baba passes on, or "drops his body" in his followers' words.

January 1970 (52 years ago)

New music releases: Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon & Garfunkel; Moondance - Van Morrison; Barbra Streisand's Greatest Hits - Barbra Streisand; "Bridge Over Troubled Water" - Simon & Garfunkel
Pop star runs over his driver Pop star runs over his driver

On the 4th, Keith travels to Hatfield to preside over the opening of a disco at the Cranbourne Rooms adjoining the Red Lion pub. Accompanying him is his wife Kim, his friend and drummer for the Bonzo band "Legs" Larry Smith and Smith's girlfriend, all driven by Keith's chauffeur Neil Boland. A group of skinheads also show up at the disco. After Keith and his friends leave and get in Keith's Bentley, the skinheads attack the car, surrounding it and throwing pennies and stones. Boland gets out, trying to clear a path and is quickly set upon by the crowd. Keith, in a panic, scoots under the wheel to try to get them out of danger and stomps on the gas propelling the car forward while Smith tries to steer from the backseat since Keith cannot drive. The car travels 100 yards down the road to another social club where they stop to get help. When Keith gets out, a van driver tells him someone is under the car. Keith looks. It is Boland, pinned under the car, his head crushed. The next morning is a field day for the tabloid press as they spread the story of the rich, drunken rock star who ran over his chauffeur.

On the 9th, the first inquest into the death of Neil Boland is held, but is immediately adjourned, postponed until February 20th. Keith knows it is not his fault but takes it to heart anyway, brooding on his role in Boland's death for years after.

The Who in Paris 1970 The Who in Paris 1970
Photo: Alain Bertrand

Having begun the "opera house" tour at the London Coliseum in December, The Who take their new opera to the Theatre des Champs Elysses in Paris on the 16th and 17th, the first rock act allowed to perform in this home for French opera. The second night is broadcast live on Europe 1 as part of a Musicorama special.

The Who recording The Seeker The Who recording The Seeker
Photo: Chris Morphet

Before the next leg of the tour, The Who jet back to IBC Studios in London on the 19th to record their first post-Tommy record "The Seeker." Pete plays guitar, piano and produces as Kit Lambert is unavailable due to recent dental surgery. Damon Lyon-Shaw engineers the session.

On the 24th, The Who play Tommy at Der Kunglige Teater in Copenhagen. Due to the bitter cold in Copenhagen on this date, Pete introduces the opera as "Tommy on Ice!" Leading members of the Danish government take the first two rows for themselves but walkout halfway through. Despite the highbrow attention, The Who find no room at the inn as their reservations at the Copenhagen Inn are turned down due to a hotel policy against "long-haired pop groups."

On the 26th, The Who perform at the Stadt Opera House in Cologne, West Germany. German President Heinemann and Chancellor Willie Brandt attend the show. The German government also declares The Who a cultural attraction meaning that their receipts will not be subject to taxation. The Who donate their $2500 salary to the Save the Children Fund. The Who play there again the next night, and then travel to the Deutschland Stadt Opera House in Berlin on the 28th.

The Who Concertgebouw 1970 The Who Concertgebouw 1970
Photo: Laurens van Houten

On the 30th, The Who return for another Tommy performance at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Backstage, Pete writes the song "I Don't Even Know Myself", an attack on rock writers analyzing his personality through his songs.

January 1971 (51 years ago)

New music releases: Pearl - Janis Joplin; "Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)" - The Temptations; Chicago III - Chicago; Greatest Hits - Kenny Rogers & The First Edition
Young Vic older Young Vic older

On the 4th, The Who try out Pete's idea for the Lifehouse project by holding an unadvertised concert at the Young Vic Theatre in London. Passers-by are invited in. Even the local police come in and enjoy the show.

Pete Townshend Record Mirror 23 Jan 1971 Pete Townshend Record Mirror 23 Jan 1971

On the 13th, Pete holds a press conference at the Young Vic theatre to announce the Lifehouse project, his long-awaited follow-up to Tommy. "We shall not be giving the usual kind of Who rock show. The audience will be completely involved in the music, which is designed to reflect people's personalities. We shall try to induce mental and spiritual harmony through the medium of rock music...I'll act as a computer and everything will be fed into me and processed, then put back out again. The effect is something that will come from everyone and the aim is that each person will get a better understanding of themselves. It will be the best music we've ever produced."

