Personalities | The Who | Live & Loud (1967) | Key Events
Saville Theatre Concerts
With a new record label (Lambert and Stamp’s Track Records) and the lure of America ahead, the year started well. The Who appeared at the Saville Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue for one of Brian Epstein’s Sunday Soundarama shows. Playing two performances on 29 January, the supporting bill included Track stablemates The Jimi Hendrix Experience, who had become the label’s first signing a couple of weeks earlier. This would not be the last time the two giants would share a bill, leading to some interesting encounters. The shows saw the band debut the mini-opera A Quick One, While He’s Away.
The Who arrived in New York for their US debut as part of Murray Kaufman’s Music In The Fifth Dimension concerts at the RKO Radio Theatre on 58th Street. The concerts ran over nine days and The Who were expected to perform a gruelling five times a day. Although singing only a couple of songs at each gig, every show was expected to climax with the destruction of their tools of trade. America was finally taking notice and The Who returned in June for their first proper tour, which began at Ann Arbour, Michigan.
‘Pictures Of Lily’
‘Pictures Of Lily’ became The Who’s first release for their new home, Track Records, in April 1967. Inspired by a postcard of theatre producer Lilian Baylis, and often referred to as an ode to masturbation, the song once again highlighted the band’s – and in particular Townshend’s – mastery at producing sublime, witty and adventurous three-minute masterpieces. The single peaked at No. 4 in the UK and No. 51 in the US when it was released there two months later. A couple of days after its UK release the band recorded a couple of instrumental tracks, including Edvard Grieg’s ‘Hall Of The Mountain King’.
Days after arriving in the US, The Who flew to San Francisco for the first Monterey International Pop Festival. The line-up included Jimi Hendrix, who was now incorporating his own brand of auto-destructive art into his act. It was clear that neither wanted to be accused of copycatting by following the other on stage. The matter was settled by a coin toss – Townshend won and The Who went on first. The band finished their 30-minute set with total destruction and Hendrix his by ritually burning his guitar. Townshend subsequently experienced a shocking LSD trip, which changed his attitude towards drugs forever.
On 23 June 1967 John Entwistle became the third member of the band to marry. His bride was long-term partner Alison Wise, and they married at the Congregational Church in Acton, where eight years earlier he had first performed with Pete Townshend. The original promotional film for ‘I Can’t Explain’ includes film of the couple kissing. Their honeymoon meant that John missed the sessions for the band’s versions of ‘Under My Thumb’ and ‘The Last Time’, which were hastily...
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