Who are The Who? This may seem absurd, but somebody probably doesn't know the band, and there may well be folks that don't know the history of the band. The Who formed in 1964, and the core members were three Acton, London lads of dubious reputation. Roger - March 1, 1944 Contrary to popular belief, early on at least, Roger Daltrey was actually the leader of the band, he was older and had a pretty big rep for getting his way with his fists, even though he wasn't very big He was actually a good student and ranked at the top of his class, which led to his enrollment at the Acton County Grammar School. Roger made his first guitar out of a block of wood and it was a cherry red Strat replica. He joined a Skiffle band called The Detours who needed a singer, and was told to bring a guitar, and after a few weeks rolled up with his Strat. His dad bought him an Epiphone in 1959, and he became the lead guitarist in the band. Not long after this Daltrey was expelled from school for smoking. John - October 9 1944 In late 1961 John Entwistle joined The Detours playing the bass, but John was the only member of the band to have had formal music training. He took Piano lessons at age seven, at eleven switched to the Trumpet and moved to French Horn when he joined the Middlesex Schools Symphony Orchestra. John met Pete Townshend in the second year of school and the two of them formed a trad jazz band called the Confederates ... they played one gig and decided that rock and roll would be a better option. Not being able to hear his trumpet over the bands, he moved to guitar, and then with his love of lower range playing led him, via a fondness of the low tones of Duane Eddy he moved on to the bass. When he joined the Detours he encouraged Pete, and insisting that Pete becomes a member of the band Pete - May 19, 1945 When Pete Townshend joined The Detours he was playing rhythm guitar, Roger was playing lead guitar and John was playing bass. Doug Sandom was on drums and Colin Dawson was the singer. Pete spent a lot of his youth reading adventure novels, such as Gulliver's Travels, Treasure Island and such. The family used to visit the seaside at the Isle Of Mann and on one of these journeys he discovered the movie Rock Around The Clock, and watch it repeatedly, this sparked a fascination with US rock and roll, and not long after he saw Bill Haley in concert. At the time he wasn't thinking of pursuing rock and roll, he wanted to be a journalist. Pete got his first guitar for Christmas, from his Grandmother, in 1956. With his test scores not really pointing towards University Pete decided to study graphic design at Ealing Art College. Dawson quit the Detours in 1962 and Daltrey became the lead vocalist. With encouragement from Entwistle, Pete became the sole guitarist. Through Pete's mum the band, the band got a management contract through Robert Druce. In 1963 through Pete's dad, the guys made an amatuer recording called It Was You, Pete's first song. In 1964 the band became aware that there was already a group called the Detours, and roommate Richard Barnes suggested The Who, which Daltrey decided was the best name. Not long after the name change Doug Samdon was replaced Keith - August 23 1946 Keith Moon was born in the North London area known as Middlesex, he was hyperactive, had a restless imagination and loved The Goon Show. Moon attended Alperton Secondary Modern School where his art teacher said in a report: "Retarded artistically. Idiotic in other respects" and his music teacher wrote that Moon "has great ability, but must guard against a tendency to show off." Moon was in the Sea Corps for a while on the Bugle, but found it difficult to learn and decided to play drums. He left school at age 14 in 1961 and got a job as a radio repairman, which a=enabled him to buy his first set of drums. Keith took lessons from Screaming Lord Sutch's drummer Carlo Little and was influenced by surf music, jazz and R&B. A commonly cited story of how Moon joined the Who is that he appeared at a show shortly after Sandom's departure, where a session drummer was used. Dressed in ginger clothes and with his hair dyed ginger (future bandmate Pete Townshend later described him as a "ginger vision"), he claimed to his would-be bandmates that he could play better; he played in the set's second half, nearly demolishing the drum kit in the process. Moon ended up getting the gig. Sandham had been the Peacemaker in the band so the band dynamic changed. Due to all their natures the guys were constantly in conflict with each other. Daltrey and Townshend feuded between themselves, but because of Moon's temperament the group now had four members frequently in conflict. "We used to fight regularly", remembered Moon in later years. "John [Entwistle] and I used to have fights – it wasn't very serious, it was more of an emotional spur-of-the moment thing." Moon also clashed with Daltrey and Townshend: "We really have absolutely nothing in common apart from music", he said in a later interview. Although Townshend described him as a "completely different person to anyone I've ever met", the pair had a rapport in the early years and enjoyed practical jokes and improvised comedy. Moon's drumming style affected the band's musical structure; although Entwistle initially found Moon's lack of conventional timekeeping problematic, it created an original sound. The Who The Who changed managers to Peter Meaden. He decided that the group would be ideal to represent the growing mod movement in Britain which involved fashion, scooters and music genres such as rhythm and blues, soul and beat. He renamed the group the High Numbers, dressed them up in mod clothes, secured an audition with Fontana Records and wrote the lyrics for both sides of their single "Zoot Suit"/"I'm the Face" to appeal to mods. Meaden was replaced as manager by two filmmakers, Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp. They were looking for a young, unsigned rock group that they could make a film about, and had seen the band at the Railway Hotel in Wealdstone, which had become a regular venue for them. Lambert related to Townshend and his art school background, and encouraged him to write songs. In August, Lambert and Stamp made a promotional film featuring the group and their audience at the Railway. The band changed their set towards soul, rhythm and blues and Motown covers, and created the slogan "Maximum R&B" In June 1964, during a performance at the Railway, Townshend accidentally broke the head of his guitar on the low ceiling of the stage. Angered by the audience's laughter, he smashed the instrument on the stage, then picked up another guitar and continued the show. The following week, the audience were keen to see a repeat of the event. Moon obliged by kicking his drum kit over, and auto-destructive art became a feature of the Who's live set. By late 1964, the Who were becoming popular in London's Marquee Club, and a rave review of their live act appeared in Melody Maker. Lambert and Stamp attracted the attention of the American producer Shel Talmy, who had produced the Kinks. Townshend had written a song, "I Can't Explain", that deliberately sounded like the Kinks to attract Talmy's attention. Talmy saw the group in rehearsals and was impressed. He signed them to his production company, and sold the recording to the US arm of Decca Records, which meant that the group's early singles were released in Britain on Brunswick Records, one of UK Decca's labels for US artists. "I Can't Explain" was recorded in early November 1964 at Pye Studios in Marble Arch with the Ivy League on backing vocals, and Jimmy Page played fuzz guitar on the B-side, "Bald Headed Woman....... So that is a really rough version of how it all came together. The Who obviously went on to record many great singles and release many great albums, and that is what we are going to have a look at over the course of this thread.