“My G-G-Generation”

“We tried not to age, but time had its rage”. Pete Townshend

Peter Dennis Blandford “Pete” Townshend (born 19 May 1945) is an English musician, singer, and songwriter, known principally as the guitarist and songwriter for the rock group The Who. His career with The Who spans 50 years, during which time the band grew to be considered one of the most influential bands of the 1960s and 1970s

My Generation, “Cemented their reputation as a hard-nosed band who reflected the feelings of thousands of pissed-off adolescents at the time”. Mark Wilkerson

People try to put us d-down
(Talkin’ ‘bout my generation)
Just because we get around
(Talkin’ ‘bout my generation)
Things they do look awful c-c-cold
(Talkin’ ‘bout my generation)
I hope I die before I get old
(Talkin’ ‘bout my generation)
My generation
This is my generation, baby
Why don’t you all f-fade away
(Talkin’ ‘bout my generation)
Don’t try to dig what we all s-s-say
(Talkin’ ‘bout my generation)
I’m not trying to cause a big s-s-sensation
(Talkin’ ‘bout my generation)
I’m just talkin’ ‘bout my g-g-generation
(Talkin’ ‘bout my generation)
My generation
This is my generation, baby
Why don’t you all f-fade away
(Talkin’ ‘bout my generation)
And don’t try to d-dig what we all s-s-say
(Talkin’ ‘bout my generation)
I’m not trying to cause a b-big s-s-sensation
(Talkin’ ‘bout my generation)
I’m just talkin’ ‘bout my g-g-generation
(Talkin’ ‘bout my generation)
My generation
This is my generation, baby
My, my, my, my generation
My, my, my, my generation
People try to put us d-down
(Talkin’ ‘bout my generation)
Just because we g-g-get around
(Talkin’ ‘bout my generation)
Things they do look awful c-c-cold
(Talkin’ ‘bout my generation)
Yeah, I hope I die before I get old
(Talkin’ ‘bout my generation)
My generation
This is my generation, baby
My, my, my, my generation
My, my, my, my generation
Talkin’ ‘bout my generation
(My generation)
Talkin’ ‘bout my generation
(My generation)
Talkin’ ‘bout my generation
(Is my generation baby)
Talkin’ ‘bout my generation
(This is my generation)
Talkin’ ‘bout my generation
(This is my generation)
Talkin’ ‘bout my generation
(This is my generation)
Talkin’ ‘bout my generation
(This is my generation)
Talkin’ ‘bout my generation
(This is my generation)
Songwriter: Peter Dennis Townshend

“I want to age with some dignity”. Pete Townshend

“The bad part about growing older is I’m going bald. The good part is my nose seems to be getting shorter”. Pete Townshend

“What we learned quite early on is what was really important to early British pop that we produced-and this is where we were distinct from almost everybody else in this respect-is that it had to reflect exactly what the audience wanted us to say”. Pete Townshend

The Who, early days

In the summer of 1961, Entwistle invited Townshend to join The Detours, a skiffle/rock and roll band, as an additional guitarist. In the early days of the Detours, the band’s repertoire consisted of instrumentals by the Shadows and the Ventures, as well as pop and trad jazz covers. Their line-up coalesced around Roger Daltrey on lead guitar, Townshend on rhythm guitar, Entwistle on bass, Doug Sandom on drums and Colin Dawson as vocalist. Daltrey was considered the leader of the group and, according to Townshend, “ran things the way he wanted them.” Dawson quit in 1962 after arguing too much with Daltrey, who subsequently moved to lead vocalist. As a result, Townshend, with Entwistle’s encouragement, became the sole guitarist. Through Townshend’s mother, the group obtained a management contract with local promoter Robert Druce, who started booking the band as a support act for bands like Screaming Lord Sutch, Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers, Shane Fenton and the Fentones, and Johnny Kidd and the Pirates.

In 1963, Townshend’s father arranged an amateur recording of “It Was You”, the first song his son ever wrote. The Detours became aware of a group of the same name in February 1964, forcing them to change their name. Townshend’s room-mate came up with “The Who”, and Daltrey decided it was the best choice.

“Entertainment came out of this thing called a television, and it was gray. Most of the films that we saw at the cinema were black and white. It was a gray world. And music somehow was in color”. Pete Townshend

Townshend is the primary songwriter for The Who, having written well over 100 songs for the band’s 11 studio albums, including concept albums and the rock operas Tommy and Quadrophenia, plus popular rock and roll radio staples such as Who’s Next, and dozens more that appeared as non-album singles, bonus tracks on reissues, and tracks on rarities compilations such as Odds & Sods. He has also written over 100 songs that have appeared on his solo albums, as well as radio jingles and television theme songs. Although known primarily as a guitarist, he also plays other instruments such as keyboards, banjo, accordion, harmonica, ukulele, mandolin, violin, synthesiser, bass guitar and drums, on his own solo albums, several Who albums, and as a guest contributor to a wide array of other artists’ recordings. He is self-taught on all of the instruments he plays and has never had any formal training.

 “When The Who first started, we were playing blues, and I dug the blues and I knew what I was supposed to be playing, but I couldn’t play it. I couldn’t get it out. I knew what I had to play; it was in my head. I could hear the notes in my head, but I couldn’t get them out on the guitar”. Pete Townshend


In the early days with The Who, Townshend played an Emile Grimshaw SS De Luxe and 6-string and 12-string Rickenbacker semi-hollow electric guitars primarily (particularly the Rose-Morris UK-imported models with special f-holes). However, as instrument-smashing became increasingly integrated into The Who’s concert sets, he switched to more durable and resilient (and sometimes cheaper) guitars for smashing, such as the Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster and various Danelectro models.

On The Who’s famous The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour appearance in 1967, Townshend used a Vox Cheetah guitar, which he only used for that performance; and the guitar was smashed to smithereens by Townshend and Moon’s drum explosion. In the late 1960s, Townshend began playing Gibson SG models almost exclusively, specifically the Special models. He used this guitar at the Woodstock and Isle of Wight shows in 1969 and 1970, as well as the Live at Leeds performance in 1970.

Townshend developed a signature move in which he would swing his right arm against the guitar strings in a style reminiscent of the vanes of a windmill.

He developed this style after watching Rolling Stones guitarist, Keith Richards, warm up before a show.

“I needed to give back, give back, give back. I felt guilty about my success. I felt uncomfortable about how easily I had been delivered this extraordinary life that I had”. Pete Townshend


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