The Who (Part II) – Dave DiPaolo’s Deep Dive

Perhaps one of the most legendary rock bands of all time had its best lineup at their incarnation in 1964 as Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle, and Keith Moon formed ‘The Who.’ Let’s take a deep dive now into the band’s story:

  • Before the band decided on “the Who,” they were named the Detours, and then, The High Numbers, starting out as a cover band performing American R&B songs
  • Though the band started in ’64, the turmoil kicked in just one year later in 1965 as Roger Daltrey was kicked out of the band after a fight with Keith Moon. Apparently, Daltrey flushed Moon’s drugs down the toilet because he felt it was affecting his performance. Roger apologized and was let back into the band three days later
  • Moon died of a drug overdose combination of sleeping pills and alcohol in 1978. He died in the same apartment in London where Mama Cass Elliott from the Mamas And The Papas died four years earlier. The apartment was owned by Harry Nilsson, who let friends stay there when they came to London. After Moon’s death, Nilsson never came back
  • During a Who concert on May 16, 1969 at New York City’s Fillmore East, a man rushed the stage and tried to take the microphone. Roger Daltrey punched him in the face, and Pete Townshend kicked him in the crotch. Just next door, a grocery store was in the midst of a five alarm fire and the man turned out to a plain-clothes policeman trying to warn the crowd. Townshend was later arrested for the assault
  • In 1969, they played Woodstock but John Entwistle said it was “probably the worst-ever festival experience we ever had.”
  • Entwistle was found dead in his Las Vegas hotel room on June 27, 2002. The band was to begin a tour the next day, and while they postponed the first dates, The Who did the tour anyway. A coroner’s report found that Entwistle was doing cocaine before he died
  • The Who were also responsible for the deaths of their own concertgoers. A lawsuit in 1979 found the band, the Riverfront Coliseum, the promoter, and the city of Cincinnati were all liable in the deaths of 11 people that were among a massive crowd of people rushing to see the band perform while they began warming up and sound checking. Apparently people outside thought they were starting the show without them and didn’t want to miss their chance to see the perceived beginning of the show
  • After all of the tragedy the band has faced, they are still rolling today with the help of Townshend and Daltrey, having released their latest new album in December of 2019