On the 23rd, Pete again tries to explain what the Lifehouse project entails to Penny Valentine in Melody Maker: "We are intending to produce a fiction or a play or an opera, and create a completely different kind of performance in rock. We are writing a story and we aim to perform it on the first day we start work in this theatre. Tied in with the whole idea is the use of quadraphonic sound and pre-recorded tapes. About 400 people will be involved with us and we aim to play them music which represents them."

On the 24th, Pete and Keith are drinking at the Speakeasy when Frank Zappa asks them if they want to be in his new video movie 200 Motels, then shooting at Pinewood Studios in London. Pete begs off, being too busy with Lifehouse, but Keith takes up his offer.

January 1972 (50 years ago)

New music releases: Paul Simon - Paul Simon; Jackson Browne - Jackson Browne; "Heart of Gold" - Neil Young; "Down by the Lazy River" - The Osmonds

Rolling Stone names The Who band of the year and awards Who's Next album of the year.


At the end of the month, the Universal Spiritual League releases the Meher Baba-dedicated album I Am. It is produced by Pete and contains a 9:50 edit of the instrumental "Baba O'Riley" as well as his musical version of Baba's prayer "O Parvardigar," that becomes the main hymn for Baba followers. In addition Pete plays synthesizer on "Dragon," guitar and drums on "Affirmation" and synthesized flute on Billy Nicholls' "This Song Is Green."

The Who, meanwhile, are off group duty until May, their first long break since they started their road to international success over seven years before. Pete takes off for his first trip to India on the 29th, a bit hungover after celebrating his father's 56th birthday the night before.

January 1973 (49 years ago)

New records: Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player - Elton John; Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ - Bruce Springsteen; Aerosmith - Aerosmith; "Daniel" - Elton John
Who Russell Harty Staged Photo Who Russell Harty Staged Photo

On the 3rd, The Who tape an appearance on Russell Harty Plus at London Weekend Television Studios. After The Who mime (with live vocals) their way through their new single "Relay," Pete "accidentally" tips over his speaker stack and the fun begins as Keith and Pete, with some help from Roger and John, quickly take over the interview. Host Harty later says he learned that "if your body should become a battleground, it is better to lie back and enjoy it." Clips from this show help enliven the movie The Kids Are Alright while "Relay" later appears on the Who's Better Who's Best laserdisc and VCD.

1973-01-03 - Russell Harty Plus - Relay from on Vimeo.

Eric Clapton at Rainbow Concert Eric Clapton at Rainbow Concert
Photo: Barrie Wentzel

On the 13th, Pete drags Eric Clapton back into the limelight with two shows at The Rainbow Theatre in London. Pete had discovered Clapton's heroin addiction the previous August and devises a scheme with Clapton's girlfriend's father, Lord Harlech, to force Clapton to work so he can escape his narcotic-induced seclusion. The concerts are staged as part of the celebration of Britain joining the Common Market. Eric and Pete are joined on stage by Ron Wood, Steve Winwood, Jim Karstein, Jim Capaldi and Rick Grech. Clapton is late but manages to make it through both shows that are recorded by Glyn Johns and later released on the album Eric Clapton's Rainbow Concert.

Roger, having recorded an album for Leo Sayer at the studio he has built on his estate, begins recording his first solo album there. Sayer writes the songs for the album with his partner Dave Courtney.

Made in Japan UK 45 label Made in Japan UK 45 label

On the 26th, John and his new solo band Rigor Mortis release the single "Made In Japan" backed with "Hound Dog" in the U.K. The launch party is held in a Japanese steak house in Soho. The single fails to chart.

