Previously known as The High Numbers and The Detours, The Who was officially formed in 1962 by Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle, with Keith Moon joining the group two years later in 1962. With the release of their debut album “My Generation” in 1965, the band became in less than one decade, one of the most successful and influential groups in the world.
Active for more than six decades, The Who released 12 studio albums and have sold an estimated amount of more than 100 million records worldwide. They have so many hits and praised tracks that is often difficult for fans to pick their favorite ones. But Pete Townshend once listed in an interview with Sirius XM (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage) his 2 favorite The Who songs that he is particularly proud of. But also mentioned one of his solo tracks.
The 3 The Who and solo songs Pete Townshend listed as favorites
The Who “Love, Reign O’er Me”
Like most part of The Who songs, “Love, Reign O’er Me” was written by Pete Townshend and was featured on the band 1973 album “Quadrophenia“. “They’re three romantic songs. That’s not really what I’m best at. So those three songs kind of stand out for me as an exception to that rule,” Townshend told Sirius XM about the tracks he chose as favorite ones.
The Who’s main songwriter, Townshend was really influenced by the philosophy of the Indian spiritual master Meher Baba at the time. So the lyrics refer to him. Mainly because one time he commented that rain was a blessing from God and that the thunder was the voice of God.
Also released as a single, the track reached the position number 76 on the United States Billboard Hot 100.
The Who “Behind Blue Eyes”
The most famous song on the list, “Behind Blue Eyes” was also written by Townshend. It was featured on The Who’s grounbreaking album “Who’s Next” (1971). In the interview with Siriux XM, the guitarist talked about the origin of the song. He said: “Well, it’s not about us. It’s not about boys with blue eyes. It’s actually about a character in a story. And what’s happening at the moment is… Who fans will know. I000t was from a really rough film script I wrote called ‘Lifehouse’.”
“But the story has a character in it who’s called Brick. He’s a double agent in the story, in the film story. He suddenly feels that he’s betraying everybody around him because he’s a liar. So I wrote the song, but it seems to kind of resonate as a song about the way we deceive ourselves. The way we betray ourselves, the way we live lives that can be a lie.”
“The way the most diffcult thing of all is to be honest with ourselves and that we hide behind the way that we look. Whether we look beautiful or whether we look ugly, we hide behind the way we look often. So it was a song that actually came from a film script,” Pete Townshend said.
One of the most famous songs from The Who’s career, it reached number 34 on the United States Billboard Hot 100. It also became a hit 32 years later when the American Rap Metal group Limp Bizkit covered the track. The track was featured on their 2003 album “Results May Vary”.
Pete Townshend “Let My Love Open The Door”
Since Pete Townshend always have been The Who’s main songwriter. So it can be said that he is one of the most prolific writers from Rock and Roll. Just like his bandmates, Townshend also released solo albums and had good hits on his own. His solo debut “Who Came First” was released in 1972 and after that one he released six more albums.
He had many praised solo records and even scored some hits like “Let My Love Open the Door”. Before mentioning the song to Sirius XM, he said “let me throw a wildcard here”, since it wasn’t a song released by The Who. The track was featured on his second solo album “Empty Glass” and as a single performed well. It reached number 9 on the United States Billboard Hot 100 and 5 on Canada’s Top Singles.
That track was recorded alongside John “Rabbit Bundrick (Keyboards), Simon Phillips (Drums) and Tony Butler (Bass). Townshend recorded the vocals, guitars and synthesizers.