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Pete Townshend: Who I Am

Pete Townshend: Who I Am [Kindle Edition]

Pete Townshend
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (177 customer reviews)

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Product Description


‘More honest than any fan would have hoped. Maybe nobody knows what it’s like to be the bad man, to be the sad man, behind blue eyes—but Who I Am is as close as we are likely to get.’ Rolling Stone

‘Astonishingly frank, detailed and heartfelt.’ The Sun

‘Whatever the subject, he writes passionately and eloquently.’ The Times

Product Description

He is one of the greatest musical talents Britain has ever produced. But even as the principle songwriter and lead guitarist for The Who, it would be unjust to define Pete Townshend’s life simply through his achievements with bandmates Daltrey, Moon and Entwistle.

Noting that he has sold over 100 million records over a fifty-year period goes some way to quantifying his accomplishments, but numbers only scratch the surface of his contribution to popular culture.

An avid student of his profession, during his career he has been credited with the creation of the concept album, worked as a literary editor, developed scripts for television and the stage, and written songs that have defined a generation. The thinking man’s rock star with a dedication to his craft unlike any other in the business, he continues to inspire new generations of performers and writers with a continuing commitment to his art.

Now, in one of the most eagerly awaited autobiographies of recent times, this icon tells about his incredible life and elaborates on the turbulences of time spent as one of the world’s most respected musicians – being in one of rock’s greatest ever bands, and wanting to give it all up.

Incredibly, as a man who has achieved so much, this truly unique story of ambition, relentless perfectionism and rock and roll excess will be regarded as one of his greatest achievements.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 7017 KB
  • Print Length: 753 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0062201522
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (8 Oct 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007UK83S4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (177 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #24,085 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pete Townshend - Who Are You? 8 Mar 2014
Let me hazard a guess:

You're a Who fan. You're less impressed by Townshend's post-Who output and you couldn't really care a wet slap about Lifehouse. You're interested in the stuff Townshend got up to with Roger and Moony and the Ox in the Who's heyday, and - given that there are two sides to quite a lot of stories - you're prepared to listen to what Townshend has to say about the whole 'indecent images' business of a few years back.

Well... prepare to be disappointed. The first third of 'Who I Am' is really, really weirdly written... an extremely dry and unemotive account of PT's childhood (for someone with a background in publishing, there seems to have been very little editorial oversight of this section...), followed by a pretty cursory account of the 'Who' years (again, for a songwriter, there's virtually no insight or reflection on the songwriting process, the lyrics, the inspiration...), and then a significant rump of prose detailing Townshend's (pretty tedious, bourgeois, self-regarding) decline into bloated rock-star self-pity. Most of the characters Townshend details won't stick in your mind, because they won't form part of a narrative with any meaning to anyone other than Pete Townshend. Most of these people will be 'beautiful girls' half Townshend's age who he slept with, or wanted to sleep with. Who cares..?

The other thing about this book is - a bit queasily - the feeling you have from very early on, that the writer's trying to manipulate your feelings about the (inevitable) account of PT's internet foolishness. Lots and lots of (seemingly quite contrived) 'flashback' references to what may, or may not, have been his own childhood abuse. Fair enough, it's his own autobiography and he can write what he likes... but from this reader's point of view, PT's 'victim' status seems a bit over-egged. I wonder why.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars definitive biography still awaited 10 Dec 2013
Pete as a musician can have few bigger fans than me. Starting with the Live At Leeds album, the Who have become part of my life over the last 30 years.

There is lots of interesting stuff in this book, to be sure, and actually a good deal of honesty. He will surely appreciate that his endless stories about sex and substance abuse won't make a good impression on many readers and it is genuinely puzzling to me that he goes on and on about these strands in his life. Perhaps it just reflects the more self-obsessed side of his personality, or the element of self-loathing that he documented so superbly in many of the songs on The Who By Numbers. There is also a lot of name-dropping, and it genuinely surprises me that Pete should have been so keen to make much of his connections with celebrity.

Townshend has been known for decades as one of the most articulate people in rock. Ironically, this very articulateness (and the calculation that goes with it) might be getting in the way of a truly rounded picture. I'm not so much concerned here about the "child porn" debacle - on balance, I am inclined to believe his account. I just suspect there is lots of other stuff - especially about music, and about what really went on in The Who - that he's not telling us here. Why not? Is it because there are specific things he would rather not discuss? Or does it feel more important to him, for some reason, to go on about the booze and the birds? I have always been fascinated (for all its flaws) by the first Who album, My Generation, and I wondered what Pete would say about it. It is not mentioned - you look in the index and it simply ain't there!
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, but... 16 Oct 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I had been looking forward to reading this book since it was first announced. It's entertaining, but also strangely disappointing in terms of not living up to high expectations - those expectations having been raised simply by the highly intelligent and articulate nature of the author. The tone of the text is rather academic and sedate and it rather lacks the passion and wit that has typically been present in the author's interviews, articles and letters. It is as if it is the product of a therapist coaxing the facts of a story out of a patient for a clinical document. Much of the story has been documented elsewhere in detail, drawing upon interviews and texts, but there are a number of personal insights and revelations that do expand upon it. I do think that the book suffers from being too condensed and edited. Many key milestones in the author's career and development flash by in only a few lines when they warrant far more detail and exploration. In fact, the book could well have been twice the length and split into two volumes to do its subject greater justice. The style of the narrative is to a degree confessional in its accounts of the largely self-destructive lifestyle that the author has frequently led and of the strain that he subjected his wife, family and friends too. However, the emphasis is on documenting that lifestyle and not really clarifying or exploring the motivation or reasons for it. The portrait the author paints of himself is at times quite uncomfortable. Read more ›
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