He might had once loudly and proudly sung “Hope I Die Before I Get Hold”, but getting old is a privilege, and he’s here to prove it
The Who’s Roger Daltrey turns 76
One of the most legendary and iconic Rock singer and frontmen ever, Roger Daltrey influenced and continues to influence generations of singers, with his unique vocals and charismatic stage presence.
Roger Harry Daltrey was born on March 1, 1944 in West London, England. He rose to fame during the mid 1960’s as the lead singer of The Who. Daltrey is one of the original founders of The Who and together with other bands such as The Beatles, Rolling Stones and The Kinks, among others, they became part of what was named The British Invasion. But The Who sound was different from their contemporaries. Pete Townshend loud and sloppy guitar style, Keith Moon’s unique drumming and John Entwistle’s original bass playing made the band an original combination of sound, that contrary to a lot of the bands at the time, didn’t used Blues as their main influence. Instead, they became part of a new music style and movement: Mod. The Who are one of the few bands from the 60’s accepted and mentioned as influence to the 70’s Punk generation. The band scored the 1965 UK No.2 single, the iconic “My Generation” considered one of their signature songs, plus over 20 other UK hit singles, 16 US Top 40 singles, as well as the then novelty rock opera albums “Tommy” and “Quadrophenia”. Overall, The Who released 14 singles that entered the Top 10 charts in the United Kingdom during the 1960’s, 1970’s, and 1980’s, including “I Can’t Explain”, “My Generation”, “Substitute”, “I’m a Boy”, “Happy Jack”, “Pictures of Lily”, “Pinball Wizard”, “Won’t Get Fooled Again”, and “You Better You Bet”.
But not everything were roses for the band, and during the early stage of their success, other members of the Who expelled Daltrey from the band in late 1965 after he beat up their drummer Keith Moon for supplying illegal drugs to Townshend and Entwistle, causing him to re-examine his methods of dealing with people. A week later, Daltrey was admitted back to the band, but was told he’d be on probation. He promised that there would be no more violent outbursts or assaults. Daltrey recalled, “I thought if I lost the band I was dead. If I didn’t stick with the Who, I would be a sheet metal worker for the rest of my life.”
That same year, they gained worldwide popularity with their breakthrough single, “My Generation”, Daltrey’s Townshend-inspired stuttering expression of youthful anger, frustration, and arrogance captured the revolutionary feeling of the 1960’s for many young people around the world and became the band’s trademark. Later, his scream near the end of “Won’t Get Fooled Again” became a defining moment in Rock music history.
During the late 1960’s the band participated in practically every important and biggest Rock festival of the era, Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, Woodstock in 1969, Isle Of Wight in 1970. Among their many infamous concerts, known for smashing instruments and feedback, was the one they co-headlined with The Doors in New York, 1968. Both bands were accused of sparkling a riot in the audience which ended with several injuries and broken chairs. Daltrey launched a solo career in 1973, while still a member of the Who. Since then, he has released eight studio album and his solo hits include “Giving It All Away”, “Walking the Dog”, “Written on the Wind” and “Free Me”. He also became an actor, first during that same period in Ken Russell’s adaptation of “Tommy”. He played the lead role, and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for “Best Acting Debut in a Motion Picture”. After a very successful 1970’s decade, where they hardened their sound, distancing from their early Mod Rock into a more Hard Rock approach, drummer Keith Moon died from a drug overdose in 1978, shortly after the band released their album “Who Are You”. They went on replacing Moon with Kenny Jones but tension among the band dictate an ending to The Who.
Daltrey focused on his acting career both on stage, TV and film, and during the 1990’s, in 1992, Daltrey appeared in the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, singing the hard rock Queen song “I Want It All”, to pay homage to his friend Freddie Mercury, who died the previous year when. During that period, The Who gained a new generation of fans, the three remaining original members of the band returned as the Who in a stripped-down, five-piece line-up for tours in 1999–2000.
After Entwistle’s death in June 2002, both Daltrey and Townshend decided to continue with an already planned tour as the Who, and they’re still performing and filling up venues. On 22 March 2018, Pete Townshend stated that a new Who album should feature original songs by Daltrey as well as him. Roger Daltrey was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 as a member of The Who. He might had loudly and proudly sung “Hope I Die Before I Get Hold”, but getting old is a privilege, and Daltrey, now 75, proves it.
Watch The Who concert Live at The Isle Of Wight Festival, UK, 1970, with Roger Daltrey at his best
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