Pete Townshend life and biography

Pete Townshend picture, image, poster

Pete Townshend biography

Date of birth : 1945-05-19
Date of death : -
Birthplace : London, England
Nationality : English
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2012-01-13
Credited as : Songwriter, Guitarist, The Who member

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Peter Dennis Blandford "Pete" Townshend is an English rock guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and author, known principally as the guitarist and songwriter for the rock group The Who, as well as for his own solo career. His career with The Who spans more than 40 years, during which time the band grew to be considered one of the most influential bands of the 1960s and 1970s, and, according to Eddie Vedder, "possibly the greatest live band ever."

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 like Who's Next, and dozens more that appeared as non-album singles, bonus tracks on reissues, and tracks on rarities compilations like 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, 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. Townshend has never had formal lessons in any of the instruments he plays.

Townshend has also been a contributor and author of newspaper and magazine articles, book reviews, essays, books, and scripts, as well as collaborating as a lyricist (and composer) for many other musical acts. Townshend was ranked #3 in Dave Marsh's list of Best Guitarists in The New Book of Rock Lists, #10 in Gibson.com's list of the top 50 guitarists, and #10 again in Rolling Stone magazine's updated 2011 list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. Townshend was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Who in 1990.

Pete Townshend doesn't play many solos, which might be why so many people don’t realize just how good he really is. But he's so important to rock – he’s a visionary musician who really lit the whole thing up. His rhythm-guitar playing is extremely exciting and aggressive – he's a savage player, in a way. He has a wonderful, fluid physicality with the guitar that you don't see often, and his playing is very much a reflection of who he is as a person – a very intense guy. He's like the original punk, the first one to destroy a guitar onstage – a breathtaking statement at that point in time. But he's also a very articulate, literate person. He listens to a lot of jazz, and he told me that's what he'd really like to be doing.

On "Substitute" you can hear the influence of Miles Davis' modal approach in the way his chords move against the open D string. He was using feedback early, which I think was influenced by European avant-garde music like Stockhausen – an art-school thing. The big ringing chords he used in the Who were so musically smart when you consider how busy the drumming and bass playing were in that band – it could have gotten chaotic if not for him. He more or less invented the power chord, and you can hear a sort of pre-Zeppelin thing in the Who's Sixties work. So much of this stuff came from him.

Awards:
-BRIT Awards 1983 – Life Achievement Award
-Tony Award 1993 – Best Original Score (music & lyrics) – The Who's Tommy (tie)
-Grammy Awards 1993 – Best Musical Show Album (as composer and lyricist of The Who's Tommy)
-Kennedy Center Honors 2008
-Honarary doctorate from University of West London, 2010
-Classic Album Award for Quadrophenia from the Classic Rock Roll of Honour Awards at The Roundhouse, November 9, 2011, London, England

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