The Reason Pete Townshend Sabotaged His Career With The Who


For many years, the Who’s Pete Townshend has been the band’s co-founder, leader, guitarist, secondary lead vocalist, and principal songwriter. The musician immensely contributed to the band’s way to being one of the most influential rock acts, particularly with his songwriting skills that gave birth to more than 100 songs for 12 of the band’s studio albums.

Regardless of his successful tenure with the band, there was a time when Townshend purposely sabotaged the Who. The musician explained the reason behind his reckless actions and revealed that his initial plan when he started making music wasn’t to be a part of a band. Let’s dive deeper into Townshend’s statements over the early days of his career with the band to see the reason he tried to ruin his time with the Who.

How Was The Who Founded?


The Who icons, Pete Townshend and John Entwistle met and became friends while studying at Acton County Grammar School. Shortly after, they realized they had a great interest in music, so they decided to found a band. Their first step to their professional musical career was a short-lived trad jazz group named The Confederates. The band played at a youth club, Congo Club, covering musicians such as Acker Bilk, Kenny Ball, and Lonnie Donegan.

However, Townshend left the band because he disagreed with their drummer Chris Sherwin. In 1961, Entwistle joined Roger Daltrey’s skiffle/rock and roll band, The Detours. Then, he suggested Daltrey recruit his friend and former bandmate Townshend as an additional guitarist. Finally, the lineup consisted of Daltrey, Townshend, Entwistle, Doug Sandom, and Colin Dawson, beginning The Who.

Why Did Pete Townshend Want To End His Career With The Who?


Shortly after, the problems between The Detours members started to arise, and the lead vocalist Dawson parted his ways with the band due to his arguments with Daltrey. Therefore, Daltrey became the band’s leader and frontman, but they learned another group carrying the same name. They needed to change it, and Townshend’s roommate Richard Barnes offered them the name of ‘The Who,’ which the singer liked the most.

The Who released their debut studio album entitled ‘My Generation’ on December 3, 1965, in the UK, and it received very positive reviews from music critics and fans. Following its release, the band became more and more popular and was invited to different festivals and organizations for their live performances. Also, Townshend’s first years as a Who member were full of turmoils, including trashing hotel rooms and trying LSD.

During one of his previous interviews, Townshend explained the reason behind his reckless behaviors, saying that he never wanted to be a part of a band, and he only wished to be an artist. Therefore, he considered The Who as a joke, and the musicians admitted that he hoped the band would finish in a short time because he was very unhappy. However, The Who became one of the most successful and popular rock bands globally, and Townshend understood that it would be hard to finish the group.

In Townshend’s words, he said:

“I’m a bit of a disappointment in this area because I didn’t want to be in a band at all. I joined the band with Roger and John when I was at school, and then I went to art college, and the band continued a little bit, but I treated it as a bit of a joke. The first few years of the Who’s career, I was quite unhappy. I wanted to be an artist, and I was quite eager for the band to finish. I thought we wouldn’t last very long.”

Moreover, the famous guitarist revealed that he hated performing live with The Who, but he’s good at it. He’s got paid while talking about one of their tours, The Who Hits 50!, which started on November 23, 2014, in Abu Dhabi, and ended on May 29, 2016, in Las Vegas. This statement surprised his fans at that time, even though some already knew that Townshend initially had different plans for his career.