105 Facts About Pete Townshend


Peter Dennis Blandford Townshend is an English musician.

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Pete Townshend is co-founder, leader, guitarist, second lead vocalist and principal songwriter of the Who, one of the most influential rock bands of the 1960s and 1970s.

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Pete Townshend has written more than 100 songs for 12 of the Who's studio albums.

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Pete Townshend has written more than 100 songs that have appeared on his solo albums, as well as radio jingles and television theme songs.

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Pete Townshend has contributed to and authored many newspaper and magazine articles, book reviews, essays, books, and scripts, and he has collaborated as a lyricist and composer for many other musical acts.

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In 1983, Pete Townshend received the Brit Award for Lifetime Achievement and in 1990 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Who.

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Pete Townshend was ranked No 3 in Dave Marsh's 1994 list of Best Guitarists in The New Book of Rock Lists.

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Pete Townshend was born in Chiswick, west London at the Chiswick Hospital, Netheravon Road.

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Pete Townshend came from a musical family: his father, Cliff Townshend, was a professional alto saxophonist in the Royal Air Force's dance band the Squadronaires and his mother, Betty, was a singer with the Sydney Torch and Les Douglass Orchestras.

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Cliff Pete Townshend was often away from his family touring with his band while Betty carried on affairs with other men.

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Pete Townshend's neighbourhood was one-third Polish, and a devout Jewish family upstairs shared their housing with them and cooking with them—many of his father's closest friends were Jewish.

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Pete Townshend says he did not have many friends growing up, so he spent much of his boyhood reading adventure novels like Gulliver's Travels and Treasure Island.

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Pete Townshend enjoyed his family's frequent excursions to the seaside and the Isle of Man.

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However, both became influenced by the increasing popularity of rock 'n' roll, with Pete Townshend particularly admiring Cliff Richard's debut single, "Move It".

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Pete Townshend left the Confederates after getting into a fight with the group's drummer, Chris Sherwin, and purchased a "reasonably good Czechoslovakian guitar" at his mother's antique shop.

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Pete Townshend's brothers Paul and Simon were born in 1957 and 1960, respectively.

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Pete Townshend ultimately chose to study graphic design at Ealing Art College, enrolling in 1961.

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At Ealing, Pete Townshend studied alongside future Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood.

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In 1963, Pete Townshend's father arranged an amateur recording of "It Was You", the first song his son ever wrote.

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In June 1964, during a performance at the Railway Tavern, Pete Townshend accidentally broke the top of his guitar on the low ceiling and proceeded to destroy the entire instrument.

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Pete Townshend wrote a song, "I Can't Explain", as a deliberate sound-alike of the Kinks, another group Talmy produced.

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Lambert encouraged Pete Townshend to write longer pieces of music for the next album, which became "A Quick One, While He's Away".

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Pete Townshend developed this style after watching Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards warm up before a show.

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Pete Townshend took to trashing his hotel suites, though not to the extent of his bandmate Moon.

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Pete Townshend began to develop a musical piece about a deaf, dumb, and blind boy who would experience sensations musically.

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Pete Townshend began to feel alienated, and the project was abandoned after he suffered a nervous breakdown.

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Pete Townshend began writing songs for another rock opera in 1973.

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Pete Townshend decided it would explore the mod subculture and its clashes with Rockers in the early 1960s in the UK.

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On 14 April 1974, Pete Townshend played his first solo concert, a benefit to raise funds for a London community centre.

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Pete Townshend was nominated for an Academy Award for scoring and adapting the music in the film.

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Pete Townshend remained the primary songwriter and leader of the group, writing over 100 songs which appeared on the band's eleven studio albums.

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Pete Townshend revisited album-length storytelling throughout his career and remains associated with the rock opera form.

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Pete Townshend is one of the key figures in the development of feedback in rock guitar.

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Pete Townshend didn't get into twiddling with the dials on the amplifier until much later.

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Pete Townshend was the first to break his guitar, and he was the first to do a lot of things.

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Pete Townshend collaborated with the Faces' bassist and fellow Meher Baba devotee Ronnie Lane on a duet album .

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In 1979 Pete Townshend produced and performed guitar on the novelty single "Peppermint Lump" by Angie on Stiff Records, featuring 11-year-old Angela Porter on lead vocals.

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Pete Townshend made several solo appearances during the 1970s, two of which were captured on record: Eric Clapton's Rainbow Concert in January 1973, and the Paul McCartney-sponsored Concerts for the People of Kampuchea in December 1979.

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Pete Townshend got the chance to play with his hero Hank Marvin for Paul McCartney's "Rockestra" sessions, along with other rock musicians such as David Gilmour, John Bonham, and Ronnie Lane.

