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Who I Am | [Pete Townshend]

Who I Am

From the voice of a generation: the most highly anticipated autobiography of the year, and the story of a man who wanted The Who to be called The Hair; wanted to be a sculptor, a journalist, a dancer and a graphic designer; became a musician, composer, librettist, fiction writer, literary editor, sailor; drank too much and nearly died; detached from his body in an airplane, on LSD, and nearly died; planned to write his memoir when he was 21; and published this book at 67.
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Publisher's Summary

From the voice of a generation: the most highly anticipated autobiography of the year, and the story of a man who...

  • ...wanted The Who to be called The Hair.
  • ...wanted to be a sculptor, a journalist, a dancer, and a graphic designer.
  • ...became a musician, composer, librettist, fiction writer, literary editor, sailor.
  • ...smashed his first guitar onstage, in 1964, by accident.
  • ...invented the Marshall stack, feedback, and the concept album.
  • ...inspired Jimi Hendrix's pyrotechnical stagecraft.
  • ...is partially deaf in his left ear.
  • ...stole his windmill guitar playing from Keith Richards.
  • ...followed Keith Moon off a hotel balcony into a pool and nearly died.
  • ...did too much cocaine and nearly died.
  • ...drank too much and nearly died.
  • ...detached from his body in an airplane, on LSD, and nearly died.
  • ...was embroiled in a tabloid scandal that has dogged him ever since.
  • ...planned to write his memoir when he was 21.
  • ...published this book at 67.

©2012 Pete Townshend (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers

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What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (411 )
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4.3 (379 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Augenezum Pittsburgh, PA USA 10-23-12
    Augenezum Pittsburgh, PA USA 10-23-12 Member Since 2010

    Aug

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Thank you Mr. Townshend"
    Where does Who I Am rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    #1!
    Excellently performed autobiography.


    What about Pete Townshend’s performance did you like?

    Personable, heartfelt performance.


    Any additional comments?

    Thanks for this enlightening and entertaining autobiography. I am grateful that you chose to tell your own story. Listening to your voice was like listening to a good friend. Best wishes to you for the rest of your life, and beyond.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Greg tacoma, WA, United States 10-13-12
    Greg tacoma, WA, United States 10-13-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An absolute must for any self-respecting Who fan"
    If you could sum up Who I Am in three words, what would they be?

    Interested, captivated, and delighted


    What did you like best about this story?

    It was a great treat to have Townshend read this himself. I felt like I got to have the conversation that I always wanted with one of my heroes. The early years, the youthful angst, the crazy 60s, the family man, the abuse, and the passion all combined to paint a human portrait of a great artist.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I am fascinated by the post-war era in the UK, and Townshend does a great job of tying together the period before the British Invasion. A bygone period that included Holiday Camps, impoverished children playing in bombed out lots, Skiffle, Mods and Rockers, and a brawling young Roger Daltry. The book is like a great cigar, full of rich flavors and history, and yet still something that you can savor in the moment.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    There should probably be a cute wordplay that use the standard “Who” motif, but I am not sure that this would make a good movie. I suppose "Pete Who?" or some such thing.


    Any additional comments?

    If you loved Keith Richard's Life, you will love this book as well. If you are a fan of The Who, you will definitely love this book. This said, neither of these are prerequisites, and if you are the type who would simply enjoy listening to a tremendous raconteur cover a fascinating period of history from the front seat, then you will also love this book.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donaldo Milton, NH, United States 03-10-13
    Donaldo Milton, NH, United States 03-10-13 Member Since 2012

    Admirer of history and biographies.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Pretentious Get"
    Any additional comments?

    I'm a pretty big Who fan. It was my hope that there'd be some sort of inside stories of how some of my favorite songs came to be which, to fair there are, but not anywhere near enough. I was also hoping to hear some inside stories about the recording process and their legendery screaming matches but alas, only a scant few. The narrative pretty much goes on about his neurosis’ and accompanying substance abuse problems, which is fine. But personally I would have preferred more of the former and less of the latter.

    Beyond that, the sniggering smarminess that dominate spots of his narration tend to wear thin after a while and have left me having to listen to this in installments. I havn't even finished listening to the book, but intend to. In conclusion, it's just a difficult listen where I fully expected to devour it.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeffrey A. Sherman 02-22-15 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Poorly edited, top of the waves memoir."
    What did you like best about Who I Am? What did you like least?

