From the voice of a generation: the most highly anticipated autobiography of the year, and the story of a man who...
©2012 Pete Townshend (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers
Get a long little doggie...
Early days in London
The exquisite story and rich language of Mr. Townsend's autobiography serves to further establish him as a truly great artist. His light touch and genuine warmth in his reading is a special treat. When he laughs at little episodes of his own amazing life, you are reminded of the human being within the genius.
Absolutely without guile; open, frank, visual. What a life, what a legacy, and what a g-g-generation!
To put my 5* rating in perspective: as a very young teen, I was indifferent about The Who, couldn't name more than 3 songs they performed, wasn't a fan of the on-stage performance art-ish antics, and thought Tommy was mildly entertaining thanks to Elton John and Tina Turner; I'd rather have been listening to my Hendrix or Zeppelin LPs. So, my interest in this book surprised me; it was purely from seeing this very recognizable man recently on TV, promoting his bio, and being struck by his level of sincerity and vulnerability -- an almost apologetic demeanor without any of the ususal celeb braggadocio and self-aggrandizement that ruined some of the music celeb bios I've tried to get through (because yeah, we know, you're a bad A$$). Could that possibly be that rock star that used to do that windmill thing, smash his guitar, and strut with the royals of British rock, long live sex drugs and rock and roll? I was not some former fan, hoping to read Townshend's bio and flash-back to the glorious days when *I'd walk over you to see The Who.*
That perceived candor was accurate; I doubt it's possible to lay yourself so bare, as Townshend has done here, and be duplicitous. The history is fascinating and it reads like a grand timeline of rock and roll (which he calls *the absolute vehicle for self-destruction*). Townshend can probably go head to head with Keith Richards and his stories, but you don't get the sense that you are gathered around a pub table being regaled with wild rock star adventures -- though there are plenty of tales included. Instead, there is a kind of tolerance and wisdom that distances Townshend from being led by his talent to mastering his talent. His insecurities and self-doubts are bravely admitted, his love of family and friends obvious. I liked that he spoke about his achievements without bragging, aware of his talent as a gift--not a free pass to be an arse.
Once in a while an author connects to the reader and invites them into his life, it becomes intimate and real, like a confessional, and that connection is a gift borne of talent. Townshend's writing, and choice to narrate the book himself, put this book in that category. If I'd paid attention to those lyrics years ago, I probably wouldn't have been so surprised by his depth and talent. Like the man, this book is the real thing, and the product of a life lived hard...and well. The best celeb bio I've read to date (including the great Steve Jobs bio)--and remember, this is a man I had no interest in before. I'll have to go back and listen to The Who (with my *mature* ears) to see if I am yet a fan of the music, but I can say without any doubt I sure like Pete Townshend the man.
I thought I knew most of the stories about and around The Who, I was wrong. Pete goes into some great depth about his struggles and interactions with his own personal struggles and the struggles with the band. He didn't seem to hold back, appears to be very honest. He wrote about things in depth that would have been easily trivialized. I appreciate his honesty and candid accounts of his life from his point of view. No sugar coating. I very much enjoyed this book. I would put this on par with Steve Jobs book. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys biographies. I am very glad he narrated the book. Wish more autobiography authors would do that. He seem to add some fake laughter at time that didn't really work for me but that is really nit picking.
Listening to Pete Townshend narrate his own biography makes this even more special. He does a great job with it, laughing at times at the absurdity of what was happening in his life. You feel as if he is talking to you personally, musing about the events of his life and sharing them with you in an evening together. Peter's artistic genius is everywhere evident; his portraits of other people in his life, the band and those he met along the way, are generous, gracious and full of depth, color and nuance. For those of us who are fans of the Who, Pete chronicles the events in his life, his thoughts and feelings that led to the writing of some of the most memorable rock songs in history.
This is similar to Keith Richard's autobiography, "Life" which is not narrated by him. For those who lived through the '60s, these autobiographies are wonderful to read.
