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In the pantheon of great British rock bands, the Who probably rate third in the so-called Holy Trinity, right below the Beatles and the Stones. Unlike those two groups, however, the Who were part of what has been termed the second wave of the British Invasion. In fact, the band didn't even form until 1964, releasing its first single ("I'm The Face") that same year--and they didn't score a British hit until they recorded "I Can't Explain" and the anthemic "My Generation" the following year. Soon thereafter, they released a quickly-recorded debut LP, which wasn't released in the U.S. until 1966. (As a matter of fact, Who leader Pete Townshend has frequently credited the first-wave British Invasion band the Kinks with being his initial influence for composing "I Can't Explain," while "The Kids Are Alright" would be unthinkable without the influence of the Beatles and their Merseybeat sound.)
The Who is a British rock band. They were noted for the dynamism of their live performances and for their thoughtful music, including Tommy, one of the first rock operas. While not a heavy metal band themselves, their distorted guitars, epic songwriting, and over-the-top stage show were an influence on the genre.
Artist Biography - The Who
In 1978 the band released Who Are You, a move away from epic rock opera and towards a more radio-friendly sound. The release of the album was overshadowed by the drug overdose death of Keith Moon. Moon was replaced by Kenney Jones. The following year was nearly as harrowing: On December 3, 1979 in Cincinnati, Ohio, a stampede for seats at Riverfront Coliseum during a Who concert killed eleven fans. Band members were not made aware of the deaths until after the show, and they were reportedly devastated.
The band would release two more studio albums in the early 1980s, and in 1980 embarked on the first in a series of farewell tours. The band stopped recording new material and settled into intermittent forays on the "nostalgia tour circuit" as Townshend focused on solo projects such as The Iron Man and Psychoderelict, a forerunner to the eventual release of the radio work Lifehouse. Their best-known reunion tour occurred in 1989.
Just before the outset of a tour in the summer of 2002, John Entwistle was found dead. A coroner's investigation revealed that while not technically an overdose, the modest amount of cocaine was indeed implicated in what amounted to a simple heart attack, given years of prior cocaine use. After a brief delay, this tour commenced with bassist Pino Palladino filling in for Entwistle.
The band's original members were:
Roger Daltrey - lead singer
Pete Townshend - lead guitar/main songwriter
John Entwistle - bass guitar
Keith Moon - drummer
Following Moon's death in 1978, he was replaced by Kenney Jones. Following the band's break-up in the early 1980s, on later tours drums were handled by Simon Phillips and Zak Starkey.
Following Entwistle's death in 2002, he was replaced on the 2002 tour by Pino Palladino.
"A Quick One", Rushmore (1998)
"Baba O'Riley", A Bug's Life (1998) [trailer only; not on soundtrack]
"Baba O'Riley", Summer of Sam (1999)
"The Seeker", American Beauty (1999)
"The Seeker", The Limey (1999)
"Sparks", Almost Famous (2000)
"Magic Bus", Shanghai Knights (2003)
"Magic Bus", Jerry Maguire (1996)
"Getting In Tune", Jerry Maguire (1996)
"Won't Get Fooled Again", Anger Management (2003) [trailer]
"Baba O'Riley", The Girl Next Door (2004)
"Who Are You", CSI (2000) [title music]
"Won't Get Fooled Again", CSI: Miami (2002) [title music]
"Baba O'Riley", CSI: New York (2004) [title music]
"Bargain", Nissan (20??) [chopped version]
"Overture" from Tommy, Claritin (2002) [chopped version]
"Happy Jack", Hummer (2003) [chopped version]
"Baba O'Riley", Hewlett-Packard (2004) [chopped version]
Many Who fans consider the commercialization of these songs to be a crass sell out on Pete Townshend's part, especially the use of the originally spiritual "Bargain" to sell SUVs.