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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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  •  
    C.S.Kelly United States 04-28-13
    C.S.Kelly United States 04-28-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Wow...what a surprise."

    Having never really been a big Who fan I am not quite sure why I choose this title...certainly am happy I did so.....I almost felt I was on the Magic Bus. My preconcieved notions about the members of the band were flat out totally wrong. Pete Townsend I always knew was talented...even though not a big fan anyone who is a peer of those who madeup the British Invasion would have to be deaf not to heard and appreciated at least some of the Who's music. But Pete Townsend is so much more....he has really packed in a massive amount of accomplishments and interests and career's (yes multiple careers-while a rock star) into his life. A truely remarkable man. The only disappointment I had was he mentioned so many cities that he traveled,toured ,vacationed and visited...but when telling the story of Keith Moon driving the Lincoln into the pool at the Holiday Inn...he omitted saying it was in Flint,Michigan...as that is my hometown I wish he had-but then it is his story and his book.
    His performance in reading the book was incredible...again far beyond what I could ever have imagined. He told a fascinating story and held my attention with an incredible performance....he proved to me he could perform on many different stages in many numerous ways. Funny it just occured to me how he shared all of his vast accomplishments and never once was he bragging or boastful...in fact quite the opposite...I admire that as well he certainly could have. A great listen-enjoy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin United States 04-28-13
    Kevin United States 04-28-13 Member Since 2011

    Good Sci-Fi is so hard to find. I loved "Enders Game," written by Orson Scott Card. Favorite Book of 2012 Bill Bryson's "From a Sun Burned Country." Wildly informative, laugh out loud, travel log about Australia. "Who I Am," by Pete Townsend and "Life" by Kieth Richards favorite auto biographies of 2012

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    "To My Dear Friend Pete"

    Dear Pete,

    I am writing to let you know how much one of your very recent recordings moved me, and warmed my heart. Of course I am speaking of the audio version of your autobiography, “Who I Am,” read by you. It has such an intimate quality that I started to feel like we were great mates back along the way, had lost touch, bumped into each other in a pub, were thrilled to see each other and catch up. We each enjoyed a tall glass of Cool, Cool Rain, as you told the most fascinating stories of the adventure life has been for you since last we met. Wow!

    I enjoyed finding out about your love of sailing, I get it, me too. And the story about how your agent got you to go to Woodstock, lock the door and keys out the window, too funny. Glad he did, because that’s where I first saw you in action – no not at the event –but at a four and a half hour premier screening in downtown Chicago, just five months after the event. This was before the movie, ‘Woodstock’ blew up at the Cannes film festival, launching many bands, along with yours, into the stratosphere.

    What’s so wonderful about this day and age is I could go online and look up your performances, and video’s. There’s a version of “Who Are You,” from what looks to be the late 60’s that I showed to my 22 year old son and asked him, “Which band member do you think drove a Lincoln Continental into the outdoor pool at a Holiday Inn and got the band thrown out of the Holiday Inn chain for life.” My son doesn’t know much about the band but in this video it became obvious that the drummer was full of the kind of mischief that would find him behind the wheel of such a prank. It was also obvious to me how you could forgive Keith nearly anything with just one of those impish smiles, even your lose of hearing from using too much explosives to blow up his drums.

    I also loved seeing you in action on stage in New York performing for all the first responders. WOW! The power that came through you, the band and the songs was phenomenal. Made me realize how much more you have to offer when sober. You literally destroyed that guitar without having to smash it up. And what you call your “spazz dancing” was more like a fiercely vibrant whirling Sufi prayer rocking the audience, and me watching the video. It was the pure essence of you. Thanks.

    Glad the Kennedy center honored the two remaining members, loved how Jack Black got you guys to crack up, and then, did I see a few tears?

    And to have found romantic love with a talented and creative partner, well that may be your greatest creation, well let’s be fair, at least one of them.

    What I love about you most is your loyalty to friends, your passion for creation, and your ability to forgive others.

    Your Friend Kevin

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul New York, NY, United States 04-08-13
    Paul New York, NY, United States 04-08-13 Member Since 2007

    Guitarist with The Prudes

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    "Maximum R&B as I hoped it would be"

    Pete's narration makes the book complete, probably the best of the recent rock bios by a good measure. Pete is brutally honest, well worth a listen, my favorite book of the year.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Walt Florida 04-05-13
    Walt Florida 04-05-13

    Audio Producer

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    "Who fans will love it...but"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Who I Am to be better than the print version?

