Personalities | The Who | Live & Loud (1968) | Key Events
Tour Of Australia And New Zealand
A promising tour of Australia and New Zealand – with The Small Faces and Paul Jones – turned into a horror trip, as The Who were relentlessly vilified by both press and politicians. Before the band even set foot in the Antipodes, the Fourth Estate was drumming up bile against foreign entertainers, and things only became worse once they were there. Even the Australian prime minister got in on the act, labelling the group hooligans. Mayhem ensued, including a fine example of hotel ‘refurbishment’, while poor stage equipment meant that the performances were below standard. Despite vowing never to return, the band finally succumbed 36 years later.
Headline In The US
A few weeks later the band returned to the US, where a more pleasant welcome was guaranteed. Their performance at the Opera House in Peoria was filmed by Tony Palmer and included in his music documentary All You Need Is Love, which aired later that year. The tour included shows at the legendary Fillmore West and Fillmore East, both recorded for a possible live album. The Fillmore East show in New York, though, was overshadowed by the shooting of Martin Luther King. The authorities were naturally a bit twitchy around a band known for its violence and often liberal use of explosives.
Pete Townshend became the last of the group to tie the knot when he married Karen Astley, three years his junior, at Didcot Registry Office on 20 May 1968. The couple had met at art college in Ealing five years earlier. Her father, Edwin (Ted) Astley, was a successful composer and arranger, most noted for his work on TV musical scores in the Sixties and Seventies, such as The Saint and The Champions. Her brother John would later work with The Who as engineer and producer. The couple had three children before separating. Divorce proceedings began in 2009.
Knowing how fickle the singles market was – and still reeling from the disappointment of ‘I Can See For Miles’ – the band released ‘Dogs’, a strange, charming and at times just plain weird vignette of life in and around the greyhound racing circuit. The single harked back to earlier, less complex arrangements such as ‘Happy Jack’, but again failed to impact on the charts, peaking at No. 25. ‘Dogs Part 2’ would follow the next year, providing an equally unusual experience for the listener. The B-side, ‘Call Me Lightning’, was recorded in Los Angeles along with a promotional film for the track.
Clash With The Doors
The Who returned to the US and Canada in June. This time, due to their increasing popularity, they stayed for three months. By the group’s standards the tour was relatively incident-free, but the show at Flushing Meadows, where they shared the bill with The Doors, was an exception. Stage problems led to delays, and the two groups clashed after claims that The Who had...
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