Some of Pete Townshend's power chords are the best in the business but...

JoeB63

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What??? Some of PT's solos are the most iconic in rock. The intro and all the little bits throughout here are indispensable.

Yes, every time someone says PT can't solo, I'd like to ask them to record themselves playing the acoustic interlude part of that song, and then get back to me.

Also, there's a ton of nice soloing bits in The Who By Numbers. Listen to that one.
 

JJFlash

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Pete is one of the few guitarists of his day to continue to improve as a player. Yes his solos, mostly in the 70's, were not always great but he would occasionally have moments of brilliance. Fast forward to now, he is a much more well rounded player and his solos, for the most part, are pretty darn good.

The playing of others of that era, most notably Kieth Richards, and Ronnie Wood has declined to almost embarrassing levels while Pete continues to dedicate himself to his craft. Just my opinion but Pete, despite the various rankings that are tossed out every so often, is a criminally underrated player.
 

59 Restorer

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Boy are his solos terrible. Don't get me wrong, his contributions to the band were immeasurable and obviously they have their place in history. However, anytime I watch his solo breaks I find myself being reminded of nails on a chalkboard. It's really like he doesn't know how to play guitar. Sorry for the rant, just watched The Kids Are Alright and couldn't hold my tongue any longer. Keith Moon is always entertaining though.
Well if you're watching the Kids Are Alright there are some "rough" musical moments.
Case in point this hilarious rehearsal footage (which I suppose may have involved a bit of Alcohol).


Also I believe a lot of the footage in the film of the Tommy/Live at Leeds era might be from Woodstock. (The white boiler suit/SG Special wielding performances). Pete's memories of Woodstock are of a less than great show. To me it looked absolutely electric though.
 

Whittlez

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Townsend is proof that you don't have to have flashy or 3l33t technical lead skills to be one of the greatest rock guitarists that has ever lived. Granted, I cut my teeth as a guitarist listening to guitarists and admiring the ones who generally soloed very little (regardless of their skill at same) such as Andy Summers, The Edge, East Bay Ray, Johnny Marr, Paul Simon, Townsend etc. I agree with some above over the years that Pete did develop into a more skilled soloist over the years, but part of the reason their early stuff was so good was it not marred with solos. I don't think it would have fit the music. And -- especially in a three piece - rhythm skills are way more important.
 
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Rc7321

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198

Pete is a musical genius and one of the best players to ever use a guitar. Period/full stop.

If i never hear another virtuoso like Petrucci/Satriani in note overload or another drop C lick im perfectly content with the Who or similar.
 
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-sku-

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507
Nothing special about his lead playing in terms of technique but they fit the songs well. Good rhythm player though.
 

TubeStack

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Pete is a musical genius and one of the best players to ever use a guitar. Period/full stop.

If i never hear another virtuoso like Petrucci/Satriani in note overload or another drop C lick im perfectly content with the Who or similar.
Why the need to put down other players/styles? You could’ve made your point with the first part and left it.
 

TubeStack

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10,225
l’ll go there ... IMO the original group, at its peak, was the best live rock band there ever was.
What would be a good starting point for them at their peak live? Leeds?

I like and appreciate The Who, but have never gone deep with them.
 

Tony Foran

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Pete and the Who made a major contribution to rock music, but does anyone still listen to it ? I grew up during their heyday and I sure got my fill. No Mas for me.
 

Rc7321

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198
Why the need to put down other players/styles? You could’ve made your point with the first part and left it.
Not "putting down" anybody. Too bad you took it that way. If anything this entire thread slanders one of the worlds greatest musicians.
 

John H

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4,418
I came to The Who and Pete Townshend much later than I wish I had (around "Who's Next"). He came across as snotty and arrogant, to me, and his criticisms of others and claims of credit for inventing things that others were playing "much better" than he (Jimi Hendrix claims, for example) were a huge turnoff. His guitar smashing (at a time I couldn't afford a guitar) was unforgivable.

When I finally got it, and the more I've dug into his music, the more I appreciate his role in The Who and, especially, his rhythm playing. When I was in bands that covered Who and Townshend songs, I realized his genius. For my money, he's one of, if not THE best rhythm guitar players. His leads are concise, especially, given the space occupied by Moon and Entwhistle.
 
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mycroftxxx

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646
What would be a good starting point for them at their peak live? Leeds?

I like and appreciate The Who, but have never gone deep with them.
Live at Leeds; get the latest version that is the whole show. It’s very instructive to listen to the live Tommy set, then go back and listen to the studio recording; as good as the original album is, for me it just takes on a whole ‘nother level live. Same thing for the Sell Out material. With rare exceptions (mostly the first album), the Who were never really captured in the studio with the ferocity and power of their live work.

And Townshend’s guitar work, including his lead work, starting with Leeds is amazing. Try something as deceptively simple as the studio version of “Won‘t Get Fooled Again”; it’s a LOT harder than it seems at first blush - and it’s all those little almost-offhand two-measure lead bits, changes in the rhythm, different chord voicings - who would have thunk that there were so many ways to play a G5! - just genius stuff.

Here’s a link to a breakdown of the song by TGP member @Hoodster, and this is just scratching the surface:
 




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