The Who And Their 50th Anniversary Timeline
It’s little sad. Roger Daltrey calls The Who’s upcoming North American tour “the beginning of the long goodbye.” Okay, maybe it’s not that sad. The Who have had a pretty good run, and they’re definitely well beyond their prime. Still, it pulls at the heart strings when one of the all-time greats hangs them up (or at least threatens to).
The Who are celebrating their 50th anniversary with a lengthy trip around the New World. The first leg begins April 15 in Tampa, Florida and ends May 30 in Forest Hills, New York. The second leg commences Sept. 14 in San Diego and concludes Nov. 4 in Philadelphia. If you combine both legs, The Who will be performing 38 concerts.
The Who have recorded a new track, their first in eight years, called “Be Lucky.” You can find the new song on the double-disc, greatest hits collection, The Who Hits 50! The album contains 41 of the band’s most important singles as well as the aforementioned “Be Lucky.” The opus drops Oct. 27, 2014.
The Who is celebrating a half century of existence with a tour and a greatest hits collection. Clickitticket is celebrating the historic occasion with a timeline chronicling the band’s major achievements through the years. We start in 1964…
In an effort to appeal to a mod audience, Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle, and Keith Moon release “Zoot Suit” under the name The High Numbers. The single bombs prompting the band to change their name to “The Who.” They also acquired new management.
The Who destroys their instruments on the British television program Ready, Steady, Go. They also become very popular on U.K. pirate radio stations. Late in the year, the band fires Daltrey. He’s rehired under the condition that The Who becomes a democracy. Hitherto, Daltrey had led The Who with an iron fist.
“I Can’t Explain”
The Who sees their recording contract with British Decca/Brunswick come to an end and a new one with Polydor begin. In the United States, they still remain with Decca. Producer Kit Lambert introduces Townshend to a wide range of classical music thus inspiring him to write “I’m a Boy.”
“The Kids Are Alright”
“I’m A Boy”
Ready Steady Who (EP)
A Quick One
The Who plays the Monterey Pop Festival, appears on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, and tours the United States as the opening act for the Herman’s Hermits and Eric Burdon and the Animals.
“Pictures of Lily”
“I Can See for Miles”
The Who Sell Out
Pete Townshend reads the works of Meher Baba for the first time. Baba’s teachings inspire Townshend to compose the rock opera Tommy, which the band works on throughout most of 1968. In December, The Who performs in The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus. The Who blew the roof off of the proverbial circus tent, but the Stones didn’t like their set and the project was shelved until 1996.
Magic Bus: The Who On Tour (compilation)
Direct Hits (compilation)
Basking in the commercial and critical success of Tommy, The Who performs at Woodstock for $13,000. They take the stage at 5am on Sunday and play most of their new rock opera. As if planned, the sun rises as the band performs “See Me, Feel Me.” The Who didn’t enjoy their Woodstock experience (especially the interruption by Abbie Hoffman). They’re happier with their performance at the Isle of Wight Festival.
The Who are now mentioned in the same breath as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. They are also viewed as the best live act in rock music. The band tours to support Tommy and becomes the first rock band to ever play at New York City’s Metropolitan Opera House.
“See Me, Feel Me”
Live at Leeds (live)
John Entwistle becomes the first member of The Who to release a solo album (Smash Your Head Against the Wall). Meanwhile, Townshend begins working on a project called Lifehouse, which is meant to be a multi-media project about the artist and his audience. It’s soon scrapped for being too complicated. The project’s collapse causes Townshend to have a nervous breakdown.
“Won’t Get Fooled Again”
“Behind Blue Eyes”
Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy (compilation)
The first part of the year is spent recuperating from a heavy touring schedule. The rest of the year sees the band fighting. Daltrey believes Townshend is getting pretentious and Townshend believes Daltrey is only in it for the money. Also, a rift forms in the band over the effectiveness of their managers Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp.
The Who cut ties with Lambert and Stamp and hire Bill Curbishley as their new manager. The band launches a tour in late October that’s plagued by technical problems and internal squabbles. Daltrey knocks out Townshend and Townshend publically berates the band’s sound man.