    I loved hearing Pete Townshend tell the story of his life. In my opinion, his voice makes this autobiography great. His self-deprecating approach to many of his experiences and praise of many individuals in his life show a side of this musical genius few have ever known, until now.


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

    No


    Any additional comments?

    Being a huge fan of The Who and someone who was able to see them live multiple times in all forms of the band, I was truly looking forward to listening to this book. Unfortunately because of my schedule, I was only able to listen in 20 - 40 minute segments. That became an issue when trying to keep all the names straight.

    Pete meticulously brings many names to the story; from agents, record people, musicians, sound engineers, girlfriends and acquaintances to family members and influences. If there is any drawback to this book it is that. I believe even someone who is able to listen to the whole book in 2-3 sittings would still get a bit confused keeping all the players straight.

    Nevertheless, this a fascinatingly interesting and openly honest story about one of rock n roll's icons.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Mcfall MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA, US 04-05-13
    Scott Mcfall MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA, US 04-05-13 Member Since 2012
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    "GREAT listen"
    If you could sum up Who I Am in three words, what would they be?

    Real raw truth


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Who I Am?

    great stories


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

    no


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

    kept me very interested from beginning to end


    Any additional comments?

    none. really enjoyed this listen!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Peden 03-17-13
    James Peden 03-17-13

    NavySWCC12

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    "Absolutely brilliant!!!"
    What made the experience of listening to Who I Am the most enjoyable?

    This is right up there with Keith Richards' bio. If Mr. Townshend ever wants to stop rocking & rolling, he could very easily lend his voice to other audio books. I would never count The Who as my fav band, or PT as my fav guitar slinger, but this was one well written story, full of insights & life. Enjoyed it immensley. Thank you for writing such a great book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 03-09-13
    Catherine LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 03-09-13 Member Since 2014

    I love to read!

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    "A master story teller. A master word smith."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    He can make you forget about yourself, and think about him. Which can be a blessing if you need that kind of escape. I listen to several audio books every week and less than fifteen minutes into this one, I thought, "this is the best damn audio performance I ever heard." Never before have I logged on to find out who the reader was, this time I had to shut off the book to go see. Very surprised and not at the same time, to find it was himself reading his own book.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Who I Am?

    I remember all of it.


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

    No. I did not even know who he was when I bought the book.


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

    The sailor who fell into grace from the Sea.


    Any additional comments?

    By the end of the book he had won my respect and admiration, as a person. Then at the very end, he took it all away. He mentioned all his regards and gratitude in the epilogue, focusing on his children, and never mentioned their mother. A woman who was clearly forgiving against the backdrop of his attempts to waste her through two decades through recklessness. He mentions his girlfriend is wonderful but they do not have children, still it does not matter because she gave him dogs. This bought him back to ordinary people, willing to dabble in injustice as a convenience. He won my heart and then gave it back. I was able to withdraw from the magic of his magnificence, although he drew me in. He provides an entrance to the theater, and then an exit door. Which is more than I can say for most supernaturals.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frank 02-28-13
    Frank 02-28-13
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    "Listen!!!"
    Would you listen to Who I Am again? Why?

    Pete reads his own story - he's a great guy whom I met and played with once years ago
    Very provocative!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christina Sanford Santa Rosa, CA 95405 02-04-13
    Christina Sanford Santa Rosa, CA 95405 02-04-13 Member Since 2002
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    "This book makes me sad"
    Would you try another book from Pete Townshend and/or Pete Townshend?

    I feel like so much of this book was about his affairs. Knowing full well that he was hurting his family, he giggles about his flings like "aren't I cute". NO you are not cute. I get the whole sex drugs and rock and roll thing. But come on. Married and fooling around with anyone that would let him makes for a miserable human being. This book just makes me sad. Without all the affairs, he's led an interesting life. Worked hard and earned accolades. I just can't get past the many many cheating stories.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada 11-06-12
    Nancy Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada 11-06-12 Member Since 2012
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    "ok so he's an interesting pompus windbag"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I have always been a huge fan of the Who and Pete Townshend, so I was really looking forward to his book. I have to say for the most part it was a great listen. Pete Townshend has always come across like a bit of a prat and this book doesn't do anything to change my opinion. He is still one of the most brilliant musicians of our time and prat or not he has still had a very interesting life.


    What else would you have wanted to know about Pete Townshend’s life?

    What more is there to know. One thing you can say about this book is it's detailed. Pete covers his whole life in great detail and it's almost all very interesting


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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