Who I Am
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From the voice of a generation: The most highly anticipated autobiography of the year, and the story of a man who... is a Londoner and a Mod.... wanted The Who to be called The Hair.... loved The Everly Brothers, but not that "drawling dope" Elvis.... wanted to be a sculptor, a journalist, a dancer and a graphic designer.... became a musician, composer, librettist, fiction writer, literary editor, sailor.... smashed his first guitar onstage, in 1964, by accident.... heard the voice of God on a vibrating bed in rural Illinois.... invented the Marshall stack, feedback and the concept album.... once speared Abbie Hoffman in the neck with the head of his guitar.... inspired Jimi Hendrix's pyrotechnical stagecraft.... is partially deaf in his left ear.... stole his windmill guitar playing from Keith Richards.... followed Keith Moon off a hotel balcony into a pool and nearly died.... did too much cocaine and nearly died.... drank too much and nearly died.... detached from his body in an airplane, on LSD, and nearly died.... helped rescue Eric Clapton from heroin.... is banned for life from Holiday Inns.... was embroiled in a tabloid scandal that has dogged him ever since.... has some explaining to do.... is the most literary and literate musician of the last 50 years.... planned to write his memoir when he was 21.... published this book at 67.
Who I Am
While it is always nice for me to read or listen to the words of Pete Townshend, I found this autobiography a little on the thin side. By that I mean that most of the Who's fan base know that he has substance abuse issues and like most rock stars, enjoys women by the score who like to chase him. These attributes were somewhat interesting the first 20 or 30 times that they are mentioned in the book, but after that quite boring to read. There wasn't enough meat and potatoes about how the band created their music, how he wrote songs or for that matter, what the songs were about to suit me. I wanted to read about things that haven't already been discussed a thousand times in the press. Sorry Pete. I really wanted to like it.
Revealing and entertaining
As a fan of the Who since my high school years in the early 80s I regularly rotated all of the Who albums and Pete's first two solo albums. The first movie I can remember going to was Tommy when my parents took me ( they made sure to put ear plugs in my ears!) when I was probably too young to go to a movie like that. Pete does an incredible job enrolling the reader in his highs and lows and pulls the curtain back on life behind the scenes in a manner that makes this book a real page turner. Importantly I never really had put in context the depth of his other pursuits that we're not out front. Highly recommended to Who fans, rock fans and fans of theater.
An unpleasant, narcissistic and surprisingly boring book to read. The book felt to me as though it were written by an amateur publicist. Townshend’s childhood was a snoozer and should have been reduced to a couple paragraphs or pages at most. Won’t get fooled again, Pete.