Roger Daltrey Reflects On Jimi Hendrix Copying Pete Townshend

The Who co-founder and lead singer Roger Daltrey gave an interview to The Cola Connection during which he revealed that Jimi Hendrix stole Pete Townshend’s stage act.

As you may know, the Who and Jimi Hendrix both made outstanding contributions to rock music. While Hendrix’s guitar playing techniques have influenced countless musicians, the Who’s contributions included the use of synthesizers, the development of Marshall Stack and rock opera, and Townshend’s feedback and power chord guitar technique.

In 1966, the Who realized they needed to compete in London’s music scene with bands like Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. They then decided their commercial success in the US would significantly contribute to their success. As it turned out later, this would be the first time the Who’s path crossed with Hendrix.

The Who made their first major US appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival, and Jimi Hendrix was also there, and it was his first US appearance as well. Moreover, Hendrix was planning to smash his guitar on stage, which led to a quarrel between him and Townshend as he accused Hendrix of stealing his act. According to Roger Daltrey, this was not the only thing Hendrix stole from Townshend.

In the interview by The Cola Connection, Roger Daltrey talked about the influences of blues musicians on their music. He stated that, for instance, Buddy Guy influenced Pete Townshend in his guitar playing. Following that, Daltrey claimed Hendrix stole Townshend’s stage act. He stated he is sure Jimi saw Buddy Guy’s performances previously, but it was Townshend who embellished Buddy Guy’s guitar playing style.

Roger Daltrey told The Cola Connection that:

“You watched Buddy Guy in the early days, and you suddenly realized that – when you have to really look for the inventor of all that stuff – it was probably Buddy Guy. In fact, I would give it to Buddy Guy. I’ve always stuck up for Pete, and Jimi stole Pete’s stage act completely. I think he did. I’m sure Jimi had seen Buddy Guy previously, and I’m sure Pete had seen some clips of Buddy Guy and embellished it.

So, I take my hat off the Buddy Guy, and he deserves the accolade. I just love him. If you look back at old resumes, he’s in all these fan magazines in those days. You go and ask the question, ‘What are your favorite blues singers?’ The female singer was always Nina Simone, while the male singer was always Buddy Guy. And I’m really pleased to say that’s still my opinion.”

You can watch that part of the interview below.