Power Chord: One Mans Ear-Splitting Quest to Find His Guitar Heroes

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In December, the Who became the third band, after the Beatles and the Band , to appear on the cover of Time. The article, by Jay Cocks , said the band had outpaced, outlasted, outlived and outclassed all of their rock band contemporaries. On 3 December , a crowd crush at a Who gig at the Riverfront Coliseum , Cincinnati killed 11 fans.

Some fans waiting outside mistook the band's soundcheck for the concert, and attempted to force their way inside. As only a few entrance doors were opened, a bottleneck situation ensued with thousands trying to gain entry, and the crush became deadly. The Who were not told until after the show because civic authorities feared crowd problems if the concert were cancelled. The band were deeply shaken upon learning of it and requested that appropriate safety precautions be taken in the future. Daltrey took a break in to work on the film McVicar , in which he took the lead role of bank robber John McVicar.

By this time Townshend had fallen into depression, wondering if he was no longer a visionary. Townshend wanted the Who to stop touring and become a studio act; Entwistle threatened to quit, saying, "I don't intend to get off the road Townshend spent part of writing material for a Who studio album owed to Warner Bros.

Records from a contract in , [] but he found himself unable to generate music appropriate for the Who and at the end of paid for himself and Jones to be released from the contract. Townshend had announced in that he suffered from tinnitus [] [] and alternated acoustic, rhythm, and lead guitar to preserve his hearing. It was the last studio recording to feature Entwistle. The shows included guest spots by Entwistle and Townshend.


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Although all three surviving original members of the Who attended, they appeared on stage together only during the finale, "Join Together", with the other guests. Daltrey toured that year with Entwistle, Zak Starkey on drums and Simon Townshend filling in for his brother as guitarist. Despite technical difficulties the show led to a six-night residency at Madison Square Garden and a US and European tour through and In late , the Who performed as a five-piece for the first time since , with Bundrick on keyboards and Starkey on drums.

Andy Greene in Rolling Stone called the tour better than the final one with Moon in Cocaine was a contributing factor. Entwistle's son, Christopher, gave a statement supporting the Who's decision to carry on. Townshend dedicated the show to Entwistle, and ended with a montage of pictures of him. The tour lasted until September. He decided their friendship was important, and this ultimately led to writing and recording new material.

To combat bootlegging , the band began to release the Encore Series of official soundboard recordings via themusic.

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An official statement read: "to satisfy this demand they have agreed to release their own official recordings to benefit worthy causes". The Who announced in that they were working on a new album. The album reached No. In November , the documentary Amazing Journey: The Story of the Who was released, featuring unreleased footage of the Leeds appearance and a performance at the Railway Hotel when the group were The High Numbers.

Amazing Journey was nominated for a Grammy Award. He experimented with an in-ear monitoring system that was recommended by Neil Young and his audiologist. In October , Townshend announced the Who would stage their final tour in , performing in locations they have never played before. Townshend suggested to Mojo that it could be the group's last UK gig. Then Townshend promised the band would come back "stronger than ever". The Who embarked on the Back to the Who Tour 51! In January , the band announced the Moving On! Tour and a new album to be released the same year.

The Who have been regarded primarily as a rock band, yet have taken influence from several other styles of music during their career. In , Townshend coined the term " power pop " to describe the Who's style. In the studio, they began to develop softer pieces, particularly from Tommy onwards, [] and turned their attention towards albums more than singles.

From the early s, the band's sound included synthesizers, particularly on Who's Next and Quadrophenia. Townshend and Entwistle were instrumental in making extreme volumes and distortion standard rock practices. The group used feedback as part of their guitar sound, both live and in the studio. Throughout their careers, the members of the Who have said their live sound has never been captured as they wished on record. Daltrey initially based his style on Motown and rock and roll, [] but from Tommy onwards he tackled a wider range of styles.


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Group backing vocals are prominent in the Who. After "I Can't Explain" used session men for backing vocals, Townshend and Entwistle resolved to do better themselves on subsequent releases, producing strong backing harmonies. Who's Next featured Daltrey and Townshend sharing the lead vocals on several songs, and biographer Dave Marsh considers the contrast between Daltrey's strong, guttural tone and Townshend's higher and gentler sound to be one of the album's highlights. Daltrey's voice is negatively affected by marijuana smoke, to which he says he is allergic.

On 20 May , during a Who concert at Nassau Coliseum , he smelled a joint burning and told the smoker to put it out or "the show will be over". The fan obliged, without taking Pete Townshend's advice that "the quickest way" to extinguish a joint is "up your fucking arse". Townshend considered himself less technical than guitarists such as Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck and wanted to stand out visually instead.

His rhythm playing frequently used seventh chords and suspended fourths , [] and he is associated with the power chord , an easy-to-finger chord built from the root and fifth [50] that has since become a fundamental part of the rock guitar vocabulary. In the group's early career, Townshend favoured Rickenbacker guitars as they allowed him to fret rhythm guitar chords easily and move the neck back and forwards to create vibrato. A distinctive part of the original band's sound was Entwistle's lead bass playing, while Townshend concentrated on rhythm and chords.

Moon further strengthened the reversal of traditional rock instrumentation by playing lead parts on his drums. He avoided the hi-hat , and concentrated on a mix of tom rolls and cymbals. Jones' drumming style was in sharp contrast to Moon's. The Who were initially enthusiastic about working with a completely different drummer, [] though Townshend later stated, "we've never really been able to replace Keith.

Starkey has been praised for his playing style which echoes Moon's without being a copy. Townshend focused on writing meaningful lyrics [] inspired by Bob Dylan , whose words dealt with subjects other than boy—girl relationships that were common in rock music; in contrast to Dylan's intellectualism, Townshend believed his lyrics should be about things kids could relate to.

Entwistle's songs, by contrast, typically feature black humour and darker themes. The Who are perceived as having had a poor working relationship. In the original band, Sandom had been the peacemaker and settled disputes.

Moon, by contrast, was as volatile as Daltrey and Townshend. Entwistle was too passive to become involved in arguments.

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The only genuine friendship in the Who during the s was between Entwistle and Moon. The pair enjoyed each other's sense of humour and shared a fondness for clubbing. Journalist Richard Green noted a "chemistry of playfullness that would go beyond playfullness". The group regularly argued in the press, [] though Townshend said disputes were amplified in print and the group simply found it difficult to agree on things.

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Entwistle's death came as a shock to both Townshend and Daltrey, and caused them to re-evaluate their relationship. Townshend has said that he and Daltrey have since become close friends.

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The Who are one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century. The group's contributions to rock include the power chord , [] windmill strum [] and the use of non-musical instrument noise such as feedback. Pink Floyd began to use feedback from their early shows in , inspired by the Who, whom they considered a formative influence.


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The loud volume of the band's live show influenced the approach of hard rock and heavy metal. The Who have inspired many tribute bands; Daltrey has endorsed the Whodlums , who raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust. During the Who's hiatuses in the s and 90s, Townshend developed his skills as a music publisher to be financially successful from the Who without recording or touring. He countered criticism of "selling out" by saying that licensing the songs to other media allows a wider exposure and widens the group's appeal.

The New York Times Magazine has listed The Who among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the Universal fire. The Who have received many awards and accolades from the music industry for their recordings and their influence. The band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in where their display describes them as "prime contenders, in the minds of many, for the title of World's Greatest Rock Band", [] [] and the UK Music Hall of Fame in For a complete list, see former touring members.

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. English rock band. The Who in Rock hard rock power pop.