by John Curley—Pete Townshend of The Who, infamous for his “Hope I die before I get old” line in The Who’s “My Generation,” celebrated his 65th birthday today (Wednesday, May 19th).
Like many in my generation, I became a fan of The Who in my early teenage years. Quadrophenia, in particular, spoke to me like no other collection of songs ever had. Pete Townshend’s songs in Quadrophenia had the very unique quality of being both universal and, at the same time, extremely personal.
The video above is of The Who’s performance of “Eminence Front,” which features Townshend on lead vocals, from their second show at New York’s Shea Stadium in October 1982. That happened to be the first concert that I attended. (The Clash were also on the bill for that concert and tickets were $16.00. Imagine that!)
Despite the fact that The Who’s 1982 tour was billed as their “farewell tour,” they have regrouped for tours several times since then. I’ve seen them perform 16 times since that Shea Stadium show, including a memorable headlining appearance at a benefit for the UK charity Teenage Cancer Trust at London’s Royal Albert Hall in March 2004.
Townshend is currently experiencing problems with tinnitus, which, of course, makes playing electric guitar very difficult. Here’s hoping that Townshend’s hearing improves and he’s able to take the concert stage again. He’s still one of the most demonstrative live performers around.
Goldmine wishes Pete Townshend a happy and healthy 65th birthday.