One of the heavyweights of rock music, Pete Townshend has fought his way to the top by composing diverse material and shredding on guitar in legendary rock group the Who. Born in London into a family of musicians, Townshend taught himself to play numerous instruments. Choosing guitar as his primary focus, he played in bands with school friends that eventually materialized into the Who. After initial lineup changes were settled, the group was comprised of Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle, and Keith Moon.
Townshend is the main songwriter for the Who, and composed a wide variety of songs for the band. Arguably, Townshend's most groundbreaking work is Tommy, the first rock opera. The songs were performed in a hit musical that earned Townshend a Tony Award. Townshend's first solo album Who Came First was dedicated to Meher Baba, an Indian spiritual leader that Townshend studied intently. Townshend had other solo releases, but his 1980 album Empty Glass was his most widely successful solo album, selling over 1 million copies.
Pete Townshend and the Who are known for their explosive live performances, and the band holds the Guinness record for the loudest concert ever, which was recorded at 126 decibels in London in 1976. Townshend is known for his animated stage presence, often jumping acrobatically and doing his signature "windmill" move of grinding out chords by swinging his outstretched arm around in a circle to play guitar. At many shows, Pete Townshend would smash his guitar or throw it into the band's speakers, creating a massively energetic aura that excited fans and pushed their shows to the next level.
Recently, the Who played the 2010 Super Bowl XLIV half time show for millions of viewers, proving that the band still puts on a high-energy performance. Future tour dates are set for the Who, and Townshend will undoubtedly keep on rocking.