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on 29 August 2017
I have just read the book cover to cover and was completely intrigued by it! Those who feel that he is writing self pity have very little understanding of what he is trying to explain and have not read the book properly. In my understanding he is trying to get over how he feels and what he is going through and none of this to me feels like self pity. It is a very candid, open and honest book and as a Who fan who has seen them play numerous times I also find think it incredible they are still playing to this day, and playing well at that! Not everyone's cup of tea I admit but it's nice to read an autobiography that is as candid as Pete's!
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on 20 May 2015
I am quite a fan of biographies and autobiographies, and I am quite realistic about what to expect from them. I found this to be one of the more interesting ones that I have read, as it is reasonably well-written and for me it provided a lot of insight into PT's life and that of the Who. What I found refreshing was that it was not just endless voyeuristic tales of excess, as is often the case with tales of the those who lead the rock and roll lifestyle. There was a lot of introspection, which might not be that interesting to some people, but which I found fascinating, and I really liked the way it put the Who into perspective. It is however very much PT telling his own story, and not the story of the Who. In fact, the way that PT describes the other band members is very distant, and I wondered how important he really considered these people to be in his life. Even though the Who have just reached some form of 50 year anniversary, it is quite clear from reading this book that PT considered the band to be pretty well finished after Quadrophenia, which is something I had not appreciated before and made me reconsider the way I saw the group. Something which also comes across is that being part of this band was not necessarily a particularly happy experience: they were four people who played music together, but they clearly were not four friends.

Although I prefer this to many of the other autobiographies I have read, there were still things I found frustrating. For instance the way it is written is not consistently interesting throughout, and I found myself skimming over a number of chapters. However, this is not uncommon in autobiographial works, and not something that this book suffers from to any greater extent than others. PT makes many references to being a follower of Meher Baba, but I still felt very much in the dark as to what this was all about. I am not clear what MB's beliefs were, nor what it was about these that appealed to PT. There are also a lot of references to God, which confused me as I was uncertain if there was some irony intended, or even to which deity this referred. Despite these references throughout the book,there was nothing which made me think that PT was in fact a particularly spiritual person, and I felt completely unenlightened as to what influence MB ultimately had on him. His obsession with Lifehouse, the failed musical project intended as a follow-up to Tommy, also gets a bit much, and he does not seem to have a lot of insight into the possibility that the reason it never got off the ground might be because it was not very good.

Despite my reservations, this was still one of the more interesting autobiographies I have read.
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on 11 April 2013
I fell in love with the who aged 13 or 14 in the very early 1980's and subsequently collected all the albums in vinyl. I like countless others idolized Pete Townshend and quickly learned he was not only a genius musician but a complex, caring, intellectual,husband, father and forward thinker. I may not have always followed his career, (not particularly the last ten years )but my desert island disc would have to be All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eye s from 1982.
If you ever have followed this amazing man's life in any way, I urge you read this book. I really did feel like it was Pete discussing his entire life to me like an old friend I haven't seen for years. It's compelling and illuminating and most of all a window into the soul of one of rock's iconic songwriter s. I totally recommend it.
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VINE VOICEon 18 February 2013
Pete Townshend's biog is NOT for the faint of heart. That's an interesting way to start a review, but right from the outset, you get a flavour for the kind of pace ( which is relentless), and the emotional journey you'll be asked to go along on, during the book.

Fans of THE WHO will already be aware of some of the escapades and high jinks, along with the music and some of it's origins. But what some may NOT be prepared for, is the more personal and emotional rhetoric, which oozes from the pages. It's so heartfelt, you can almost feel his volatility. Pete seems to be a man who has grappled with inner demons for a long time, to find a better sense of stability as he got much older.

A fascinating, riveting and at times, slightly harrowing read, too. Check it out.
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on 21 July 2013
I quite enjoyed this, but I don't think I came away from it feeling a lot of sympathy for him. He's certainly very aware of his own failings, but I found some passages like when he claims to have found such great admiration for George Harrison for example, to be somewhat paradoxical and hypocritical. I won't spoil the reason why for anyone who has not yet read the book, but the fact that he seemed oblivious to it himself was a bit odd.

He's a very spiritual man, and that is something I personally found difficult to be in tune with, and he's most definitely a complex being.

I did however, really enjoy the history of The Who. One of my favourite bands, and Townshend is one of the finest songwriters the country has ever produced, but The Who are a different kind of magic, it's more than the songs, the tensions between the musicians was almost as important as the music itself.

Overall, I'd say give it a go. It's open and honest. I think he's a better man today that he was 30 years ago, but there was a fair bit to improve upon. I think he'd agree.
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on 21 January 2016
If you love The Who, you will enjoy reading this book. It's a fascinating insight into the life of Pete Townshend and it's written in a very clear style. All the time I was reading it I could hear his voice in my head saying the words. Yes, there is a lot of name-dropping, but it really is like having a backstage pass and taking a behind the scenes look at what really went on.
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on 29 November 2012
I agree with many of the other reviews, this book is about Pete and his mucked up life with a few good bits about the songs thrown in. It is honest, frank and in some places dull. There is little about the band and the way they interacted; was it just Pete and Roger with the others off doing their thing? The thing may have made the book a little more interesting; (did Keith give Led Zepplin their name?) Why was Kenny Jones not Roger's cup of tea etc. It would have been nice to have been told. As for the book itself; who was the editor! The spelling and gramatical errors are there by the dozen. I hope Pete didn't edit it himself.
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on 21 February 2013
I was never a particular fan of 'The Who', but growing up in the southeast in the '60's & '70's this group always seemed more accessible than the likes of the Rolling Stones etc. I couldn't tolerate the Liverpool/Mersey sound. For me personally therefore Pete Townshend has written an honest account of his experiences as he recalls it & I feel now that I can admire him more because of that.. His explanations of how certain sounds were achieved went over my head but that is due to my lack of knowledge. A good read & I think he's come out of it well. Another 'hero/guitar giant of mine, ie Eric Clapton, after reading his book I thought 'well he's turned out to be a bit of a pratt really'. Sorry.
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on 15 December 2012
I made the mistake of reading reviews of this book before buying: the reviewer was slightly disappointed at Townsend's lack of the mouthiness you'd expect, based on his interviews.
I didn't expect that, but I see what the reviewer meant: I wanted to hear his views on music, the world, drugs and rock 'n' roll. What you got, basically, was his views about himself: ranging from self-loathing (drink, drugs, women) to a clearly high opinion of his value to music and The Arts in general (rather a lot of name-dropping in this respect). But then I guess it is an autobiography! Even the honest accounts of his self-hating behaviours and paranoias seem to be documented so as to gain our respect and sympathy.
Having said all that, it does give us some glimpses into the world of the rock star in the sixties and seventies - in particular, the story of The Who, who - it would appear - still provide Townsend with his main source of funds and pleasure. Long may that continue.
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on 2 August 2013
I am a sucker for rock biographies and have shelve full of them but I will not be reading this again. Without in any way trying to denigrate Pete Townshend's contribution to rock music, I am a Who fan and believe he/they were one of the greatest two or three British rock groups of their age, I could not raise any sympathy for Townshend as a human being. No wonder he fell out with most people in the band at one time or another. Some good insights into other band members I had not picked up on from other sources.If you are a rock anorak like me you will have to get it.
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