On the 29th, The Who tape their appearance on BBC-2's TV programme The Old Grey Whistle Test. The show opens with a mimed version of "Relay" with live vocals that runs noticeably longer than the released single. Later they play the as yet unreleased "Long Live Rock." Pete and Roger trade vocals and a high kick from Pete lands him on his back. The audio from the show is released in 2000 on the CD BBC Sessions and "Relay" appears on the DVD The Old Grey Whistle Test, Vol. 2.

January 1974 (48 years ago)

New music releases: Elvis: A Legendary Performer, Vol. 1 - Elvis Presley; Court and Spark - Joni Mitchell; The Way We Were - Barbra Streisand; Sundown - Gordon Lightfoot

On the 10th, Pete, John and Keith record backing tracks for "I'm Free" and "Pinball Wizard" for Tommy: The Movie. Pete rejects them because "they came out sounding like a cliché."

On the 12th, Kenney Jones is brought in as a replacement for an unavailable Keith Moon in a warm-up jam in preparation for the Tommy soundtrack. Pete and John both find themselves delighted to play with a less erratic, more steady drummer.

John and his solo band Rigor Mortis, now having changed their name to John Entwistle's Ox, begin work on his fourth solo album, Mad Dog.

January 1976 (46 years ago)

New music releases: Chronicle, Vol. 1 - Creedence Clearwater Revival; Frampton Comes Alive! - Peter Frampton; Desire - Bob Dylan; Wanted! The Outlaws - Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Jessi Colter, and Tompall Glaser

At the beginning of 1976, Keith Moon attempts to go cold turkey on all the booze. The result is that on the 6th, he is admitted unconscious to St. Stephen's Hospital in Earl's Court having gone into seizures. He will suffer from alcoholism-induced seizures for the rest of his life.

Squeeze Box German picture sleeve Squeeze Box German picture sleeve

On the 9th, "Squeeze Box" backed with "Success Story" is finally released as a single in Europe. It will peak at #10 in the British charts.

Keith Moon NME 17 Jan 1976 Keith Moon NME 17 Jan 1976

On the 17th, Roy Carr has a recent interview with Keith called "The Chancellor and the Drummer Boy" in New Musical Express. In it Keith defends his current tax exile status: "They're driving out all those people who make the money - whether it's on a long or short-term basis. How on earth can a professional man afford to work and live in Britain? He can't. He's penalised because of his talent and because of his business acumen and individual enterprise." Keith also details how he is shopping around a re-write of the movie Soldiers Three to star him, Ringo Starr and Harry Nilsson. He also denounces his roles as a horny nun in 200 Motels and a child-sex pervert in Tommy as "typecasting."

On the 31st, Pete visits Meher Baba's tomb again and performs "Pinball Wizard" and "Drowned" for Baba lovers. The intimate concert is filmed and later appears in the Australian Baba documentary The God Man.

January 1977 (45 years ago)

New music releases: Animals - Pink Floyd; Ask Rufus - Rufus featuring Chaka Khan; Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes - Jimmy Buffet; Carolina Dreams - The Marshall Tucker Band

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 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 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."

January 1978 (44 years ago)

New records: Ten Years of Gold - Kenny Rogers; "Dust in the Wind" - Kansas; Infinity - Journey; Double Live Gonzo! - Ted Nugent

On the 5th, the film crew for The Kids Are Alright travel to Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire for two days shooting at John Entwistle's manor house. The shooting turns out to be literal as John blasts some gold record awards (supposedly for Roger's solo albums although John later told Alan McKendree they were unclaimed Connie Francis album awards) with a double-barreled shotgun and a machine gun. Much more material is put in the camera over the two days, but little makes it into the finished film.

Monty Python in Barbados Monty Python in Barbados

On the 7th, Keith Moon is reported to be a member of the cast of Graham Chapman's film The Odd Job. Keith has flown out to Barbados to entertain Chapman and his fellow members of Monty Python's Flying Circus as they write the script for their new movie Life of Brian. Keith is written into the script as a "fire-and-brimstone preacher." Commitments to the recording of the Who Are You album will keep him from either movie.

Roger, however, does make it to the movies, taking a small role in his first fiction film not directed by Ken Russell, The Legacy, which begins shooting on the 16th.

