What is a band without a drummer? Keith Moon was an awesome percussionist who really helped give The Who a great beat and style. He took the simple, standard rhythms used by the drummers of other groups and added a whole lot of extra hits and rolls to give his playing a running sound. He was a big fan of his bass drum, and liked to use it and symbol rolls to add to his busy, but fluid technique. On top of his playing being simply outstanding, Moon had an awesome stage presence, with flamboyant hits and body movements that make him really stand out in the band.
Of course, as the scene goes, Moon was a heavy partier and drinker. Late in his life however, he attempted to go dry, which for him would have been an amazing achievement. Unfortunately, a misinformed doctor gave him a medication to counteract withdrawals which is lethal in even semi-over doses. Moon died on September 7, 1978, during an overdose. His great style and charisma will always be remembered and appreciated.
John Entwistle began his life in a London suburb, moving quickly from there to a grammar school. During school, he joined the Middlesex Youth Orchestra and learned some classical instruments: trumpet, french horn, and piano. He eventually made it into some jazz groups, using his orchestral training as a foundation, and subsequently formed a duo with schoolmate Pete Townshend. Of course, he then joined Robert Daltrey’s The Detours and went on to play bass for The Who.
Entwistle was a true instrumentalist. For starters, he amassed a collection of over 200 instruments up until his death, and was proficient if not prodigal on all of them. He liked to use pentatonic lines, a rather unusual scale based on five notes. Most of the time this results in an eerie sound, but can be augmented for many styles. Entwistle liked to augment sounds and make creative lines in his playing, giving him a very unique sound which contributed greatly to the band.
Where would we be without Pete Townshend? Pete was the lead guitarist for The Who, as well as their songwriter. On top of The Who’s extremely successful run, Townshend had a very successful solo career. He is the creator of the rock opera, and an accomplished keyboard and piano player.
Townshend is best known for his stage presence. He is the creator of the windmill, a flamboyant guitar move where the player swings their arm around like a windmill and strums the guitar on the passes. It is very fun to watch, and always an involving crowd pleaser. He is an awesome soloist, and loves showing off what he has on stage.
Roger Daltrey is an accomplished actor as well as a wonderful vocalist. He helped write songs at the beginning of The Who’s years, but eventually was overtaken by Townshend’s creativity. With Townshend taking that roll, Daltrey became a vehicle for expressing Pete’s visions. His signature move was swinging the mic around on its chord, equally as crowd spurring as Townshend’s windmill.
Daltrey spent a lot of his time during the band’s middle years trying to keep the members from drinking and drug abuse, things he rightfully felt would destroy them as it had so many people. The Who achieved greatness in part due to the members being inseparable and intertwined. The four each had unique styles that caused them to stand out individually and vault The Who to greatness.