Monday, February 1, 2010

The Who Prepare for Super Bowl Halftime Performance‏

by Brent Warnken

Following in the footsteps of some of rock 'n' roll's biggest names like Paul McCartney, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and U2, the Who is set to perform at the upcoming Super Bowl halftime show on Feb. 7. The Who's Pete Townshend recently spoke with Billboard online, revealing that the band will perform a "compact medley" of their greatest hits, a format adopted by previous halftime performers Prince and the Boss.

Fans unable to attend Super Bowl XLIV, which will see the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints fighting for the trophy, can get the Who tickets online.

"We're kinda going a mashup of stuff. A bit of 'Baba O'Riley,' a bit of 'Pinball Wizard,' a bit of the close of 'Tommy,' a bit of 'Who Are You,' and a bit of 'Won't Get Fooled Again.' It works - it's quite a saga. A lot of the stuff that we do has that kind of celebratory vibe about it - we've always tried to make music that allows the audience to go a bit wild if they want to," revealed the guitarist to Billboard before adding, "Hopefully it will hit the spot." The Who's Roger Daltrey, Pete's brother Simon Townshend, executive producer Ricky Kirschner and new director Hamish Hamilton created the band's Super Bowl set list.

Along with rock rivals the Rolling Stones, the Who emerged during the British Invasion of the mid-1960s and into the 1970s. Townshend, bassist John Entwistle and vocalist Daltrey played in a band called the Detours in the Shepherd's Bush neighborhood in London.

After changing names to the Who, the lineup expanded to include drummer Keith Moon. Due to Townshend's tendency to smash guitars on stage and engage in other wild stage antics, the Who quickly garnered a sizable fan base, which only increased after "I Can't Explain" became one of the biggest hits of 1965.

"I Can't Explain" ushered in a wave of hit singles for the Who, such as "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere," "The Kids Are Alright," "Substitute" and "My Generation," in which Townshend issued the proclamation that would epitomize an era in rock and roll: "I hope I die before I get old." The Who continued to shape rock 'n' roll as the 1960s came to an end with the 90-minute rock opus Tommy.

Their influence continued as the 1970s began, with the 1970 album Live at Leeds. Keith Moon tragically died of a drug overdose in 1978 and Kenney Jones filled in on drums on tour, but sadly a few years later Townshend endured a near-fatal overdose. Also in 1981, Entwistle and Daltrey hit the road solo and the band released its first album since Moon's death, Face Dances.

The Who reunited sporadically throughout the 1980s and 1990s and received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards, although the honor was overshadowed by the death of Entwistle, who suffered a fatal heart attack at the hands of cocaine in 2002 - the night before the Who was set to embark on a string of live shows in the U.S. After taking some time off to mourn his death, the band kicked off its tour with a show at the Hollywood Bowl on July 1, 2002 and continued on to 26 dates in the U.S.

In October 2006, the Who released its first album of new material since 1982's It's Hard. The album, titled Endless Wire, was recorded at Pete Townshend's home studio between 2002 and 2006, and the band continues to tour and land high profile gigs, such as their upcoming Super Bowl halftime show.

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