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The Who
"Have been one of my favourite groups for years..."
John Peel, Disc & Music Echo, 1968-11-02

The Who were among the very biggest names in rock music in the late 1960s and 1970s, with a line-up of lead singer Roger Daltrey, guitarist Pete Townshend, bassist John Entwistle, and drummer Keith Moon. They came to fame in the mid-1960s, were associated with the Mod movement and were one of the first groups to experiment with sound, using feedback and pure noise in tracks like "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere". They also experimented with longer forms, as in the "mini-opera" which was the title track of their 1966 LP A Quick One and led to the full-scale rock opera Tommy (1969).

They made the transition into the psychedelic era; Townshend was one of the first pop stars to be interviewed by International Times in February 1967 and became a regular visitor to London's UFO club. The Who won a new audience with their dynamic performances at festivals like Monterey (1967), Woodstock (1969) and the Isle of Wight (1969, 1970), becoming one of the most popular live acts of the 1970s and beyond. Even in the changed musical landscape after 1976, their 1965 "My Generation" anthem continued to find a place in the Festive Fifty, while a new generation of musicians such as The Jam paid their respects and the release of the film version of Quadrophenia sparked something of a mod revival. In 1982, the band's 1967 single "I Can See For Miles" inspired Colin Miles and Mark Rye to name their newly-founded label, dedicated to reissuing material from the 1950s, '60s and '70s, See For Miles Records.

Links To Peel Edit

Peel was aware of the Who when he was living in the USA and working for radio station KMEN in San Bernardino, California. He personally compiled the station's British chart, including records he liked; the EP Ready, Steady, Who appears in the chart dated 2 December 1966. After returning to Britain, he obtained a copy of the LP A Quick One and played tracks from it on the Perfumed Garden, including "Run, Run, Run" which can be found on the final PG of 14 August 1967. The DJ also played the single of two Rolling Stones songs, "Under My Thumb/The Last Time", which the Who recorded and released in July 1967 as a gesture of support for Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, who had just received prison sentences (later to be overturned) for drug possession. He continued to play the group's records as they appeared, interviewing the band for Dutch TV when The Who Sell Out was due to be released, in October 1967 (see below), and describing the newly-issued Tommy on the "son of Night Ride" show of 07 May 1969 as "the best LP since Sergeant Pepper".

The band's drummer, Keith Moon, sat in for Peel for the second hour of the DJ's Tuesday slot with A Touch Of Moon, produced by John Walters, for four shows between 21 August 1973 and 11 September 1973. In 1976 Peel narrated a TV advert promoting The Who's album The Story Of The Who and in 2000 narrated the TV documentary The Real ... Keith Moon. Moon guested on the first of Peel's late-night programmes, following the demise of Top Gear (see below); the DJ previewed the drummer's appearance on the final Top Gear, saying that John Entwistle would guest on the second show, "if there's anything left of the studio" after Moon's visit.

The Who are mentioned three times in Peel's autobiography, Margrave Of The Marshes, completed by this wife Sheila:

  • {pg 102): I can remember one night when I couldn't sleep because John was downstairs with Marc Bolan and they were playing an advance copy of Tommy by The Who over and over again with the volume cranked up.
  • (pg 193): We took a driving holiday in Europe in summer 1969, accompanied by John's brother Alan, blasting out The Who and Leonard Cohen and Captain Beefheart on the superb eight-track cartridge system in the Dormobile.
  • (pg 199): There was a similar incident at a gig in Birmingham with The Who, where Keith Moon collapsed at his drumkit. John helped to drag him off stage, where he was roused with a bucket of cold water in the face before being carried past me and plonked behind his kit again. (This appears to have taken place at a gig in Mothers on 1969-07-19. See also Gigography 1969.)