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Pete Townshend has recorded several concert albums, including one featuring a supergroup he assembled called Deep End, with David Gilmour on guitar, who performed just three concerts and a television show session for The Tube, to raise money for his Double-O charity, supporting drug addicts.

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McAnuff and Pete Townshend later co-produced the animated film The Iron Giant, based on the Hughes story.

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On 2 September 2017 in Lenox, Massachusetts, Pete Townshend embarked with fellow singer and musician Billy Idol, tenor Alfie Boe, and an orchestra on a short "Classic Quadrophenia" US tour which ended on 16 September 2017 in Los Angeles, California.

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Pete Townshend published a semi-autobiographical story The Boy Who Heard Music as a serial on a blog beginning in September 2005.

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On 22 March 2018, Pete Townshend stated that a new Who album should feature original songs by Roger Daltrey as well as him.

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On 24 January 2012 Pete Townshend sold the rights to all of his back catalog and much of his future work including Floss The Musical if it is ever completed.

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Pete Townshend summarized the work in an interview with Sirius Satellite Radio published February 2010.

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Pete Townshend was born ten days after Nazi Germany surrendered in the Second World War and grew up in the shadow of reconstruction in and around London.

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Pete Townshend was strongly influenced by cellist Malcolm Cecil, who often damaged his cello during performances, along with Gustav Metzger, pioneer of auto-destructive art.

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Pete Townshend has used Guild, Takamine and Gibson J-200 acoustic models, with the J-200 providing his signature recorded acoustic sound in such songs as "Pinball Wizard".

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Pete Townshend used this guitar at the Woodstock and Isle of Wight shows in 1969 and 1970, as well as the Live at Leeds performance in 1970.

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Pete Townshend can be seen using several of these guitars in the documentary The Kids Are Alright, although in the studio he often played a '59 Gretsch 6120 guitar, most notably on the albums Who's Next and Quadrophenia.

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Since the late-1980s, Pete Townshend has used the Fender Eric Clapton Signature Stratocaster, with Lace Sensor pick-ups, both in the studio and on tour.

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Pete Townshend used the Gibson ES-335, one of which he donated to the Hard Rock Cafe.

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Pete Townshend used a Gibson EDS-1275 double-neck very briefly circa late 1967, and both a Harmony Sovereign H1270 and a Fender Electric XII for the studio sessions for Tommy for the 12-string guitar parts.

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Pete Townshend occasionally used Fender Jazzmasters on stage in 1967 and 1968 and in the studio for Tommy.

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Pete Townshend figured prominently in the development of what is widely known in rock circles as the "Marshall stack".

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Pete Townshend has always regarded his instruments as being merely tools of the trade and has, in latter years, kept his most prized instruments well away from the concert stage.

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Synths Pete Townshend was referring to included the EMS VCS3 and ARP 2600, some of which modified a Lowrey TBO Berkshire organ.

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Pete Townshend was featured in ARP promotional materials in the early 1970s.

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Since the late 1980s Pete Townshend has predominantly used Synclavier Digital Audio systems for keyboard composition, particularly solo albums and projects.

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Pete Townshend currently owns three systems, one large Synclavier 9600 Tapeless Studio system, originally installed in his riverside Oceanic Studio, later transferred to a seagoing barge moored alongside the studio on the River Thames, and currently based in his home studio.

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Pete Townshend uses a special adapted smaller Synclavier 3200 system which can be transported, enabling him to carry on working away from his main studio.

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The third system Pete Townshend owns is one of the first Synclavier II systems ever built.

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Pete Townshend wrote three sizeable essays for Rolling Stone magazine, the first of which appeared in November 1970.

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Also in 1977, Pete Townshend founded Eel Pie Publishing, which specialised in children's titles, music books, and several Meher Baba-related publications.

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In July 1983, Pete Townshend took a position as an acquisitions editor for London publisher Faber and Faber.

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Pete Townshend commissioned Dave Rimmer's Like Punk Never Happened, and was commissioning editor for radical playwright Steven Berkoff.

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Pete Townshend has written several scripts spanning the breadth of his career, including numerous drafts of his elusive Lifehouse project, the last of which, co-written with radio playwright Jeff Young, was published in 1999.

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In 1978, Pete Townshend wrote a script for Fish Shop, a play commissioned but not completed by London Weekend Television, and in mid-1984 he wrote a script for White City: A Novel which led to a short film.

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In 1993, Pete Townshend authored another book, The Who's Tommy, a chronicle of the development of the award-winning Broadway version of his rock opera.

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In September 2005, Pete Townshend began posting a novella online entitled The Boy Who Heard Music as background for a musical of the same name.

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Pete Townshend posted a chapter each week until it was completed, and novella was available to read at his website for several months.

