22 December 2014

Roger Daltrey's place in The Who

The story of [Roger] Daltrey arriving at [Pete] Townshend's flat, after a hard day cutting sheet metal, to rouse the stoned art student from his reverie and drive him to play a gig is unfolded so piquantly you genuinely feel Daltrey's frustration and hurt when, two years later, Townshend suddenly becomes the group's clear 'leader', writing songs the blues-loving Daltrey doesn't know how to sing and creating concepts with managers Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp he doesn't understand.

One interviewee observes that "no one liked" the bruised, alienated Roger; but then The Who were so ill-tempered, self-centred and gleefully rotten to each other that this doesn't seem to have mattered. Their behaviour seems simply to have mirrored the casual violence of working-class, mid-'60s London - indeed, previous accounts of bloody Mod-on-Mod warfare and Daltrey getting stuck into fights at gigs seem to have been, if anything, understated.

- Pat Gilbert reviews Pretend You're in a War: The Who & the Sixties by Mark Blake, 2014, in Mojo, November 2014, p.118

'Good old Rog. What a good lad he is. Woke me up bright and early to get me to gigs in the old days. Such a pot-head I was back then in 1962 that without his driving, tin-plate, cutter-uppers force I would still be languishing in the garret of the visual artist I was training to be. Probably only as rich as David Hockney or William de Kooning'

- Pete Townshend, in liner notes for the Thirty Years of Maximum R&B boxset, 1994
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