30 Amazing Facts About The Who You Didn’t Know Before

The Who
(Photo : Kubacheck from Annapolis, Md, USA)

The Who, considered as one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century, has sold more than 100 million records worldwide. The band, who had their origin as the Detours, in the year 1961, are cited as an influence by many hard rock, punk rock and mod bands. Here are some interesting facts about the English rock band that will blow your mind:

    Roger Daltrey of The Who"Roger Daltrey of The Who" by protestphotos1 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

  1.  The Who band was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Phonographic Industry in the year 1988, as well as from the Grammy Foundation in the year 2001.
  2.  In October 2001, The Who performed the Concert for New York City at Madison Square Garden, dedicated to the families of firefighters and police who had lost their lives in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
  3.  During a performance in June 1964, Townshend accidentally broke the head of his guitar on the low ceiling of the stage. But with the consequent laughter from audiences, he smashed the instrument on the stage, still continued the show with another guitar.
  4.  This guitar smashing incident at the Railway Hotel in Wealdstone, is listed as one of the “50 Moments That Changed the History of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” by Rolling Stone magazine.
  5.  After that episode, the audience was keen to watch a repeat of such an event, and the following week, Moon granted them their wishes by kicking his drum kit over.
  6.  That was the start of their most famous auto-destructive art – destroying guitars and drums on stage, making it one of the main features of The Who’s live set.
  7.  Founded by Roger Daltrey as Detours, after being expelled from school at the age of 15, the band which evolved in The Who, initially played professional gigs, like corporate and wedding functions.
  8.  Spotting Entwistle carrying a bass on the street, Daltrey recruited him as bassist for Detours, who in turn recommended Townshend as a guitarist. The band also had Harry Wilson on drums and Colin Dawson on vocals.
  9.  In mid-1962, Wilson was replaced by Doug Sandom, who was a more proficient musician, with nearly two years of experience playing professionally. Due to frequent arguments and differences, Dawson was replaced briefly by Gabby Connolly, Daltrey himself moved to lead vocals.
  10.  It was only in February 1964, that they became aware of the group Johnny Devlin and the Detours, following which Townshend and his roommate Richard Barnes spent a whole thinking of a new name.
  11. Keith Moon 4 - The Who - 1975

  12.  The theme of the new name was around joke announcements, such as “No One,” and “The Group.” It was Barnes who suggested the name “The Who” which Daltrey chose the next morning.
  13.  During a show on December 3, 1979, at the Riverfront Coliseum, Cincinnati, 11 fans lost their live, in the crowd crush, while trying to gain entry to the concert.
  14.  Due to the festival seating arrangement, in which the first to enter gets the best position, more than thousands of fans were fighting to force their way inside when just a few entrance doors were opened.
  15.  Mistaking the band’s soundcheck as the start of the concert, the crowd became fierce. The band members were not aware of the situation until after the show, as civic authorities did not want any problems if the concert were to be cancelled.
  16.  The members were deeply shaken by the incident and requested to install appropriate safety precautions right from the next show, which was held in Buffalo, New York.
  17.  Daltrey, in show in Buffalo, addressed the incident, and dedicated the entire show to families of those fans who died the previous day, saying “lost a lot of family last night and this show's for them.”
  18.  On June 27, 2002, the day before the first date of their full US tour, Entwistle was found dead of a heart attack at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas.
  19.  The band decided to carry on with the tour, and Townshend dedicated the first show at the Hollywood Bowl to Entwistle, ending the show with a montage of pictures of him.
  20.  The loss of Entwistle, led to Townshend re-evaluating his friendship with Daltry, which was strained for a long time, over the band’s career. He decided that their friendship was more important and this led to the band writing and recording new material.
  21.  It was during a gig in late April 1964, at the Oldfield, that the band met Keith Moon for the first time, who was performing for the Beachcombers. Being impressed with his energy and enthusiasm, the Who offered him the job.
  22. Pete Townshend - THE WHO"Pete Townshend - THE WHO" by flipkeat is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

  23.  Throughout the years, The Who is perceived to have a poor working relationship, as they always had problems in agreeing on things. It has always been Sandom who settled disputes as the peacemaker of the original band.
  24.  Among all the members, Entwistle and Moon had a real genuine friendship, enjoying each other’s sense of humor, while sharing a fondness for clubbing, Entwistle once confessed that when Moon was destroying toilets in hotels, during their tours, he would be standing beside him with the matches.
  25.  During a concert on May 20, 2015, at Nassau Coliseum, Daltrey, who is allergic to marijuana smoke, smelled a joint burning, and immediately told the smoker to put it out, or “the show will be over.” The fan immediately put out the joint.
  26.  The band’s twelfth studio album – “Who,” which is the first album in thirteen years, reached number three on the UK Albums Chart, and number two on the American Billboard 200.
  27.  The Who went on the Moving On! Tour, that started on May 7, 2019, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. But had to halt the tour during a show at Houston, Texas, in September 2019, following Daltrey losing his voice.
  28.  Later, due to the life threatening COVID-19 pandemic, the remainder of the Moving On! Tour was put on hold. The album “Who” was released on December 6, 2019.
  29.  During a concert with the Eric Burdon and the Animals on September 17, 1967, The Who ended the show with a bang that singed Pete Townshend’s hair and left shrapnel in Keith Moon’s arm.
  30.  Moon, famous for placing an explosive charge in his bass drums to detonate at the end of each show, bribed a stage hand who actually packed several times the normal amount of explosive in the drum kit.
  31.  When he set it off, a gigantic explosion rocked him off his drum riser, and engulfed Townshend and Daltrey, in a cloud of smoke. Townshend’s hair was singed and left his ear ringing.
  32.  In the year 1990, The Who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, describing them as “prime contenders, in the minds of many, for the title of World’s Greatest Rock Band.”
  33.  Pete Townshend Net Worth: $150 Million

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