    I loved Pete's narration. I also enjoyed hearing details about his life and writing process. I disliked the poor editing. He jumped from episode to episode with no transition. People entered and left his life with no explanation. His drug and alcohol problems came and went just as mysteriously.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I would have liked more detail about every aspect of his life.


    Have you listened to any of Pete Townshend’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    no.


    Was Who I Am worth the listening time?

    Yes. It was good, as far as it went.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Colin Parker Canada 02-06-15
    Colin Parker Canada 02-06-15 Member Since 2014
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    6
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    "A pitiful legend only in his own mind!"

    This guy has the nerve to include his 3rd rate band with Queen, Stones, Beatles.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    808goddess Kaneohe, HI United States 01-26-15
    808goddess Kaneohe, HI United States 01-26-15 Member Since 2013
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    "BEST AUTOBIOGRAPHY EVER--DON'T MISS THIS ONE"
    If you could sum up Who I Am in three words, what would they be?

    Oh My God


    What other book might you compare Who I Am to and why?

    They will all be comparing themselves to this one. Pete Townshend's autobiography stands alone.


    Which character – as performed by Pete Townshend – was your favorite?

    I would say my favorite was the African American blind musician in the bar who remembered Townshend's interrupting voice from a past performance. Hysterical. But Townshend telling the story makes it even funnier. I dare you to listen to that part without smiling.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, but I didn't want it to end, either.


    Any additional comments?

    I was taken by the author's sincere and honest reading. I didn't know who he was until I read this audiobook. What an incredible life. Who would have thought an autobiography could be this good???? A++++++++ HIGHLY RECOMMEND. Don't miss this one. BRAVO

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael R. Young Severn, MD USA 11-27-14
    Michael R. Young Severn, MD USA 11-27-14 Member Since 2009
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    "LONG!!!"
    If you could sum up Who I Am in three words, what would they be?

    A great summary, without leaving out ANY details. It took 11 chapters to get to The Who's biggest commercial success, Tommy, in 1969. And there were 22 more chapters to go.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Pete Townshend? Why or why not?

    I don't know what else Pete could tell us about his life.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Pete Townshend?

    Not really. This wasn't the best recording. He would laugh at his own stories and the audio would fade in and out.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No, it went on too long.


    Any additional comments?

    Just too long.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert FLETCHER, NC, United States 11-25-13
    Robert FLETCHER, NC, United States 11-25-13
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    "Love Pete but this book...not so much"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Coming from a Who freak (28 albums) and huge PT admirer this book is not an easy listen. I'm going to critique the delivery and not the content. Pete's delivery is monotone and less than engaging - and he has this annoying habit of emitting this fake laugh as if it's a cue that he said something funny. He almost sounds like he's bored. I'm about 1/2 way through and thought about returning this book but couldn't bring myself to do it.
    Long live rock!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Meera Philadelphia, PA, United States 11-13-13
    Meera Philadelphia, PA, United States 11-13-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Disappointing"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    As a Who fan, I definitely found this worth listening to. I would have liked more about some of the music-the 60's and 70's speed by quickly. I didn't really get a great idea about his relationships with the other members of the band and his wife. Yes, he talks about them, but he has more detailed anecdotes about presumably peripheral people, like Theresa Russell. In that vein, he goes into detail about things that were ultimately not relevant, and completely skips over and glosses over other things.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Pete Townshend? Why or why not?

    I would definitely read a books about him, but not by him.


    Any additional comments?

    This was in parts a painful listen, because Townshend had a painful upbringing that he carried with him through his life. I tried to keep this in mind when he describes his self-admittedly jerky behavior.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Oconomowoc, WI, United States 09-08-13
    John Oconomowoc, WI, United States 09-08-13

    jgriner4

    ratings
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    9
    2
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    "Candor is central to any autobiography"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Who I Am to be better than the print version?

    Finding time to listen is easier than finding time to read. Many hours behind the wheel allow me to safely enjoy an audiobook where reding a print or digital media book would be impossible or at least ill-advised.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Pete is clearly central. This is, after all an autobiography. I very much enjoyed that he narrated. His candor and self-awareness (low self esteem notwithstanding) personalized his tales and experiences and allowed the listener in. Thank you.


    What does Pete Townshend bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The authors narration makes this more the telling of stories than the reading of a book.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I laughed. I cried. I cheered and I jeered.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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