In the month that a new London The Who gig is announced, it is worth remembering where they came from. Or at least played. Here are The High Numbers, apparently playing in The Railway Hotel, Harrow, London, 1964 – 41 years ago!
Could there be a The Who Rock Family Tree? To quote Pete (both Frame and Townshend) on the issue:
But alert readers will note from the excerpt that The Who do indeed appear in a tree. This is from Faces … All Shapes and Sizes. The Who version 2 contains Kenney Jones as drummer. Jones, of course, did record and tour with The Who for a few years, but was he ever part of the band. Really?
I saw The Who just once, at a famous all-dayer at Charlton Football Ground – the Valley – in 1974 (not the 1976 gig there that got into the Guiness Book of Records as the loudest ever). They insisted on waiting for darkness before appearing, presumably to show off their lights – and as the gig was in late May we had a lot of sitting-in-the-remnants-of-picnic-having-run-out-of booze to do before they came on. A brilliant show, and I still remember it, especially the in and out of phase organ intro to Won’t Get Fooled Again that, in my memory anyway, opened the show.
The tragedy of it all is that you have to be in your mid 50s now to have been around to witness the release of their most exciting music. Even by 1974 their best work was behind them. The only singles with significant success to follow were Who Are You, You Better You Bet, and, of course, Squeeze Box. ‘Nuff said.