January 1979 (43 years ago)

New music releases: "Don't Stop Me Now" - Queen; "Heart of Glass" - Blondie; We Are Family - Sister Sledge; Armed Forces - Elvis Costello & The Attractions
A New Face appears with The Who A New Face appears with The Who

Early in the month, The Who, now with Kenney Jones on drums and John "Rabbit" Bundrick on keyboards, go into the studio to record new material for the Quadrophenia Soundtrack. Ultimately released are "Get Out And Stay Out" and Pete's 1968 song "Joker James." "Four Faces," a track recorded in 1973 and left unfinished, is completed with Pete, Roger and John layering new material over a previously recorded Keith Moon drum track. One of the more controversial plans made by producer John Entwistle is an attempt to record a "disco" version of "The Real Me." Over three attempts the new Who prove to be congenitally incapable of maximizing this form of R&B and John abandons the idea. One of the takes is later released on the 1994 30 Years Of Maximum R&B box set. Ultimately, John uses the 1973 version of "The Real Me" with a new ending recorded by The Who with Kenney.

An announcement is made to the press that Kenney is Keith's official replacement.

On the 27th, in Melody Maker, Pete says he is optimistic about The Who's future and their upcoming film projects and says Kenney was the only possible replacement for Keith.

January 1980 (42 years ago)

New music releases: Permanent Waves - Rush; "And the Beat Goes On" - The Whispers; "Together We Are Beautiful" - Fern Kinney; "Sexy Eyes" - Dr. Hook
Pete Townshend meets The Clash Pete Townshend meets The Clash
Kate Simon

On the 8th, Pete attends a Clash concert at Brighton Top Rank. From a book by their road manager Johnny Green, A Riot of Their Own: Day and Night with the Clash: "In the Brighton Top Rank, the dinner-suited manager came to find me. 'There's someone at the door who's not on the guest list.' Pete Townshend was in a bright red jacket, steadying himself on the arms of two women. He came and gave a nod backstage: 'Jam up with you boys later?' 'Yeah, all right.' The band were toweling down before the encore. Townshend went back on stage with them. He came on, fists pumping the air, and I plugged his guitar in. No sound came out. I'd given him one of Mick's old guitars with a duff lead. I wandered off to replace it. I didn't hurry. He wasn't the Clash." After he gets a working guitar, he joins them for "Garageland", "Armagideon Time", "English Civil War" and "Louie Louie."

On the 16th, Variety reports The Who have left their U.S. record label MCA and signed to Warner Brothers Records for $12 million dollars.

Rolling Stone on Cincinnati Rolling Stone on Cincinnati

Chet Flippo writes a lengthy report on December's Cincinnati tragedy for Rolling Stone. He reveals that various citizens and city officials had warned that something like this was going to happen at Riverfront Coliseum as early as three years before. In another article, promoter Larry Magid calls the tragedy a "symptom of society" that could happen again.

January 1981 (41 years ago)

New music releases: "In The Air Tonight" - Phil Collins; Paradise Theatre - Styx; Captured - Journey; "Stars on 45" - Stars on 45
The Who Leicester Jan 1981 The Who Leicester Jan 1981

On the 25th, The Who open their Face Dances tour at Leicester Granby Hall. This year's set features little of The Who's 60s repertoire with new additions "The Quiet One," "Don't Let Go The Coat," "You Better You Bet," "Another Tricky Day," and "Twist and Shout." Another major difference is inspired by John's girlfriend Maxene who convinces him to go on stage with his natural dark-blond hair undyed.

January 1982 (40 years ago)

New music releases: Friends - Shalamar; "A Town Called Malice" - The Jam; "Juke Box Hero" - Foreigner; "A Country Boy Can Survive" - Hank Williams, Jr.

Pete flies to Dr. Meg Patterson's neuroelectric therapy clinic at Corona del Mar, California to end his addictive use of alcohol, heroin, Ativan and crack cocaine. While there he writes more songs for his upcoming solo album and short stories that will ultimately end up in the Horse's Neck book. As for The Who, Pete contacts Roger back in London and says that as soon as he's clean and sober, he'd like to record another Who album and follow it with one final major tour.

