THE WHO: Part 5

Penniless Popstars

“The Who are the most exciting thing around.” 

Paul McCartney made that statement to the press in the summer of 1965. The Who’s new single, their approach to fashion and their pontificating in the press were all a challenge to the status quo…But trouble would soon be brewing. 

The story of The Who is a roller coaster ride of highs and lows. In 1965 they finally had chart success. Their ability to be different and make outrageous statements to the press got them plenty of media coverage and prompted two European tours. But crazy twists of fate prevented the band from being “who” they were on both tours and fans were

vocal about their disappointment. The pressures of life on the road was medicated by pills and this lead to other challenges within the band. The experiences almost shattered The Who and it was a broken band that would end the year by recording “just about the grandest statement pop had ever made.”

The Who-Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts is a continuing series so if you haven’t heard Part 4 you may want to listen to Snakes & Ladders first.


A Rock Fashion Icon

Pete Townshend takes a Kit Lambert idea and creates a classic Rock fashion icon that is still being copied by musicians today.

The Lambert & Stamp Factor

These two guys would have an indelible impact on The Who.

Maximum R&B at The Marquee

How The Who attracted an audience to The Marquee for gigs that would become legendary.

Lighting Up the City of Light

The Who play their first gigs outside of the UK in Paris in 1965.

A Sonic Assault

An early Who live show could be a frightening experience for the uninitiated.

My Generation

Hard to believe this youth anthem was ever considered lightweight!

The Real Me

Releasing his natural curls transformed Roger from lead singer to Rock Icon.

THE WHO: Part 4

Snakes & Ladders

By August 1964 The Detours had become The Who and then The High Numbers. Their first single had fizzled upon release in July while at the same time their peers hit success. Beatlemania was in full swing, The Kinks and The Stones had number one hits and the Animals, Manfred Mann and Hermans Hermits were also finding chart success. But fortunes were about to change for The Who with a chance appearance of Kit Lambert at the Railway Hotel. He and his partner Chris Stamp were aspiring moviemakers and after witnessing the power of The High Numbers live they transformed into managers.

Lambert & Stamp would have an indelible impact on the Who, so much so they became known as the 5th & 6th members of the band. They threw themselves into the role, instinctively knowing how to work with the band and within 6 months The Who would have their first hit.

Haven’t heard Part 3 of The Who-Greater Than the Sum of It’s Parts? Listen to “1964” first.


The Who Audition for the BBC

It was close but The Who did pass the audition to be on the BBC’s Top of the Pops. See them cover James Brown in 1965.

The Lambert & Stamp Factor

These two guys would have an indelible impact on The Who.

Maximum R&B at The Marquee

How The Who attracted an audience to The Marquee for gigs that would become legendary.

Be Careful What You Wish For

How The Who captured their early sound on record.

The Power of Change

Small changes over just 6 months totally transformed The Who for success.

The Who’s First Hit

The musical influences that helped Pete Townshend write I Can’t Explain.

The Goldhawk Manifesto

A chance discussion with fans gives Pete Townshend a reason to write songs.

Dark and Hot and Steaming

The Railway Hotel was an incubator for The Who, offering the perfect conditions for growth as a band.

Ready Steady Go!

In January 1965 The Who make their mark with a colourful debut appearance on Ready Steady Go!

The Lambert Master Plan

Manager Kit Lambert got the best out of The Who by encouraging their worst behaviour.

THE WHO: Part 3


1964 was the year The Who became Whole. It was the year of metamorphosis for The Detours. There were name changes, new management, record company auditions and recordings but the single biggest change was the arrival of Keith Moon. Suddenly they were an anchored unit and the energy on stage attracted an audience that wanted more from their music. It was the year the band shed their cover band cocoon to emerge as a powerful R&B flavoured live wrecking crew. 

This is RockDocs Episode #3. If you haven’t heard The Who Part 2 check out Making the Scene first.

Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle, Keith Moon, Pete Townshend


1964 – The Who Became Whole

1964 was the transformative year that changed the fortunes of The Who.

When The Who Became Whole

Keith Moon entered the fray in the spring of 1964, totally by chance.

What’s in a Name

Would The Who be The Who if they were still The Detours?

The Flop of “I’m the Face”

The first single Roger, John, Pete & Keith released was a flop. It wasn’t a bad song but…

The Battle of Brighton

The Who were on hand for the Mods & Rockers clashes in Brighton in spring 1964.


Pete Townshend introduces Gustav Metzger style auto-destructive art to mod fans.

Keith’s Drum Teacher

Keith learned the basics of drumming from one of the flash drummers of the 60’s.

The Pete Meaden Factor

Pete Meaden only worked with The Who for a short time but he played a key role in their ultimate success.

Rock Hallowed Ground

This “scruffy looking pub in Harrow” was a music hub in 1964 and helped create some significant moments in the history of rock.

ROCKDOCS Episode #1:

World War II left Europe in tatters but out of the ashes rose a new sound in music and a youth culture that had never been seen before. American servicemen stationed in Europe had brought blues and rock n roll with them and they shared it via late night radio. UK youngsters were listening and the evolution of music from Big Band to Dixieland, Skiffle and Rock n Roll began. Setting the Stage explores how the war and growing up in post war London fuelled the talent and creativity explosion of the 60’s. (To LISTEN click the Play button in the banner image above)

Side Trax

Britain’s First R n R Song

Britain’s first real RnR song took 37 years to complete. Check out SideTrax to find out why.

Rock Music Started Here

Without this song, rock music as we now know it probably would not exist. Check out SideTrax to find out why.

Britain’s First Rock n Roller

Tommy Steele sort of reminds me of Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters. Check out SideTrax to learn why.

American Big Band leader Glenn Miller was the most popular artist from 1939 – 1943 and his music represents the WWII sound. It was the mash-up “In the Mood” that catapulted his popularity, while his untimely death added to his iconic status. 

“Lili Marlene” was originally a poem written by a 22 year old soldier during the WWI. It was put to music and recorded before the outbreak of WWII but banned by the Nazis for lacking military qualities. Despite that ban, in 1941 it began being broadcast to German troops in North Africa. It became equally loved by both Axis and Allied troops. Here is Marlene Dietrich’s German version of the song.

Setting the Stage photo - Lead Belly

Lead Belly’s Rock Island Line played a pivotal role in the evolution of music in the UK and it has an interesting history