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The Who are an English rock band formed in 1964 by singer Roger Daltrey, guitarist Pete Townshend, bassist John Entwistle and drummer Keith Moon. They became known for energetic live performances which often included instrument destruction. The Who have sold about 100 million records, and have charted 27 top forty singles in the United Kingdom and United States, as well as 17 top ten albums, with 18 Gold, 12 Platinum and 5 Multi-Platinum album awards in the United States alone. The Who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, their first year of eligibility; the display describes them as "Prime contenders, in the minds of many, for the title of World's Greatest Rock Band." Time magazine wrote in 1979 that "No other group has ever pushed rock so far, or asked so much from it." Rolling Stone magazine wrote: "Along with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, The Who complete the holy trinity of British rock." They received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Phonographic Industry in 1988, and from the Grammy Foundation in 2001, for creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording. In 2008 surviving members Townshend and Daltrey were honoured at the 31st Annual Kennedy Center Honors. That same year VH1 Rock Honors paid tribute to The Who where Jack Black of Tenacious D called them "the greatest band of all time."

About The Who

 

The Who rose to fame in the UK with a series of top ten hit singles, boosted in part by pirate radio stations such as Radio Caroline, beginning in January 1965 with "I Can't Explain". The albums My Generation (1965), A Quick One (1966) and The Who Sell Out (1967) followed, with the first two reaching the UK top five. They first hit the US Top 40 in 1967 with "Happy Jack" and hit the top ten later that year with "I Can See for Miles". Their fame grew with memorable performances at the Monterey Pop, Woodstock and Isle of Wight music festivals. The 1969 release of Tommy was the first in a series of top ten albums in the US, followed by Live at Leeds (1970), Who's Next (1971), Quadrophenia (1973), The Who by Numbers (1975), Who Are You (1978) and The Kids Are Alright (1979).

Moon died at the age of 32 in 1978, after which the band released two studio albums, the UK and US top five Face Dances (1981) and the US top ten It's Hard (1982), with drummer Kenney Jones, before disbanding in 1983. They re-formed at events such as Live Aid and for reunion tours such as their 25th anniversary tour (1989) and the Quadrophenia tours of 1996 and 1997. In 2000, the three surviving original members discussed recording an album of new material, but their plans temporarily stalled upon Entwistle's death at the age of 57 in 2002. Townshend and Daltrey continue to perform as The Who, and in 2006 they released the studio album Endless Wire, which reached the top ten in the UK and US.

The Who performed at the halftime show of Super Bowl XLIV at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on 7 February 2010. They played a medley of "Pinball Wizard", "Baba O'Riley", "Who Are You", "See Me, Feel Me", and "Won't Get Fooled Again".

The Who performed Quadrophenia at the Royal Albert Hall on 30 March 2010 as part of the Teenage Cancer Trust series of 10 gigs. This one-off performance of the rock opera featured guest appearances from Eddie Vedder, lead singer of Pearl Jam, Tom Meighan the lead singer of Kasabian, and Tom Norris of the London Symphony Orchestra.

Townshend told Rolling Stone magazine that the band had planned a tour for early 2010; Townshend later stated this was jeopardised due to the return of his tinnitus. He is experimenting with a new in-ear monitoring system that was recommended to him by fellow rocker Neil Young and his audiologist. The in-ear monitoring system was scheduled to be tested out at the Quadrophenia concert at the Royal Albert Hall on 30 March. Most recently, Roger Daltrey has stated that they have acquired new equipment—earpieces and the like—that he and the band are learning to use to enable Townshend to perform. The Who hoped to hit the road again in 2011, with "a new show," according to singer Roger Daltrey, or possibly a retooled stage presentation of the group's 1973 rock opera Quadrophenia.

On 11 October 2010, The Who's official website announced the release on 15 November 2010 of the Fortieth Anniversary Super-Deluxe Collectors’ Edition of their Live at Leeds album, including the complete 14 February 1970 performance, and a 2-CD set containing the complete performance of 15 February 1970 at the City Hall in Hull, England.

Roger Daltrey had announced he was producing a biopic about Keith Moon called See Me Feel Me: Keith Moon Naked for Your Pleasure, which was to be released in 2012. Comedian Mike Myers was going to play the main role and would have taken drumming lessons to suit the character. However, according to Daltrey, as of 2011 this project may currently be stalled.

The Who performed in London on 13 January 2011, along with Jeff Beck and Debbie Harry for a 'killing cancer' benefit concert.

In July 2011, Townshend revealed on his blog that he will be touring their 1973 rock opera album Quadrophenia with bandmate Roger Daltrey in 2012. Townshend wrote "The reason I am not on the road with Roger is that this is entirely Roger's adventure, one that is bringing him great joy. I don't belong on this 'Tommy' tour. I wish him well, sincerely, and I look forward to playing with Roger again doing 'Quadrophenia' next year".

On 4 November 2011, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend launched the Daltrey/Townshend Teen and Young Adult Cancer Program at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, to be funded by The Who's charity Who Cares. The launch, followed on 5 November by a fund-raising event, was also attended by Robert Plant and Dave Grohl.

On 18 July 2012, the band announced an 35-date tour where they will play their album Quadrophenia in its entirety. Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will be joined by Zak Starkey on drums, Pino Palladino on bass, Simon Townshend on guitar/backing vocals, Chris Stainton on keyboards, Loren Gold on keyboards/backing vocals, and Frank Simes as Musical Director, and on keyboards/backing vocals.

On 12 August 2012, the band performed at the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games as the final act, playing "Baba O'Riley", "See Me, Feel Me" and "My Generation". The Kaiser Chiefs covered The Who's song "Pinball Wizard". Controversially, American television network NBC played The Who's performance in a late-night segment of the closing ceremony after an advance broadcast of the new sitcom Animal Practice.