It feels like he is talking to you personally, that we are spending an evening together in his home, while muses and shares memories of his life and the people and experiences he had.
Pete Townshend provides very interesting insights into the british rock scene of the 60's. The interactions between various artists of the time was amazing.
Pete Townshend pulls no punches for anyone including himself. Seemed to be very honestly written.
He was able to laugh at himself and his past behavior.
I went back and listened to my entire Who library. It was really cool to have that first hand background on the creative process that Pete went thru to write a lot of the Who's songs.
You will not be disappointed with this purchase.
I absolutely love a book read by it's author...unless it's Stephen Hawking. Almost kidding. You get more than the words when you hear the author actually recalling and reflecting on his own life. The emotions conveyed by the voice of the one who lived it adds a three-dimensional quality that mere printed words can not adequately convey. I have always been a Pete Townshend fan and wish to say thanks from the very bottom of my heart. You are truly one of rock and roll's greatest in one of the greatest rock and roll bands that will ever be. Many thanks to you, Roger, Keith, and John for the music you have given the world to enjoy. Tommy remains light years ahead of any modern composition. It has the same effect on me today as it did the first time I ever heard it some forty plus years ago. Wow! What an accomplishment.
Your comment on Mick Jagger was sincere...honest...and hilarious!
Plenty of funny moments between the bandmates especially Keith but I also enjoyed the backstories behind the creative engine that drove Pete to make his art. Truly a master craftsman.
Pete - Pure and Easy
I highly recommend this book. Delightful. Money well spent.
Yes, this book is an honest story of a music life some would love to live. Townsend shows he is a thinking man with feelings and reactions to living as we all do. This story adds clarity to the Who as a band and empathy to its leading light ... Pete Townsend.
This story is a refreshing look at the heady days of the music scene, fresh and exciting .... before accountants and lawyers stole it from us.
Slowly, Townsend evolves into the man he is today, a sometimes painful look within, he shares his feelings. and without the fear of the useless media attacking, the story is for the reader or listener, not a journalist with an ache for a sound bite?
I hope Pete Townsend finds his solace in his studio, he has demonstrated to his audience that he is a thinker, a lover, a musician of worth and a man of the times he grew up in.
A book to be treasured and read again as we continue to grow up.
a baby boomer.
the author, it's a bio stupid!
"I can't explain"
This book is better as an audio book as the nuances from the reader gives light to attitudes and outlook subtly coming through in his voice and laughter.
The author is reading his autobiography, and you can hear the passion in his voice in certain passages. Conversely you hear the humor in other funny (or bizarre) stories about his life as a rock icon. It is like he is sitiing in a coffee shop with you and telling you his life story.
You get to understand the man a bit better. It is more than just a travel log.
It is his story. He is the only one who can truly tell it.
If you are a Who fan, this is a must!
I LOVE this book. It is like hanging out with Pete Townshend as he tells me about his entire life and all the interesting stuff about his musical career including the Who and many other folks! Very interesting!
I consider myself a huge Who fan, so I would likely cut this book more slack than most. If someone is a Who obsessive that wants a timeline for production and release dates, this book would serve, I guess.
It's close to 20 hours long but incredibly short on detail where it matters. It's an endless parade of yachts purchased, women he loves madly (but disappear by the next chapter) and misery heaped on his long suffering wife.
Keith Richards allegedly accused Townshend of "thinking too much". So true-he tries to come off as deep and cerebral but it just doesn't work.
I'll stick to Who albums!
The 500 people he name checks without their adding anything to the story.
Just a massive disappointment.
"Who Is He?"
I'm a huge fan of rock bios but have less and less time to read them. So hearing PT tell his story in his own words was brilliant.
He's very honest and that mean that some people, and Pete himself, don't come out in the best light all the time. It's the struggle of a man trying to balance the spiritual, the carnal and a great musical gift.
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