Pete Townshend

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About Pete Townshend

Pete Townshend is a rock icon renowned for his conceptual songwriting, iconic windmills, and restless spirituality. Born in London in 1945, the guitarist obsessed over American rock and R&B before cofounding The Who, who emerged from the Mod subculture to become one of the great groups of the ’60s and ’70s. Having shared lead vocals on early landmarks like 1966’s “A Quick One, While He’s Away,” Townshend dropped his solo debut, Who Came First, in 1972. If The Who’s reputation rests upon their epic rock operas and volatile live energy, then Townshend’s solo output largely yearns for intimacy. For 1977’s Rough Mix, this means charmingly ragged tunes with collaborator Ronnie Lane of the Faces. On 1980’s commercially successful Empty Glass, the result is a deeply personal exploration of love, sexuality, and death. Townshend released several more albums, including 1985’s White City: A Novel and 1993’s Psychoderelict, that further reflect his longtime interests in youth culture, stardom, and religious enlightenment. By the turn of the century, however, the guitarist was once again pouring his creative energies into The Who’s legendary performances and records like 2019’s Who.

Chiswick, London, England
May 19, 1945

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