January 1983 (39 years ago)

New records: Pyromania - Def Leppard; "Billie Jean" - Michael Jackson; "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" - Eurythmics; Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) - Eurythmics

Rolling Stone reports that The Who's 1982 tour was the year's most financially successful, garnering $23 million in 39 shows.

Pete is, in his own words, "desperately attempting to come up with a concept for the projected Who album that year." The idea he eventually devises is called "Siege" and revolves around the idea "that each of us is a soul under siege... I had been inspired by the idea of a soul besieged in a magnificent castle, surrounded by the litter of the ages, the detritus of faded wealth." Having recently picked up painting for the first time since art college, Pete also intends to illustrate the album himself. He demos "Prelude, The Right To Write" and completes the track "Cat Snatch" at Eel Pie Studios, London. Both later appear on Another Scoop. Also recorded is "All Lovers Are Deranged," later released on Scoop 3.

January 1984 (38 years ago)

New music releases: 1984 - Van Halen; Footloose - Original Soundtrack; "Thriller" - Michael Jackson; Roll On - Alabama

Rolling Stone carries the news of last month's announcement by Pete that he was ending The Who under the headline: "Townshend to Who: drop dead."

Pete: "Through the philanthropist David Astor, I met Donald Woods, who had written a book about Steven Biko, one of the founders of the ANC in South Africa. Woods was indirectly fundraising to release Nelson Mandela from prison, and I told him I would do whatever I could to help." It is the beginning of an interest in the anti-apartheid movement that will be reflected in his album White City and song "After The Fire".

January 1986 (36 years ago)

New record releases: Greatest Hits - Alabama; Different Light - The Bangles; Les Misérables - Original London Cast; Tuff Enuff - The Fabulous Thunderbirds

On the 16th, Faber & Faber employee Pete has lunch with the firm's managing director Matthew Evans and proposes the idea of turning Ted Hughes' children's fable The Iron Man into a musical. After the publishing house's success turning another Faber property, T.S. Eliot's Old Possom's Book of Practical Cats into the musical Cats, Evans jumps at the idea and writes the next day to Hughes.

January 1989 (33 years ago)

New music releases: Skid Row - Skid Row; The Raw and The Cooked - Fine Young Cannibals; Electric Youth - Debbie Gibson; Lōc-ed After Dark - Tone-Lōc
Pete Townshend Rock n Roll HOF 1989 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.

January 1990 (32 years ago)

New music releases: The Best of Van Morrison - Van Morrison; The Very Best of Cat Stevens - Cat Stevens; "Nothing Compares 2 U" - Sinéad O'Connor; Stick It To Ya - Slaughter
The Who at the 1990 Rock n Roll Awards The Who at the 1990 Rock n Roll Awards

On the 17th, The Who are at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York as they are inducted into the Rock 'N' Roll Hall Of Fame by the members of U2. Mandy Moon is also on the stage during the award ceremony representing her father. She points out to the crowd that daddy Keith Moon couldn't be there that night partly because he had been banned from the Waldorf-Astoria. Pete, speaking about rap music, states, "it's not up to us to try to understand it, it's not even up to us to buy it, we just have to get the fuck out of the way." Afterwards they perform "Substitute," "Won't Get Fooled Again" and "Pinball Wizard" with Pete on acoustic guitar.

January 1994 (28 years ago)

New music releases: Kickin' It Up - John Michael Montgomery; Jar of Flies - Alice in Chains; Under the Pink - Tori Amos; Blackhawk - Blackhawk
Playboy Feb. 1994 Playboy Feb. 1994

