The Who and Philosophy

Rocco J. Gennaro,

The Who and Philosophy
 
 
The Who were one of the most memorable and influential of the 1960s British Invasion bands—memorable because of their loudness and because they destroyed instruments during performances, and influential because of their success in crafting “Power Pop” singles like “My Generation” and “I Can See for Miles,” long-playing albums Live at Leeds and Who’s Next, and the “rock operas” Tommy and Quadrophenia. The themes that principal songwriter Pete Townshend imparted into The Who’s music drew upon the group’s mostly working-class London upbringings and early Mod audiences: frustration, angst, irony, and a youthful inclination to lash out. Like some of his rock and roll contemporaries, Townshend was also affected by religious ideas coming from India and the existential dread he felt about the possibility of nuclear war. During a career that spanned three decades, The Who gave their fans and rock critics a lot to think about. The remarkable depth and breadth of The Who’s music and their story as one of the most exciting and provocative rock bands over the last half-century are the subjects of the philosophical explorations in this collection.


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