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The World According to Pete Townshend

06/27/2011
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(Gibson) As a songwriter, Pete Townshend merged great rock and roll with a novelist's sense of narrative on such masterworks as Tommy and Quadrophenia. Similarly, his interviews often read like works of art themselves, filled, as they are, with provocative commentary on everything from the power of the three-minute pop song to brilliant dissections of the guitar styles of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and himself. Next fall, Townshend's much-anticipated memoir, Who He?, will at last see the light of day. In the meantime, we scoured an array of past interviews to uncover some of his most revealing insights.

On writing for The Who, as told to Performing Songwriter in 2002: "I always wrote toward the strengths of the band. On 'My Generation,' I made the demo with a six-string bass and played a solo because I knew that would suit John. I put in a stutter because Roger and I were both huge fans of John Lee Hooker and Johnny Cash, and both of them occasionally stuttered. When I started to employ drums on my demos, I tried not to overplay, but I certainly would have played like Keith sometimes if I could."

On his initial impression of Hendrix, as told in the documentary, The History of Rock and Roll, in 1995: "He did things which were magical. I don't think he knew he was doing them or that he could do them, but he'd do things with his body that were very, very beautiful to look at, yet accompanied by these incredibly wild noises. It was some kind of strange alchemy. He demonstrated that there was actually such a thing as physical poetry in rock, something that was very close to ballet." more on this story

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