Playboy magazine's February issue hits the stands featuring Pete as their main interview. He expresses regret for not stopping The Who's 1979 tour after the Cincinnati disaster, calls Who fans who objected to his taking Tommy to Broadway "purists" who "think they own the Who," calls Roger, "the abusive thug of an older brother I never had," discusses his return to drinking during the Psychoderelict tour after twelve years of sobriety and declares all rock 'n' roll to now be "toothless." "...Maybe there is some music with teeth, but I haven't heard it. They are all pretending. The bands out there don't scare me and they don't scare anybody else." Pete also denies that he ever claimed to be bisexual, saying it was an interviewer's mistake over his own vague way of speaking. "I don't want to deny bisexuality as if I were being accused of child molestation or murder, as if it were some crime or something to be ashamed of, because that would be cruel to people who are gay. But I was bitter and angry at the way the truth had been distorted and decided never to do any interviews again. Not because I had been manipulated but because I didn't trust myself to be precise about what I was saying."

Pete tries to back out of his promise to perform at Roger's upcoming orchestral rock Carnegie Hall concert. Roger, in Pete's words, "goes ballistic" and Pete quickly backs down. It is the start of what will be one of the roughest years between the two bandmates.

January 1995 (27 years ago)

New music releases: Balance - Van Halen; Leftism - Leftfield; From The Bottom Up - Brownstone; "Freak Like Me" - Adina Howard

Pete meets a man named Oleg collecting for a charity on the street in Teddington. He says he is collecting money for a new orphanage in Russia to fill the gap between State and criminal facilities. Pete will try to help, but his efforts will ultimately lead him down the path to the greatest scandal of his career.

January 1997 (25 years ago)

New music releases: Homework - Daft Punk; "Encore Une Fois" - Sash! featuring Sabine Ohmes; Glow - Reef; Vivir - Enrique Iglesias

On the 18th, The John Entwistle Band performs at the Cakewalk exhibit at the NAMM convention in Anaheim, California. This live performance is also presented on an Internet-only cybercast hosted by Cakewalk Music Software and Intel. The cybercast makes musical history as The John Entwistle Band is joined by percussionist Pedro Vargas over an internet connection from a CAA/Intel Media Lab in Hollywood over 50 miles away.

January 2002 (20 years ago)

New music releases: Drive - Alan Jackson; The Essential Barbra Streisand - Barbra Streisand; A Walk to Remember - Original Soundtrack; Greatest Love Songs - Frank Sinatra

On the 16th, Pete posts a long diary message called A Different Bomb about the dangers of child pornography on the Internet. "When you are a child - possibly the victim of a war, maybe just an orphan or foster child - and sexual abuse follows, it could be said that what drops on you is '...a different bomb'. I believe that the internet is a latent bomb factory for the children of the future." After the blowup about his research on this issue in 2003, Pete is forced to stop plans to continue writing what was meant to be a exposé book and this document is all that is ever published.

The Who Watford 2002 The Who Watford 2002
Photo: Majik

On the 31st, The Who perform at Watford Town Hall. Before the show, Roger slags British pop mogul Simon Cowell to the press, calling him a "dreadful piece of crap who drags the music industry down whenever he rears his ugly fucking head." During the show, Pete makes reference to a lurid murder then a hot topic in the British tabloids by imitating hecklers and saying, "I'll put a marble down your throat." He later apologizes.

January 2003 (19 years ago)

New music releases: "In Da Club" - 50 Cent; "Superman" - Eminem; "Times Like These" - Foo Fighters; "Year 3000" - Busted

On the 11th, the Daily Mail is the first to publish information from a U.S.-led investigation known as "Operation Ore." A list of names of people who had used their credit cards to access a Internet service that contained, in part, child pornography was given to British police for further investigation. However, very shortly after the list arrives, it is sold to the tabloids. The Mail mentions that on the list is the name of a well-known British rock star.

Daily Record 3 Jan. 2003

That afternoon, Pete holds a press conference admitting that he is the rock star, says he is not a paedophile, has been a long-time campaigner against child pornography on the Internet, never downloaded any images, and gives the police full access to investigate the charges. The police seize Pete's computers and he is questioned but not charged with a crime.

New York Post Jan. 14, 2003 New York Post Jan. 14, 2003

A "trial by tabloid" ensues. Pete's statement is simplified and falsified into a claim that he downloaded child pornography for "research," and his guilt is widely assumed. Pete's friends and fans who know that Pete had been discussing the dangers of child pornography on the Internet for the past decade begin a fight to clear his name.

