October 21, 2020

Today in Whostory: 8/16/2020

1963 – The Detours play the Goldhawk Social Club in Shepard’s Bush

1964 – The High Numbers follow The Kinks, then super-hot with their new song “You Really Got Me”, and open for The Beatles, all during one Sunday night at the Blackpool Opera House. It is one of only two times that the band plays the same venue as the Liverpudlian Four. More than one writer has suggested that John Lennon takes the idea of using feedback at the beginning of that November’s Beatles single “I Feel Fine” from watching Pete’s feedback-laden performance on this night.

The High Numbers manage to make an impression despite the strong competition thanks not only to their performance but also to new professional stage lighting designed for them by Mike Shaw. When The High Numbers leave the stage, their Marshall stacks are removed and replaced with the Beatles’ equipment. John Entwistle later remembers the Beatles’ amps as half the size of what The High Numbers are already using. After the show the Numbers get a taste of Beatlemania as hysterical Beatle fans attack them as they leave the show, desperate for any souvenir of any band, ripping off pieces of their clothing and unknowingly ending up with Who collectibles.

1965 – The Who make their first stab at recording their next single “My Generation” at The City Of London Studios

1968 – The Who play the Selling Arena in Fresno, California

1969 – Thunderclap Newman’s “Something In The Air,” produced by Pete and with him on bass, hits the U.S. charts. It peaks at #37 in Billboard and #45 in Cash Box. You can watch Thunderclap Newman performing on Beat Club here

1969 – The Who arrive by helicopter in Woodstock, New York for the Woodstock Festival. It is at this point that they are informed that the festival has been moved to Bethel, New York some forty miles away. The Who, along with Pete’s wife Karen and infant daughter Emma and Roger’s future wife Heather, set off by car. Pete: “”people coming up to me – ‘You’re going to Woodstock? You’re crazy. Turn back, go home, there’s millions of people there, the food’s poisonous and the water…’ Well, I immediately got into an incredible state and I rejected everyone. I wouldn’t talk to anyone. And I was telling really nice people like Richie Havens to fuck off and things like that. And it just got to a point where when we finally did get out of the helicopter and the helicopter never arrived and we eventually got in a queue of cars it took about six hours to get there. Well, we got there and then we waited another ten hours in the mud; the first cup of coffee I had had acid in it. I could fucking taste it.” Now that they are in a really bad mood, the promoters tell the band that, since Woodstock is now a “free festival”, they do not have the money on hand to pay them but can write them a check. The Who will have none of it leading to a fourteen-hour standoff as The Who refuse to take the stage. Finally a bank manager is flown in by helicopter with money, the standoff ends.

1971 – The Who play the Mississippi River Festival at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, Illinois

1972 – The Who play Forest National in Brussels, Belgium

1979 – The movie version of Quadrophenia goes into general release. Arriving just as the retro-Mod movement is reaching its peak in the U.K., Quadrophenia the movie becomes a cult favorite and provides a collection of iconic scenes that will have influence in Britain decades later. Sting begins his acting career with this movie and a host of future British movie and television actors such as Ray Winstone, Phil Daniels, Leslie Ash and Philip Davis get their start here.

1980 – The soundtrack album to Roger’s film McVicar hits the U.S. charts, reaching as high as #22 there

1989 – The Who play the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington. A loose tremolo bar impales Pete’s hand in mid-windmill during the conclusion of “Won’t Get Fooled Again”, driving the bar through the webbing between the fourth and fifth fingers. He is rushed to hospital where he gets stitched up. The rest of the band continues with the encore absent their pierced axeman.

1997 – The Who play the Coral Sky Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach, Florida

1998 – Pete plays at The House of Blues in Chicago, Illinois. The concert benefits the Maryville Academy. This show is released on CD the following year.

2000 – The Who play the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Irvine, California

2007 – On the Bravo TV reality show Welcome to the Parker called “The Business of Pleasure” the staff of the Parker scrambles to find rooms at their overbooked hotel for The Who.

2017 – The Who play the Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys in Stateline, Nevada

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