October 24, 2021

Today in Whostory: 9/21/2021

1965 – The Who play for 450 people at Da Marathon Club in The Hague, Holland. Having brought no amplifiers, they have to borrow equipment from the group The Hajues but eight songs later The Who have damaged their loaners too badly to continue. The promoters somehow manage to talk two other groups, The Golden Earrings and The Empty Hearts to loan some of their equipment so the show can be finished. The Dutch magazine Boulevard reports that throughout the evening The Who are “in discussion with female fans” in the nearby bushes!

1966 – Pete goes to the Newport Pagnell Court in Buckinghamshire over his automobile crash of May 30th. He is fined £25 with £26 costs for dangerous driving.

1966 – The Who tape a performance of “I’m a Boy” for Top of the Pops. Photos are taken of them on stage for later promotion.

1968 – Melody Maker features an interview with Pete by Chris Welch as well as a short note about “Magic Bus” and a full page ad for Marshall – mentioning The Who as a client

1968 – An interview with Keith recorded on the 5th for Radio 1’s Scene And Heard was scheduled, but appears to have not been transmitted

1969 – The Who play the Fairfield Hall in Croydon, Surrey. There is no support on this gig so The Who provide an extended set. The hall provides excellent acoustics and Pete later calls this The Who’s best live performance of Tommy. Alan Lewis, attending this show for Melody Maker, agrees saying The Who are the band to which all others must now be compared. Elton John is in the audience

1970 – The Who play the Vejlby-Risskov Hallen in Aarhus, Denmark. You can listen to the show on YouTube here

1974 – Pete writes a track-by-track review of Odds & Sods for New Musical Express. A truncated version of these notes is included with the album.

1974 – Pete discusses the songs selected for Odds & Sods with Nicky Horne on Capitol Radio’s Your Mother Wouldn’t Like It. During the call-in section, John phones to ask Pete what time he’s going to arrive at Roger’s that Sunday

1982 – The Who hold a press conference in Landover, Maryland as they begin their North American tour.

1985 – Roger appears on the children’s programme Saturday Superstore

1985 – Under a Raging Moon, the LP is released in the U.K. Promotion helps the album reach the U.K. charts unlike his previous solo album. It peaks at #52

1987 – MTV airs the AIDS benefit concert featuring John from April 1st

1991 – Roger attends the AT&T Presents City Kids Foundation Event at Carnegie Hall in New York

2002 – The Who play the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas

2005 – Rachel Fuller begins an online web series called In The Attic. The first show features her and her friend Mikey Cuthbert talking and playing songs in an upstairs room at Pete’s house. Pete, sweaty from a bike ride, joins for the second half and performs “Heart to Hang Onto”.

2006 – The Who play the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, New Jersey

2011 – Roger plays the Mann Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

2017 – The Who play Allianz Parque in São Paulo, Brazil

2020 – Shel Talmy posted the second in a series of articles titled “How The Who became superstars” You can read it here

‘Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere’ was The Who’s second single, released after ‘I Can’t Explain’ had become a hit. In retrospect, while ‘Can’t Explain’ was a fine commercial number, ‘Anyway’ was closer to how the band really sounded, and it became the track that established The Who as a band whose dynamic live performances could be captured on tape.
The band was, as usual, Pete Townshend on electric guitar, John Entwistle on bass, Keith Moon on the drums and lead vocalist Roger Daltrey. This was also the first time I added piano player Nicky Hopkins to a Who session.
While ‘Can’t Explain’ had been done at Pye Studios, I had started recording The Who at IBC on Portland Place in the West End of London, just down the street from the BBC Radio building and near the famous shopping thoroughfare, Oxford Street.
IBC was my studio of choice for so many sessions and different artists, and it deserves some mention.
The studio was in an original Georgian building built in the 1800s, and had a preservation order so that its unique ceiling could not be touched.
The control room was on the second floor, overlooking where the musicians and singers recorded. It was a large room and could have held an orchestra comfortably, but because of the natural acoustics and the modifications IBC’s techs had added, it was just as good for recording bands the size of The Who.
Here’s something you’re unlikely to read elsewhere — the Chinese Embassy was next door to IBC, and every now and then we had to stop recording because of their transmission of what we assumed to be shortwave messages back to China. These were sometimes so powerful, they interfered with our recordings.
If we’d only had James Bond and a dozen code breakers with us, these interruptions coulda been very interesting!
One significance of ‘Anyway’ was that we were experimenting with recording the feedback that Pete got out of his guitar, but also had to exclude unacceptable overall sound distortion that would make the track unusable.
Given the level of technology available in early 1965, that wasn’t easy!
Note that we accomplished it and with the knowledge that we gained, ‘Anyway’ proved to be the precursor for what we were able to build upon with the extra time Pete and I spent perfecting the sound, and that elevated the next single – ‘My Generation’ – to the status of an anthem in public perception, and The Who to that rarified atmosphere of “superstars”.
I want to insert here that that every release that I produced on The Who was a hit, as it ties in with what subsequently transpired.
‘Anyhow Anyway Anywhere’ was recorded on April 29, 1965. The session went off smoothly as we were rehearsed, although we had some false starts and did not nail the version used on the single until the eighth take.
Somehow one of the earlier complete takes somehow ended up on a French EP, without my knowledge – it was probably the Chinese Embassy that did it!
As American Decca was the label with whom we were contracted, I duly shipped the finished master to them in New York, and wired them that it was on the way. Again, as this was 1965, no hint of the Internet was yet on the horizon and the only places you’d find mobile phones in use or an “Apple watch”, a la Dick Tracy’s wrist radio, were in the comics or science fiction stories.
And long-distance phone calls were very expensive from London to New York, so Western Union telegrams were the common method of communication.
The telegram I received from Decca A&R after they had listened to ‘Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere’ read as closely to the following as I can recall, after 55 intervening years:
“We have received the latest Who single and we believe you must have sent the wrong tape, as it is riddled with distortion. Please send a clean copy as we’d like to release the record quickly.”
After sharing the telegram with the band –and finally coming to the end of an uncontrolled fit of the giggles — I wired back that what they heard was indeed what was meant to be there, and that The Who’s growing number of fans would love it!
The answer from Decca was a very reluctant “okay”, which of course changed to beaming smiles once the record was a hit!