Who are you? (Who, who, who, who…)

As you may or may not know, I’m a huge rock music fan. So as you can assume, I really love reading books about my favourite bands. Today, I thought I’d review the latest one I’ve read – the memoirs of the guitarist and songwriter (plus synthesiser/keyboardist and occasional singer) for The Who, Pete Townshend! Called Who I Am, the title is a clever nod to The Who’s 1978 song ‘Who Are You?’, and the book only goes upwards from there…

Though I can now quite safely call myself a huge Who fan, I knew next to nothing about Pete Townshend when I read his autobiography. The book is a nice hardcover, and at 507 who i am pete townshendpages, it is not a quick read. But a wonderful read it is! The book begins with Townshend recounting the first time he destroyed a guitar; an act which would which would soon be forever rooted in The Who’s stage act. The book then moves into the actual chapters, which are split into three ‘acts’. The first spans from when he was born to 1969, the second 1970 to 1980, and the third 1981 to 2012. Townshend covers just about everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Who — or about himself, for that matter. You’ll learn that he has been partially deaf in his left ear ever since band mate Keith Moon infamously let off explosives on the Smothers Brothers’ Comedy Hour in 1967, and you’ll read about the origins and creations of The Who’s two rock operas, Tommy (1969) and Quadrophenia (1973), plus the never-released Lifehouse, which would turn into 1971’s Who’s Next. Townshend writes about how The Who came about, and his following of Indian spiritual master Meher Baba. He talks about working for publishing house Faber and Faber, and recounts the literary side of his extensive career. And that’s only a few things that he covers; if you’ve wanted to know anything about Townshend, he’s probably written about it here. Townshend is a fantastic writer, too; he is wonderfully poetic and you can tell that he has had an interest in writing for a long time.

Who I Am is a great read! Recommended not just for all Who fans — but for all fans of rock, too.

About Adela

Adela is in Year Eleven, and has been reviewing novels for Mostly Books since late 2013. She likes to read strange novels from the 1960s and music biographies in equal measure, and her favourite book at the moment is Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion. (Close runner-ups including The Secret History by Donna Tartt, and Just Kids by Patti Smith!) Adela is also a writer. She has been published in the 2012 and 2013 SAETA Spring Poetry Anthologies, and in the ‘Poet’s Corner’ of Indaily twice -- however, these days, she's more content writing articles for assorted online publications and the occasional set of song lyrics. Adela is passionate about music, film, and fashion too. When she is not reading or writing, she loves to blast David Bowie records at excruciatingly loud volumes, play her guitar and violin, theorise on the meanings of David Lynch movies, and trawl her favourite vintage clothing shops. You can visit her elsewhere on her music blog and at the Felicitas Collective!

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