cover of book

A Band with Built-In Hate: The Who from Pop Art to Punk
by Peter Stanfield
Reaktion Books, 2020
Cloth: 978-1-78914-277-8 | eISBN: 978-1-78914-278-5

“Ours is music with built-in hatred.”—Pete Townshend, cofounder of the Who
This book is a biography of the Who unlike any other. From their inception as the Detours in the mid-sixties, to the late seventies, post-Quadrophenia, the Who are pictured through the prism of pop art and the radical leveling of high and low culture that it brought about—a drama that was consciously and aggressively performed by the band. Peter Stanfield lays down a path through the British pop revolution, its attitude and style, as it was uniquely embodied by the band: first, under the mentorship of arch-mod Peter Meaden, as they learned their trade in the pubs and halls of suburban London; and then with Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp, two aspiring filmmakers, at the very center of things in Soho. Guided by the concerns of contemporary commentators—among them George Melly, Lawrence Alloway, and, most conspicuously, Nik Cohn—Stanfield tells the story of a band driven by fury, and of what happened when Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, Keith Moon, and John Entwistle moved from backroom stages to international arenas, from explosive 45s to expansive concept albums. Above all, he tells of how the Who confronted their lost youth as it was echoed in punk.

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