The band also crop up in Olivetti Chronicles, a collection of Peel's journalism:

  • (pg 205) Sounds 1973-12-01: From here the debate moved onto weightier matters and I found myself trying to explain why I like the Faces, the Floyd and The Who, but not ELP, Yes and Focus.
  • (pg 297-8) Sounds 1975-04-05: Peel describes at great length the premiere of the film Tommy before concluding, "Oh, alright then. I wasn't invited."
  • (pg13) Sounds 1976-08-14: reference to a retrospective on the band (see below, Other Shows Played).
  • (pg 72) The Listener 1976-04-22: Although I have a lot of time for them myself - after all, I grew up with them - I am astounded that such ageing combos as The Who, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and the Pink Floyd still dominate the romping and stomping field.

The Complete Chronicle Of The Who (Andrew Neill & Matthew Kent) contains four entries that mention Peel:

  • 1967-10-21: Around this time, Pete (Townshend) played an acetate of a rough mix of "Armenia City In The Sky" to Radio 1 DJ John Peel while being interviewed for Dutch television at Track's Old Compton Street office. Townshend displayed the proposed artwork for The Who Sell Out and discussed the album's thematic advertising link, as well as the difference between selling records and playing concerts. This "John Peel Special Report" appeared in Vjoew, transmitted Monday 30th October, 7:03-7:55 pm on Nederland 2. (Part of this footage may have been used in the band's Amazing Journey documentary).
  • 1969-01-22: On the 22nd, a nine minute interview for Dutch television by John Peel, filmed at Regents Park Zoo (date unknown), was screened on Later, 7:13-7:55 pm on Nederland 2. "We were told that the Dutch can't say 'Who', so could we say 'Woo!' " Peel explained. " 'Tell me, Pete, what are the plans for The Woo?!' 'Well, John, The Woo aren't merely a singles group and I'm working on a rock opera especially for The Woo!' 'A Woo opera, eh Pete? Strong stuff,' and so on.
  • 1975-03-07: At Broadcasting House, London, Pete recorded an interview with John Peel, previewing the Tommy soundtrack for a two and a half Radio 1 Rock Week special, broadcast 5:00-7:30 pm the following day.
  • 1975-10-01/02: Keith (Moon) and John (Entwistle) appeared on respective nights as guests on John Peel's new Radio 1 programme, broadcast 11:00-12:00 pm, previewing a side each of The Who By Numbers. Neither of them had heard the final mixes. "This will be as much of a surprise for me as it will be for you," said Keith, confessing he hadn't heard most of the vocals.

After Peel's death, the band's singer, Roger Daltrey, would appear on John Peel's Record Box.

Festive Fifty Entries Edit

Sessions Edit

The band released a BBC Sessions collection, which contains several of the tracks below, although it is largely drawn from the pre-1967 period before the launch of Radio One, when Peel joined the BBC.

1. Recorded: 1967-10-10. First broadcast: 15 October 1967 (Top Gear compered by Pete Drummond & Tommy Vance)

  • Pictures Of Lily / Our Love Was / I Can See For Miles / I Can't Reach You / A Quick One While He's Away / Jingles (Top Gear #1, Top Gear #2, Radio 1 #1, Radio 1 #2) / Happy Jack / Jingle (& See My Way, Someone's Coming)

Other Shows Played Edit

The list below was researched only from the database of this site, with only limited tracklistings available for the band's peak period. Please add further information if known.