Moon passes out during a concert in the United States. After a break, Townshend asks the audience if anyone can play the drums. Fan Scot Halpin volunteers and the concert continues. In Montreal, Townshend, Moon, and Entwistle are arrested for trashing a hotel room.
“Love Reign O’er Me”
The band works on a film version of Tommy. Townshend and Entwistle supervise the soundtrack while Daltrey stars as “Tommy.” Moon does little as he’s now living in Los Angeles.
“The Real Me”
“Long Live Rock”
Odds & Sods (compilation)
Tommy (film) debuts in March. The movie and its soundtrack are well received by both critics and fans. In December, The Who plays to a record crowd of 78,000 at the Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit, Michigan.
The Who by Numbers
The Who enters the Guinness Book of Records for loudest concert— they manage to rock at over 120 dB. After their tour ends, the band takes a break. During this time Townshend meets Steve Jones and Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols. The incident inspires Townshend to write the song “Who Are You.”
The Story of The Who (compilation)
The Who performs at the Gaumont State Cinema in Kilburn, London. It’s their only performance of the year and one judged to be fairly poor. Moon’s lack of fitness contributes to the poor gig and is the reason why 1977 transpires without a Who tour.
On Sept. 7, Keith Moon dies from a drug overdose. In November, the band hires Kenney Jones as his replacement.
“Who Are You”
“Trick of the Light”
Who Are You
The Who returns with concerts in England, France, West Germany, New Jersey, and New York City. The band also celebrates the release of Quadrophenia (film). The movie stars Sting. The documentary The Kids Are Alright is also released.
During the last month of the year, The Who becomes the third rock band (after The Beatles and The Band) to adorn the cover of Time magazine. On Dec. 3, 11 people are crushed to death at a Who concert at the Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati, Ohio.
“Long Live Rock”
The Kids Are Alright (soundtrack)
Daltrey stars in the film McVicar and works on the soundtrack. From March through July, The Who embarks on their second tour without Keith Moon.
The Who tours England and Scotland. Then on March 28 they appear on West German television (Rockpalast).
“You Better You Bet”
Townshend overcomes his brief heroin addiction. The band also launches a 40-date trek of North America that’s billed as their last. Their opening act is The Clash.
Townshend tries to write material for a new Who album but is unable to come through. He works on solo material instead.
Who’s Greatest Hits (compilation)
Rarities Volume I & Volume II (compilation)
Roger Daltrey releases his fifth studio album, Parting Should Be Painless. It bombs.
“Twist and Shout”
Who’s Last (live)
The Who reunites to perform at Live Aid at Wembley Stadium.
Who’s Missing (compilation)
The Who Collection (compilation)
Daltrey appears in the television series Buddy.
In July, a limited edition Pete Townshend Rickenbacker guitar goes on sale.
Two’s Missing (compilation)
The Who is honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Brit Awards. They perform at the ceremony. It’s the second-to-the-last gig Kenney Jones plays with the band.
Who’s Better, Who’s Best (compilation)
Won’t Get Fooled Again (EP)
The Who reunites to celebrate their 25th Anniversary. Due to tinnitus, Townshend doesn’t play lead guitar, only acoustic. Simon Phillips is tapped to play the drums. While fans flock to see the Who, critics don’t like the fact that they’re backed by a cadre of musicians.
The Who is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Join Together (live)
The Who records “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” for an Elton John and Bernie Taupin tribute album. It’s the last studio recording by The Who to feature Entwistle.
Daltrey performs “I Want It All” at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert.
Townshend releases the concept album Psychoderelict. He also releases a book The Who’s Tommy about the Broadway version of his rock opera.
Daltrey celebrates his 50th birthday with a pair of concerts at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Entwistle and Townshend also appear and all three join together during a performance of “Join Together.”
Thirty Years of Maximum R&B (compilation)
Entwistle appears with Ringo Starr's All Starr Band.
The Who performs Quadrophenia at Hyde Park in London for the Prince’s Trust. The shows are well received and the three eventually hold a six-night stand at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The concerts lead to a full-fledge concert tour. It begins Oct. 13 in Portland, Oregon.
Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 (live)
My Generation: The Very Best of the Who (compilation)
The Who continues their 1996 tour with a European leg and another jaunt around North America.
VH1 releases a list of the 100 Greatest Artists of Rock ‘n’ Roll. The Who places ninth.
The Who plays a series of one-off concerts as a five-piece band—Zak Starkey on drums and John Bundrick on keyboards. Their Las Vegas show was broadcasted on television and the internet. They also play Neil Young’s Bridge School Benefit, the House of Blues in Chicago, and two charity shows at the Shepherds Bush Empire in London.
20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best of The Who (compilation)
The Who, again as a five-piece outfit, launch a four-leg, 38-show tour of North America and Europe. Although not officially part of the tour, their outing begins with a charity concert in New York City. It ends with a charity performance at London’s Royal Albert Hall.
BBC Sessions (live)
Blues to the Bush (live)
The Who are honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In October, they play The Concert for New York City.
On June 27, on the eve of the band’s North American tour, John Entwistle is found dead at a Las Vegas hotel. He died from a heart attack induced by cocaine. Townshend and Daltrey decide the show must go on. Fortunately, they are able to secure the talents of bassist Pino Palladino. They rehearse for two days and began the tour on July 1 in Los Angeles at the Hollywood Bowl. The final Who concert of 2002 occurs Sept. 28 in Toronto.
The Ultimate Collection (compilation)
Townshend is placed on the sex offenders register for five years after admitting he used his credit card to visit a site that offered access to child pornography. It’s later revealed that Townshend didn’t visit any child porn sites.
Live at the Royal Albert Hall (live)
The Who undertake a three-leg, 18-show tour which features their first ever performances in Japan and their first shows in Australia since 1968. On their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, Rolling Stone magazine ranks The Who at 29.
“Real Good Looking Boy”
Then and Now (compilation)
The 1st Singles Box (compilation)
The Who performs an acoustic set at a charity concert in New York City. They also perform at Live 8. On his blog, Townshend posts a novella, The Boy Who Heard Music. The prose inspires the mini-opera “Wire & Glass.” The band is inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame.
Zak Starkey is invited to join The Who. He declines so he can play for both The Who and Oasis. On June 7, The Who begins a massive tour to support Endless Wire.
“Wire & Glass”
“It’s Not Enough”
Live from Toronto (live)
Wire & Glass (EP)
On Oct. 6, The Who concludes a 112-concert tour that began in 2006. The Amazing Journey: The Story of the Who (documentary film) is released.
View from a Backstage Pass (live)
The Who performs at the Teenage Cancer Trust Benefit concert in London, VH1 Rock Honors in Los Angeles, and Rock Band 2 launch party (also in L.A). The Who kicks off a modest world tour on Oct. 21. Their route includes stops in Japan.
Amazing Journey: The Story of the Who (soundtrack)
The Who continues the tour they started in 2008 with seven shows in Oceania and another appearance at the Teenage Cancer Trust Benefit. The Amazing Journey: The Story of the Who receives a Grammy nomination.
Greatest Hits (compilation)
The Who rocks the halftime show at Super Bowl XLIV. On March 30, The Who performs Quadrophenia at the Royal Albert Hall for the Teenage Cancer Trust Concert.
Greatest Hits Live (live)
Greatest Hits & More (compilation)
The Who plays four songs at the Killing Cancer Benefit in London at the Hammersmith Apollo.
Icon 2 (compilation)
The Who is the final act at the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics. They also play 12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief. Their “Quadrophenia and More” tour begins Nov. 1 in Sunrise, Florida.
Live at Hull (live)
Pinball Wizard: The Collection (compilation)
The Who wraps up their “Quadrophenia and More” tour on July 8. In October, Townshend tells the media that The Who will tour for one more time in 2015.
Kenny Jones plays with The Who in June at a charity concert. Later in the year, The Who releases their itinerary for their “The Who Hits 50!” tour. The sojourn gets underway in late November in Abu Dhabi.
Quadrophenia: Live In London (live)
The Who Hits 50! (compilation)
The Who launches the “final” tour of their career on April 15. It ends Nov. 4 in Philadelphia.
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