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Top Little-Known Stories About Pete Townsend's Crazy Young Days

About the struggle with alcohol addiction and anger, about falling in love and friendship - below are the most interesting facts from the life of Pete Townsend!

Crazy stories about Pete Townsend, one of the most influential figures in rock

Pete Townsend - one of the most famous people in the world of rock music! A virtuoso guitarist, singer, songwriter ... Townsend is known as the founder, leader and author of almost all the tracks The Who! His youth was really stormy, full of bright and, at times, truly crazy moments! Actually, over the years, for the cult guitarist, all these stories have become pleasant (or almost) memories ... Sincerely, with humor and insight - Pete Townsend shares them in his autobiography "Who I Am"! About the fight against alcohol addiction and anger, about partners and friendship - below are the most interesting of them ...

He heard the voice of God at the Holiday Inn

Pete Townsend, 1979.
Pete Townsend, 1979.

In the end 60s Townsend - the main creative force The Who - strove for his own creative performance:

“I felt like a messenger from Mars in Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, which promises that the secret of all things lies in the ability to wait…”

Expectation Townsend came to an end "in the most unexpected place": in the hotel Holiday Inn in Rolling Meadows, Illinois.

“In the midst of an oversized vibrating bed, fuzzy screen TV, sheets and towels smelling of something warm but not quite alive… I heard the voice of God!” the guitarist writes.

Townsend does not specify what the voice said to him, but this "exceptional, momentous epiphany", this "call of the heart" led him to write a groundbreaking rock opera "Tommy"!

He was attracted to Mick Jagger

Mick Jagger (The Rolling Stones)
Mick Jagger (The Rolling Stones)

In his autobiography, Townsend openly declares his attraction to many men, including the frontman Rolling Stones Mick Jagger

“Mick was mysteriously attractive and sexually provocative! Perhaps he was the first such talisman since Elvis ... "

According to Townsend, Mick was the only man to whom he was so strongly drawn ...

The story of one deadly journey...

who...
the who…

In June 1967 years after the performance Monterey Pop Festival, The Who went back to London. boarding the plane, Keith Moon decided to "relax a little" with the help of well-known banned substances ... None of his bandmates shared this "relaxation" with him, no one except Townsend and his wife Karen! Despite the ridiculous dosage, Townsend's perception has changed dramatically...

“After 30 minutes, the flight attendant whose upturned nose made her look like a small pig turned into a real pig! The air was filled with faint music... I felt like I could hear all the sounds on the plane at the same time: rock, jazz, classical, comedy, Broadway tunes and country were all vying for dominance over my brain! Suddenly I heard a female voice saying softly, “You need to go back. You can't stay here…” I was terrified, I thought I would die if I came back! “You won't die. You can't stay here," said the voice..."

“From a bird's eye view, I could watch Karen lightly punch me in the face… Everything was saturated with wonderful colors and sounds! Karen looked like an angel…” Townsend added.

Almost got deported for punching an NYPD officer

The Who
The Who

And this scandalous story happened in May 1969 of the year. From Pete's memoirs:

“In the middle of the show, a man appeared in the very center of the stage, snatched the microphone from Roger’s hands and addressed the audience ... He did not ask us to stop performing. In fact, he didn't contact us at all. One minute we were at work, and the next minute he was there, speaking to an audience—our audience…”

“Roger tried to take the microphone away from him, but the man pushed him away. In the middle of a heavy guitar solo, I ran up to him to ask a lesson, but as I approached, he abruptly turned to face me, and my guitar hit him right there ... (talking about the poor cop's "masculinity") He crouched, and a couple of people Bill Graham (the owner of the club where it all happened) ran onto the stage and took him away. We continued to play, and only later did I find out that it was the officer on duty of the tactical police who warned people that a fire had broken out in the store next door ... "

Later Townsend apologized to the officer, adding:

“The staff should have alerted us to the fire rather than send a person on stage unannounced, which only caused confusion…”

He helped Eric Clapton (fortunately not at the cost of three lives...)

Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton

Pete Townsend and Eric Clapton have been true friends for many years ... Their friendship dates back to the time Clapton with The Yardbirds! Unfortunately, like many rock and roll artists in 1960s and 1970sClapton began to use illegal substances regularly, which he generously shared with his then-girlfriend Alice Gore... Their addiction became so pernicious that in 1972 they were mutual friends with Pete - Bob and Mia Townsend was asked to visit the Clapton estate together and assess the situation. Of course Pete agreed...

Pete Townsend and Eric Clapton
Pete Townsend and Eric Clapton

The trio went to Porsche Townsend under the pouring rain. At the time, Pete was battling alcohol addiction himself. Combined with adverse weather conditions, this made it deadly ...

“Slightly drunk and proudly touting my Porsche’s impeccable grip in all conditions, I lost control on a wet country road and nearly killed us all. We ended up between two trees, but miraculously survived... We arrived at Eric's house at 11:30. I didn't see the irony that a drunk would come to offer help to a substance addict…"

In the end Townsend organized a charity concert, after which Clapton sought help and slowly overcame his addiction. Unfortunately his girlfriend Alice Gore did not follow in his footsteps and died in 1995 year.

He helped Clapton "steal" George Harrison's then-wife

Eric Clapton and Patty Boyd
Eric Clapton and Patty Boyd

By the way, this is not the only case when Townsend helped Eric Clapton. It's no secret that in his youth, Clapton was literally obsessed with Patti Boyd - guitarist's wife The Beatles by George Harrison! He even dedicated a song to her Layla, and, subsequently, they got married ... But who would have thought that Eric helped to get the lady of the heart ... Pete.

“While Eric was courting Patty, I was spending time with George. He was happy to talk to me about Indian mysticism and music! We chatted with him about many things, but it was difficult for me to follow his reasoning ... "

Eventually Patty left George for the sake of Erika:

“Patti seemed so happy and free! She smiled at Eric in a way she hadn't smiled since I first met her..."

He almost died in a 'flower-eating contest' with Keith Moon

Keith Moon...
Keith Moon...

A curious and at the same time life-threatening event occurred during a party hosted by Keith Moon. The group and numerous friends gathered in a hotel room decorated with flower arrangements. It is worth noting that Moon had his own trick at parties: he “complimented a flower, and then immediately ate it.” And now we are not talking about flowers (as many could already understand), but about girls ... In this case Moon threw a party for a 17 year old girl named Katie.

Young "The Who", 1968
Young "The Who", 1968

After dinner and drinks Moon got up and announced that he would leave The Who right after the end of their tour. Townsend and other members of the group reacted with shock! When Moon demanded that everyone drink to this decision, Katie wholeheartedly supported him, not realizing the seriousness of the situation ... Further history takes a crazy turn:

"What's next? Will you eat another flower?" I pointed cynically at the word flower, but I pointed to Cathy. "Not!" Keith replied calmly. “You will eat a flower,” he said and pointed to the flower arrangement… I was not going to refuse this challenge. So I put a flower in my mouth and started chewing…”

“My throat suddenly started to burn, then swelled up and my breathing became constricted before I started to wheeze… I was allergic to everything I put in my mouth and started to choke. No one seemed to take it seriously except Keith. Suddenly he jumped over the table and looked me straight in the face: "What's going on?" - he asked. "I'm suffocating, damn it" - I barely exhaled ... "

Then Moon threw everything away and demanded that someone call an ambulance. Fortunately, at this point the throat Townsend began to slowly pass ... Mun remained with him all the time with tears in his eyes, afraid that his friend might die. He quickly admitted that his announcement of leaving the group was just a ploy:

"I turned you on, mate," he said. "I'm just trying to impress the beautiful Cathy..."

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