As The Who gears up for the last leg of what the band swears will be its last tour — a claim first made in the 1980s — they’ve been opening shows with their first proper single, “I Can’t Explain,” written more than five decades ago when rock was still seen as a passing fad.
It’s a testament to a band that helped define the look and sound of an era, and whose legacy will be felt for as long as there are guitarists with Marshall stacks.
But as renowned rock author Mark Blake writes in his latest book Pretend This Is A War: The Who And The Sixties, at man points, the band barely lasted the decade. As Pete Townshend says, he thought he’d do The Who for a few months before returning to art school. The world had other plans.
Blake has also written about Pink Floyd, Queen and Keith Richards.