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Pete Townshend is one of the most celebrated songwriters and musicians in rock and roll. As principal songwriter for The Who, Townshend helped define the sound of the mid-60’s British rock scene with such explosive singles as “I Can’t Explain,” “My Generation,” “I Can See For Miles” and “The Kids Are Alright.” He was one of the originators of the ‘concept album’, first with “A Quick One” and then with “The Who Sell Out” – a wry observation on music in a commercialized culture. Townshend then took album-length storytelling to the extreme, producing the first rock operas, “Tommy” and “Quadrophenia” – both acclaimed works which spawned successful film and stage adaptations. Meantime, The Who – completed by the larger than life talents of Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle and Keith Moon - established itself as one of the hardest-working live acts in the world, performing incendiary (and infamously destructive) sets throughout Europe and North America – including historic stints at Monterrey Pop and Woodstock – winning legions of devoted fans. Returning to the studio in 1971, The Who produced “Who’s Next”, considered by fans and critics to be one of the greatest rock and roll albums of all time thanks to its thematic and musical innovations and some of Townshend’s most enduring songs including “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” “Baba O’Riley” and “Going Mobile.” The band’s later albums saw Townshend writing more introspective pieces and exploring more varied instrumentation, setting the stage for a series of solo albums ranging from the lo-fi “Who Came First” to the emotionally raw “Empty Glass” (which spawned the ubiquitous pop gem “Let My Love Open The Door”) to the dense think-piece “All The Best Cowboys” and conceptual radio play “Psychoderelict.” 2006’s “Endless Wire,” the Who’s 11th studio album, sailed into the Top 10 on release, demonstrating that Townshend’s songs and Daltrey’s soulful and soaring vocals remain as relevant this century as they were in the last.
In a career filled with milestones and accolades, several Townshend honors stand out including a Brit Lifetime Achievement Award in 1983, a Grammy and Tony award for “Tommy: The Musical” in 1993 and a Kennedy Center Honor in 2008. The Who received lifetime achievement awards from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) in 1988 and from the Grammy Foundation in 2001 and they were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1990.
Townshend and Spirit are planning a busy 2012, focusing on reintroducing the deeper song catalog and building the Who brand in partnership with cutting edge directors, producers and tastemakers across the media landscape. Townshend continues to promote the personally curated “Quadrophenia-The Director’s Cut” boxed set released late last year and is finishing a long-awaited autobiography set for release in September, both of which will be paired with media and licensing events developed by Spirit. A series of retrospectives for the Who’s most celebrated albums are expected over the next two years leading up to a global celebration of the band’s 50th anniversary in 2014.