The Who is one of the best-known and most influential of the second wave of the British rock and roll “invasion” of the 1960s. Early in the band’s career, The Who made a name for themselves by playing loud music, using feedback, and destroying guitars and other instruments at the end of live performances. If The Who had done nothing else, they would have secured a place in rock and roll history for using high volume and for smashing guitars and drums. But The Who moved beyond the early emphasis on volume and guitar-smashing, becoming a successful “singles” band and then in the late 1960s transitioned into crafting long-playing albums, including the famous rock opera Tommy and their own double-album self-history Quadrophenia. Along the way, The Who also produced staples of “classic rock” such as “Baba O’Riley,” “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” and “Who Are You” (all featured also on the CSI television shows). The Who’s music and touring achieved greatest success from the late 1960s through the early 1980s, in the process becoming a cultural and emotional touchstone for a generation of fans across North America, Europe, and elsewhere. The songwriting genius of Pete Townshend (author of the recent Who I Am: A Memoir [2013, Harper]) will live on for years to come. The Who is certainly one of the greatest and most important bands in the history of rock and roll.
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