Personalities | The Who | Live & Loud (1966–68) | An Overview

The Who became embroiled in legal proceedings with their record company and producer. Finally extricated from a restrictive contract, the group launched into a period of creative brilliance, spurred on by Townshend’s eloquence and knack for writing the perfect pop single.

Encouraged by Lambert and influenced by classical composers such as Purcell and Scarlatti, Townshend experimented with elaborate arrangements and extended works. His first piece, the spoof ‘Gratis Amatis’, set the tone for what was to come. A project provisionally entitled Eccentrics was cherry-picked for the band’s first mini-opera A Quick One, While He’s Away. ‘Rael’, on the third album, allowed Townshend to hone his skills further. At the same time, non-stop touring saw the band forge a fine reputation, although backstage bust-ups still occurred with alarming alacrity. During their first tour of America, The Who performed at the Monterey Festival, establishing themselves as headline artists.

After Monterey, Townshend renounced drugs and looked instead towards a more spiritual outlet; he discovered the teachings of Meher Baba, which he found inspirational. A new writing project, begun in 1967, took shape the following year. The band was perilously in debt, however, and although touring kept the wolf from the door it could not pay the bills. Despite this, Daltrey, Entwistle and Moon allowed Townshend the luxury of time to work on the project, in the hope he would pull a rabbit out of the hat. The explosive result was Tommy.

Personalities | Introducing The Who
Personalities | The Who | Live & Loud (1966) | Key Events


An extensive music information resource, bringing together the talents and expertise of a wide range of editors and musicologists, including Stanley Sadie, Charles Wilson, Paul Du Noyer, Tony Byworth, Bob Allen, Howard Mandel, Cliff Douse, William Schafer, John Wilson...


Classical, Rock, Blues, Jazz, Country and more. Flame Tree has been making encyclopaedias and guides about music for over 20 years. Now Flame Tree Pro brings together a huge canon of carefully curated information on genres, styles, artists and instruments. It's a perfect tool for study, and entertaining too, a great companion to our music books.

Rock, A Life Story

Rock, A Life Story

The ultimate story of a life of rock music, from the 1950s to the present day.

David Bowie

David Bowie

Fantastic new, unofficial biography covers his life, music, art and movies, with a sweep of incredible photographs.