Personalities | The Who | Up & Running (1964) | Key Events
The High Numbers
With Moon in place behind the drums, the transformation within the band was remarkable. Slightly younger than the others, Moon exuded a confidence that rubbed off on his band mates. A new publicist was in the offing too, when Pete Meaden, a mod evangelist, saw a chance to take the band and mould it for a mod audience. A change of look, a change of musical direction and even a change of name – from The Who to The High Numbers – rapidly followed, as the band became the focal point of the mod movement. A single, ‘Zoot Suit’/‘I’m The Face’, was released but sold a dismal 500 copies.
Sign With Orbit
The professional relationship with Meaden quickly faltered when Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp bought the band out of their contracts. Initially seeing the band as an ideal centrepiece for a documentary, the two men soon recognized much greater potential. Reverting to the name The Who, the group entered the recording studio in November, this time with one of Townshend’s own compositions – ‘I Can’t Explain’. Decca producer Shel Talmy, who had worked with The Kinks, was chosen to produce the record, and The Who signed a four-year deal with his production company Orbit Music. It was a decision that eventually cost them dearly.
Live At The Marquee
The band had gained a reputation for their destructive stage act, albeit one that had started accidentally. Lambert and Stamp knew, however, that to progress The Who must succeed in the West End, so they set about turning the Marquee Jazz Club, situated in Wardour Street, into a residency for the band. The club allowed them to play on Tuesdays – traditionally the worst night of the week – and their first night, 24 November 1964, hardly made a dent at the box office. Spurred on by inspired promotional activities, though, the band broke the house attendance record within three weeks.
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