1960s
1970s
  • 09 May 1970: Substitute (LP – Live At Leeds) Decca
  • 18 July 1970: Heaven And Hell (7" b-side Summertime Blues) Polydor
  • 18 February 1972: Run, Run, Run (LP - )
  • 12 May 1972: I Can See For Miles (LP - Backtrack 1) Track
  • 02 June 1972: Disguises (EP) Reaction
  • 06 June 1972: Join Together (single) Track
  • 09 June 1972: Join Together (single) Track
  • 08 August 1972: Young Man (LP - Live At Leeds) Track
  • 01 September 1972: Run Run Run (LP - A Quick One) Reaction
  • 24 April 1973: Substitute (single) Reaction
  • 08 July 1975: Rock Week special preview of the Tommy soundtrack (see above)
  • 01 October 1975: Keith Moon appears as special guest on new John Peel Show, previewing one side of The Who By Numbers (see above)
  • 02 October 1975: John Entwistle as special guest, previewing the other side of The Who By Numbers (see above)
  • 09 August 1976: retrospective show dedicated to The Who (no tracklisting details available). First in series of ten.
  • 15 August 1978: New Song (LP – Who Are You)' (Polydor)
  • 17 August 1978: Guitar & Pen (LP – Who Are You) Polydor
  • 18 August 1978: 905 (album - Who Are You) Polydor (Peel also plays a clip of him on Kaleidoscope on Radio 4 discussing with Paul Gambaccini an exhibition of Who memoribilia at the ICA, making fun of his own accent)
  • 30 August 1978: Guitar And Pen (album - Who Are You) Polydor WHOD 5004
  • 07 September 1978: I Can’t Explain (day of death of Keith Moon, Paul Gambaccini hosting Peel show)
  • 18 January 1979: 5.15
  • 16 April 1979: Long Live Rock
  • 05 June 1979: I Can See For Miles (LP - The Kids Are Alright) Polydor (JP: "I always thought that was the Who's best song, you know.") (John had bumped into Pete Townshend outside Broadcasting House on his return to London. Townshend and John Entwistle had been guests on Kid Jensen's show earlier in the evening.)
  • 11 June 1979: My Generation (LP - The Kids Are Alright) Polydor
  • 10 September 1979: Get Out And Stay Out (LP - Quadrophenia OST) Polydor
  • 13 September 1979: Four Faces (v/a LP - Quadrophenia (Music From The Soundtrack Of The Who Film)) Polydor
  • 17 September 1979: I Am The Sea
1980s
1990s
2000s
Roger Daltrey
  • 01 May 1973: One Man Band (LP – Daltrey) Track
  • 03 May 1973: The Way of The World (LP – Daltrey) Track
  • 15 May 1973: You Are Yourself (LP – Daltrey) Track
  • 07 July 1975: Get Your Love (single) Polydor
  • D030 (1975 unknown date): Walking The Dog (LP - Ride A Rock Horse) Polydor
  • 12 May 1977: One of The Boys / Leon (LP-One Of The Boys) Polydor
Pete Townshend
  • 13 June 1970: Begin The Beguine (LP - Happy Birthday) Universal Spiritual League 1
  • 20 June 1972: Classified (3xLP – Glastonbury Fayre – The Electric Score) Revelation
  • 27 June 1970: Content (LP - Happy Birthday) Universal Spiritual League 1
  • 07 July 1972: Classified (3xLP – Glastonbury Fayre - The Electric Score) Revelation
  • 20 June 1972: Classified (3xLP – Glastonbury Fayre – The Electric Score) Revelation
  • 13 March 1980: Rough Boys (single) Atco (Peel is appearing on on the following evening's Roundtable with The Who guitarist and Nick Lowe)
  • 17 March 1980: Rough Boys (7”) WEA
  • 01 May 1980: And I Moved (LP – Empty Glass) ATCO
  • 23 June 1980: Won't Get Fooled Again (unknown) (Transcribed as Pete Townshend, but no evidence of a released solo version, so likely to have been the Who.)
  • 28 November 1983 (with T-Bone Burnett): Fatally Beautiful (EP - Radio Sampler) Warner Brothers
Keith Moon
  • 17 April 1975: The Kids Are Alright (LP - Two Sides of the Moon) Polydor
John Entwistle
  • 21 June 1973: Peg Leg Peggy (LP: Rigor Mortis Sets In) MCA
  • 26 June 1973: Roller Skate Kate (LP: Rigor Mortis Sets In) MCA

Covered Edit

Peel played many covers of Who songs by other artists, most notably those featured during “Tommy (In Seven Minutes)” on the Dumbrock Vol 5 7”, which he played on 01 January 1994. The following list is compiled only from the Cover Versions page of this site. Please add more information if known.

Covering Artist | Song | First Known Play

External Links Edit

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