January 2004 (18 years ago)

New music releases: "Yeah!" - Usher featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris; "This Love" - Maroon 5; "You'll Think of Me" - Keith Urban; "Toxic" - Britney Spears

On the 21st, an interview with Roger appears in the Evening Standard. Of the previous year he says, "It was very painful. [Pete and I] both re-evaluated our lives after that. I have watched a friend being brutalized for making what I think was a very stupid mistake - and I think there was nothing more to what he did than that. That was all very painful."

January 2006 (16 years ago)

New music releases: High School Musical - Original Soundtrack; Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not - Arctic Monkeys; "What Hurts the Most" - Rascal Flatts; Inside In / Inside Out - The Kooks

On the 10th, Pete decides to take the recommendation of the manager of his merchandise website, Nick Goderson, and turns his recently web-published story The Boy Who Heard Music into a mini-opera to comprise the second half of the new Who album Endless Wire. He writes a thirty-minute piece, including his previously debuted "In The Ether", by the 17th.

January 2014 (8 years ago)

New music releases: "Let It Go" - Idina Menzel; "Rather Be" - Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne; "Or Nah" - Ty Dolla $ign featuring Wiz Khalifa and DJ Mustard; "Am I Wrong" - Nico & Vinz
Uncut magazine Feb 2014 Uncut magazine Feb 2014

Pete Townshend talks about his as-yet-unproduced musical Floss in the new issue of Uncut magazine: "The solo album I'm working on at the moment is so dark I'm hoping that when people have finished listening to it they'll kill themselves. It's called FLOSS. It's going to be a very serious, very long opera. I'm pretending to be Sting. There won't be any lutes. No, it's not dark, really. It's just very, very focused and serious. The idea is that we're all terrified. We're living in terror, we're living in anxiety, discomfort and the fear that we have is for the future, the fear for our children's future. We're worried about the planet, we're worried about terrorism, being able to sustain life as we love it, we're afraid we can't guarantee peace. It ends with an interactive art installation. I'm hoping that will last a couple of years. I started working on it in 2008 and I'm hoping a series of songs from it will come out next May or June."

January 2017 (5 years ago)

New music releases: "Shape of You" - Ed Sheeran; "Congratulations" - Post Malone featuring Quavo; "That's What I Like" - Bruno Mars; "Location" - Khalid
White Hart burns down White Hart burns down
Photo: Mark Hazelwood

On the 1st, The White Hart in Acton burns down. The pub was one of the major performance venues for The Detours from February 1963 through their early years. The fire had been started by a candle placed too close to a Christmas tree.

On the 19th, Pete is interviewed in Music Week and says he is optimistic about recording a new Who record. "We’ve tried a lot to make records together, very much like the Stones. They did their blues album, which has done very well. So now everyone’s suggesting The Who should do the same! Roger and I have had a few occasions where we’ve tried to write and record together but we are more optimistic than ever before, because Roger has grown such a lot; he’s developed creatively, hugely." He also says he is working on a new Scoop collection.

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The Who Sell Out Super Deluxe

The Who Sell Out Super Deluxe Edition
5 CDs, 2 7" vinyl singles, 46 unreleased tracks including a full disc of Townshend demos, 80-page hardback book, posters, inserts & memorabilia. Coming 23 July 2021.

Who LP cover

WHO - The Album released Nov. 2019. New music very much worth your while

The Ox Paul Rees

The Ox by Paul Rees
The authorized biography of John Entwistle

The Age of Anxiety

The Age of Anxiety
Pete Townshend's long-gestating first novel from 2019.

The Last Four Years

The Last Four Years
Anette Walter-Lax tells Spencer Brown all about living with Keith Moon during the last four years of his life. Available from Amazon.

Thanks a Lot Mr. Kibblewhite

Thanks a Lot Mr. Kibblewhite
The Roger Daltrey autobiography.


Let the Good Times Roll
The Kenney Jones autobiography.
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