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The curiosities about Pete Townshend: The Who guitarist turns 78 today

Peter Dennis Blandford Townshend was born into a family of musicians in Chiswick, West London, on 19 May 1945: his father Cliff played tenor saxophone in the Squadronaires, while his mother Betty Dennis was a professional singer.

He composed more than 100 songs for The Who, and was instrumental in making his band one of the most influential and important of the 20th century. 

Here are some fun facts you might not have known about Pete Townshend, who turns 78 today!

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Happy birthday to Pete Townshend
Peter Dennis Blandford Townshend was born into a family of musicians in Chiswick, West London, on 19 May 1945: his father Cliff played the tenor saxophone in the Squadronaires, while his mother Betty Dennis was a professional singer. For The Who, the musician composed over 100 songs, contributing greatly to making his band one of the most influential and important of the 20th century.
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Pete Townshend is in the Top 10 best guitarists of all time
In the latest edition of Rolling Stone magazine's historic 2011 ranking of the best guitarists of all time, Pete Townshend appears in tenth place on the list, opening the Top 10, led at the top by Jimi Hendrix.
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Pete Townshend doesn't just play the guitar
Everyone knows Townshend as an accomplished guitarist and second vocalist and composer for The Who, but in reality the musician is a skilled multi-instrumentalist. In fact, Pete can skilfully master keyboard, accordion, ukulele, mandolin, violin, synthesiser, bass and drums.
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Once, on stage, Townshend punched a policeman in the privates
Pete Townshend did not have the easiest character, in keeping with his rock soul, and over the years he was the protagonist of several controversial episodes. In 1969, at the Fillmore East in New York, while The Who were performing, a man came on stage and snatched the microphone from Roger Daltrey's hand. Townshend tried to kick the man in the buttocks as he would not move, but the man turned around and was hit in the crotch. The stage invader was not an ordinary person, however, but a police officer, who wanted to alert the audience of a fire that had broken out nearby. Pete was arrested for assaulting a public official, but was immediately released with a fine.
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Townshend's career beyond music
Pete is a great lover of literature and also worked as a publisher in the 1980s, later founding his own publishing house. In addition, Townshend was one of the first musicians to understand the potential of the Internet, exploiting the web as a means of artistic dissemination, using a personal blog. Furthermore, in 1999, the animated film 'The Iron Giant' was released in the cinema, of which the guitarist was executive producer.
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The quarrel between Pete and Jimi Hendrix and the destruction of the guitars
In 1967, at the Monterey Pop Festival, The Who were to perform on the same night as Jimi Hendrix and his band. When Pete and the others heard the news, they argued with Hendrix over who should go on stage first to win over the audience. In the end, the musicians opted to let fate decide by tossing a coin. The Who won, who performed first, thus succeeding in introducing the audience to their rock ritual, with smoke bombs and Pete's guitar smashed on stage, as well as Keith Moon's kit. To outdo his colleague Townshend, however, Jimi not only smashed his guitar against the amplifiers, but first set it on fire, leaving the people present at the event even more stunned.
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26/05/2024
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