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Pete Townshend

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Born in Chiswick, London just ten days after the German surrender in 1945, Townshend grows up in a typical middle-class home. His parents, Cliff and Betty Townshend, are both musicians, and as a child he accompanies them on dance band tours. Townshend starts playing guitar at 12. He goes to art school and, after several stints in local semi-professional bands, forms the rock group The Who in 1963 with singer Roger Daltrey, bass player John Entwistle and drummer Keith Moon. The Who start out as the ultimate, violent anti-establishment band; they soon gain notoriety for ear-splitting live performances, smashing their equipment on stage and wrecking hotel rooms, leaving havoc everywhere they go. As the group's mastermind and main songwriter, Townshend later establishes himself as an eminent musical auteur and the thinking man's rock guitarist after penning such now legendary concept albums as "Tommy", the abandoned "Lifehouse" and "Quadrophenia", which combine the energy of rock'n'roll with the orchestral and thematic ambitions of opera. After Keith Moon's accidental death in 1978 and a few unconvincing farewell tours with new drummer Kenney Jones, The Who break up. The 80's find Townshend struggling with his identity as an aging rock godfather, fighting drug problems and increasing hearing troubles. In 1989, he roars back with a 25th anniversary tour of The Who, later a Broadway revival of "Tommy" (an eventual Tony winner) and several other ambitious musical, theater and film projects. Widely known as the windmilling, leaping about guitarist for The Who, Townshend is also a premier songwriter, accurately self-reflective lyricist and inspired multi-media entrepreneur. Both "Tommy" and "Quadrophenia" were made into energetic films. The Kids Are Alright (1979), the band's biography movie, is interesting not only for The Who fans, but also from a filmmaker's point of view. Townsend's haunting songs have been used on the soundtrack of countless pictures. He stands out as one of rock music's most gifted and influential artists who has, despite being forever tied to the rebellious image of his youth, decided to somehow grow old with dignity.  See full bio on IMDb »

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