Pete Townshend shed light on how the guitar had changed both his life personally — and the later on the rock world, during a new chat with Britain’s BBC Radio. While chatting with veteran broadcaster Liz Kershaw, Townshend explained how playing the guitar as a teen allowed him to keep up with the crowd: “For me, it was when I was 11, 12, and 13, I was still in bad shape from my childhood. And I was telling a lot of stories, I was making things up, I was very insecure. Some of my more forward friends at school were getting together with girls. I felt very left behind. And I discovered, if I played the guitar — I suddenly fit in. The guitar was a new invention back in those days. And if you could play the guitar, you were accepted.”]

As the Who broke on the national scene in the mid-’60s, Townshend went on to explain how he needed to modify his playing in the era of the English “Guitar Gods” from the Yardbirds“It felt as though some of these wonderful guitar players around me — like Jeff Beck, like Eric Clapton, y’know, and Jimmy Page as well — they played fast (laughs). They were virtuosos. And so, I sort of, drifted into making sound. Y’know, just making loud noises, and crashing, and sounds of war, sounds of discovery — that’s what I really developed. And still, there’s always a section of the Who’s stage act, even with an orchestra, where it is cacophonous, and crazy, and loud.”


  • Out now is the “Super-Deluxe Edition” of The Who Sell Out in a massive box set, with a total of 112 tracks over five discs.
  • The collection includes never-before-heard outtakes and Pete Townshend demos — along with a heaping dose of replica memorabilia from the era.
  • In 2019, Townshend published his first novel, titled The Age Of Anxiety.

CHECK IT OUT: The Who’s 1967 jingle “Coke After Coke” from the “Super-Deluxe Edition” of The Who Sell Out: