Mark Blake describes ‘The Who’s’ West London beginnings, their influences and development right up to the end of the 60’s with the launch of the ‘legendary’ album TOMMY (US tour was rehearsed at Hanwell Community Centre)
The text finds numerous references to Ealing and West London as Pete Townshend grew up near Ealing Common and lived as a student on Sunnyside Road, W5 while studying at Ealing Art College (Now UWL)
A fascinating part of ‘Pretend You’re In A War’ was learning about a document drawn up by Pete Townshend in the early days of the band that he called ‘The Proclaimation’. This letter (drawn up in an Acton flat) would enshrine an ongoing determination to differentiate his song writing from that of other emerging ‘R & B’ bands from West London.
It becomes clear that the astute but at times chaotic management of Chris Stamp and Kit Lambert were also key factors in the The Who’s success along with the obvious talents of each of the band members.
‘Pretend You’re In a War’ accounts the interactions and influences of all the other British bands such as The Stones, The Beatles, Pink Floyd and the Kinks and serves to highlight the ‘tight knit’ nature of British Rock music’s leading lights in the mid to late 60’s.
The Who & The Punk Connection
Many commentators have often cited The Who as being one of the few 60’s bands that were ever respected within the British Punk Movement of the 70’s.
It’s not surprising to learn that Punk pioneers Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood were amongst the regulars at the legendary Who gigs held at The Railway Inn in Harrow (a venue that disappeared many years ago)
In 2014, passing through Harrow, Wealdstone, Sudbury, Greenford, Ealing, Hanwell, Acton, Shepherds Bush it seems difficult to imagine how so many songs could have been influenced by such a suburban setting. However, some must have been and those areas could do much to mark that connection.
Pretend You’re In A War is a great Christmas present for any Who fan, Ealing borough resident and millions beyond. BTW. In the final chapter, you’ll find The Questors Theatre and a mention for the Ealing Music and Film Festival 2014.
The book can be purchased online or and no doubt it will be available for collection at the following sources: http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/