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Pete Townshend swiftly absorbed all of Meher Baba's writings that he could find; by April 1968, he announced himself Baba's disciple.

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At about this time, Pete Townshend, who had been searching the past two years for a basis for a rock opera, created a story inspired by the teachings of Baba and other writings and expressing the enlightenment he believed that he had received from them, which ultimately became Tommy.

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In interviews Pete Townshend was more open about his beliefs, penning an article on Baba for Rolling Stone magazine in 1970 and stating that following Baba's teachings, he was opposed to the use of all psychedelic drugs, making him one of the first rock stars with counterculture credibility to turn against their use.

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Pete Townshend met Karen Astley, daughter of film composer Edwin Astley, while in art school.

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Pete Townshend has since been in a romantic relationship with arranger and musician Rachel Fuller, whom he secretly married in 2016.

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Pete Townshend lived at The Wick, Richmond, London, England, but sold the house in August 2021 for more than £15 million.

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Pete Townshend owns a house in Churt, Surrey, and in 2010 purchased a lease of part of the National Trust property Ashdown House in Oxfordshire.

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The Met stated that "it was established that Mr Pete Townshend was not in possession of any downloaded child abuse images".

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Authorities could not prove that the website accessed by Pete Townshend involved children, and no incriminating evidence was found on his personal computer.

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Pete Townshend suffers from partial deafness and tinnitus, likely the result of noise-induced hearing loss from his extensive exposure to loud music.

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Pete Townshend has attributed the start of his hearing loss to Keith Moon's famous exploding drum set during the Who's 1967 appearance on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.

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In 1998, Pete Townshend was named in a list of the biggest private financial donors to the UK Labour Party.

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In 1961 while in art school, Pete Townshend joined the Young Communist League and was a prominent figure in their 1966 "Trend" recruitment campaign.

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Pete Townshend has woven a long history of involvement with various charities and other philanthropic efforts throughout his career, both as a solo artist and with the Who.

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Pete Townshend's first solo concert, for example, was a 1974 benefit show which was organised to raise funds for the Camden Square Community Play Centre.

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The following year, the association was moved to another Pete Townshend-owned apartment, the Eccleston Square former residence of his wife Karen.

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Pete Townshend sat on a committee which oversaw the operation and finances of the centre.

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In 1969 and 1972, Pete Townshend produced two limited-release albums, Happy Birthday and I Am, for the London-based Baba association.

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In July 1976, Pete Townshend opened Meher Baba Oceanic, a London activity centre for Baba followers, which featured film dubbing and editing facilities, a cinema and a recording studio.

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Pete Townshend offered very economical lodging for American followers who needed an overnight stay on their pilgrimages to India.

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Pete Townshend embarked on a project dedicated to the collection, restoration and maintenance of Meher Baba-related films.

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Pete Townshend performed at a 1995 benefit organised by Paul Simon at Madison Square Garden's Paramount Theatre for the Children's Health Fund.

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The following year, Pete Townshend performed at a benefit for the annual Bridge School Benefit, a California facility for children with severe speech and physical impairments, with concerts organised by Neil and Pegi Young.

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In 1997, Pete Townshend established a relationship with Maryville Academy, a Chicago area children's charity.

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In 2005, Pete Townshend performed at New York's Gotham Hall for Samsung's Four Seasons of Hope, an annual children's charity fundraiser.

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Pete Townshend personally sold fund-raising anti-heroin T-shirts at a series of UK Bruce Springsteen concerts and reportedly financed a trip for former Clash drummer Topper Headon to undergo drug rehabilitation treatment.

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In 1979 Pete Townshend donated his services to the human rights organisation Amnesty International when he performed three songs for its benefit show The Secret Policeman's Ball – performances that were released on record and seen in the film of the show.

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Pete Townshend had been invited to perform for Amnesty by Martin Lewis, the producer of The Secret Policeman's Ball, who stated later that Pete Townshend's participation had been the key to his securing the subsequent participation for Amnesty of Sting, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Phil Collins and Bob Geldof.

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Pete Townshend released several albums dedicated to his spiritual mentor Meher Baba, listed on the discography page.

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In 1968 Pete Townshend helped assemble a band called Thunderclap Newman consisting of three musicians he knew.

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Pete Townshend produced the band and played bass on their recordings under the tongue-in-cheek pseudonym "Bijou Drains".

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In 1984 Townshend contributed lyrics to the track "I'm the Answer" on his brother Simon's debut solo album Sweet Sound which was released as a single and features Townshend and Simon on an interview that wrongly names that the track was by "Peter Townshend".

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In 2006 Pete Townshend opened a website for implementation of The Lifehouse Method based on his 1971 Lifehouse concept.

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