Pete Townshend Accuses Robert Plant Of Copying Roger Daltrey

In an interview on BBC Radio Scotland with Billy Sloan, The Who’s Pete Townshend weighed in on the dynamics between Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant and Roger Daltrey.

Recalling the era when The Who were recording tracks for their album ‘Who’s Next’ at the Olympic studio, Townshend recounted how the band felt the pressure from emerging heavy rock bands:

“I think by that time, we’d become aware that Led Zeppelin was snapping at our heels, and eventually, of course, in heavy rock terms, overtook the Who.”

Townshend then continued, implying part of their success was because Plant copied Daltrey:

“But I think Robert Plant was a shrieker — he copied the way that Roger looked on stage. He had his own thing, but Robert Plant was somewhere between Roger Daltrey and Steve Marriott from The Faces. He found his own feet in the end, but I think Roger was aware that he had to really sharpen up. And he did.”

However, according to Townshend, this helped Daltrey focus on treating himself with utmost care:

“He started to really regard his voice as an instrument and to really take care of himself. He didn’t use drugs, he didn’t drink a lot, he had his issues and his eccentricities, but he really looked after himself. The rest of the band would be living hard without question.”

The Who and Led Zeppelin knew each other in 1960s Britain. After its formation in 1968, the latter became one of the most successful bands of the 1970s. The Who had their successes but lived in the Zeppelin’s shadow. They sold around 100 million records, while Led Zeppelin sold 300 million. Due to that, Townshend has never been a fan of Led Zeppelin’s music.

Tensions in The Who grew around 1966, especially between Daltrey and Keith Moon. Daltrey’s absence to take some time away led the band to consider other vocalists briefly. In 1966, Plant wanted to replace him as The Who’s lead singer and approached Townshend. However, Townshend believed it would be best to continue with Daltrey.

You can listen to the full interview below.