Peter Dennis Blandford Townshend (born May 19, 1945 in Chiswick, London) is an influential English rock guitarist and songwriter who is best known as the guitarist for the rock band The Who.
Born into a musical family (his father Cliff was a professional saxophonist in the The Squadronaires and his mother Betty a singer), Townshend exhibited a fascination with music at an early age. He had early exposure to American rock and roll (his mother recounts that he repeatedly saw the 1956 film Rock Around the Clock) and obtained his first guitar from his grandmother at age 12, which he described as a "Cheap Spanish thing."
In 1961 Townshend enrolled at Ealing Art College, and, a year later, he and his school friend from Acton County Grammar School John Entwistle founded their first band, The Confederates, a Dixieland duet featuring Townshend on banjo and Entwistle on horn. From this beginning they moved on to The Detours, a skiffle band fronted by then sheet-metal welder Roger Daltrey, which, under Townshend's leadership, would metamorphose into The Who. They were soon taken on by a mod publicist (named Peter Meaden) who convinced them to change their name to The High Numbers to give it more of a mod feel. After bringing out one single (Zoot Suit), they were signed on by two new managers, Chris Stamp and Kit Lambert. This was the beginning of The Who.
Townshend's biggest guitar influences include Link Wray, John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley and Hank Marvin of The Shadows.
The High Numbers once again became the Who. The early singles Townshend wrote for The Who, including "I Can't Explain," "Pictures of Lily," "Substitute," and "My Generation" matched an ironic and psychologically-astute lyrical sense with crashing, sometimes crude music, a combination which would become the hallmark of the band. During the band's early days, Townshend became known for his eccentric stage style, often interrupting concerts with lengthy introductions of songs, swinging his right arm against the guitar strings windmill-style, and sometimes smashing his guitars on stage, often repeatedly throwing them into his amplifiers and speaker cabinets. Although the first incident of guitar-smashing was thought to be an accident, the onstage destruction of instruments became a regular part of The Who's performances. Townshend, always a voluble interview subject, would later relate these antics to Austrian painter Gustav Metzger's theories on Auto-destructive art, to which he had been exposed at art school.
The Who thrived, and continue to thrive, despite the death of two of the original members. They are regarded by many rock critics as one of the best live bands of the late 60s - early 80s, the result of a unique combination of high volume, showmanship, a wide variety of rock beats, and a high-energy sound that alternated between tight and free-form. The Who continues to perform critically acclaimed sets in the 21st century, including a highly regarded performance at the Live 8 music festival in July of 2005.
Townshend remained the primary songwriter for the group, writing over 100 songs which appeared on the band's 10 studio albums. Among his most well-known accomplishments are the creation of Tommy, for which the term "rock opera" was coined, pioneering the use of feedback, and the introduction of the synthesizer as a rock instrument. Townshend revisited album-length storytelling techniques throughout his career and remains the musician most associated with the rock opera form. Townshend also demonstrated prodigious talent on the guitar and was influential as a player, developing a unique style which combined aspects of rhythm and lead guitar and a characteristic mix of abandon and subtlety.
Townshend has been a follower of the Indian religious guru Meher Baba, who blended elements of Vedantic, Sufi, and Mystic schools. Baba's teachings were a major source of inspiration for many of his works, including Tommy, and the unfinished Who project Lifehouse. The Who song "Baba O'Riley," written for Lifehouse and eventually appearing on the album Who's Next, was named for Meher Baba and minimalist composer Terry Riley. Although Baba's teachings require abstinence from alcohol and drug use, Townshend has had several public battles with substance abuse, including a 1981 heroin overdose in which Townshend came close to death.
In addition to his work with the Who, Townshend has been sporadically active as a solo recording artist. Between 1969 and 1971 Townshend, along with other devotees to Meher Baba, recorded a trio of little-heard albums devoted to the yogi's teachings - I Am, Happy Birthday, and With Love. In response to rampant bootlegging of these, he compiled his personal highlights (and "Evolution", a collaboration with Ronnie Lane), and released his first major-label solo title, 1972's Who Came First was a moderate success and featured demos of Who songs as well as a showcase of his acoustic guitar talents. He collaborated with The Faces bassist and fellow Meher Baba devotee Ronnie Lane on a duet album (1977's Rough Mix). Townshend's solo breakthrough, following the death of Who drummer Keith Moon, was the 1980 release Empty Glass, which included a top-10 single, "Let My Love Open the Door". This release was followed in 1982 by All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes, which included the popular radio track "Slit Skirts." Through the rest of the 1980s and early 1990s Townshend would again experiment with the rock opera and related formats, releasing several story-based albums including White City: A Novel (1985), The Iron Man: A Musical (1989), and Psychoderelict (1993).
Townshend also got the chance to play with his hero Hank Marvin for Paul McCartney's Rockestra sessions, along with other respected rock musicians such as David Gilmour, John Bonham and Ronnie Lane.
Townshend has also recorded several live albums, including one featuring a supergroup he assembled called Deep End, who performed just three concerts and a TV show session for The Tube, to raise money for a charity supporting drug addicts. In 1984 Townshend published an anthology of short stories entitled Horse's Neck. He has also reported that he is writing an autobiography. In 1993 he and Des MacAnuff wrote and directed the Broadway adaptation of the Who album Tommy, as well as a less successful stage musical based on his solo album The Iron Man, based upon the book by Ted Hughes. (MacAnuff and Townshend would later co-produce the animated film The Iron Giant, also based on the Hughes story.)
From the mid-1980s through the present, Townshend has participated in a series of reunion and farewell concerts with the surviving members of The Who, including a 2002 tour immediately after Entwistle's death.
Townshend suffers from partial deafness and tinnitus as a result of extensive exposure to loud music through headphones and in concert, including one notable 1970s concert where the volume level was claimed to have been measured at 120 dB 40 m from the stage. Part of his condition may be attributed to an infamous 1967 appearance on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, during which Keith Moon set off a large amount of explosives inside his drum kit, while Townshend was standing in front of it. In 1989, Townshend gave the initial funding to allow the formation of the nonprofit hearing advocacy group H.E.A.R. (Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers).
Townshend met Karen Astley (daughter of composer Ted Astley) while in art school and married her in 1968. The couple separated in 1994 but are not yet divorced. They have three children, Emma (b. 1969), who is herself a singer/songwriter, Aminta (b. 1971), and Joseph (b. 1989). For many years Townshend refused to confirm or deny rumors that he was bisexual. In a 2002 interview  with Rolling Stone magazine, however, he explained that, although he engaged in some brief same-sex experimentation in the 1960s, he is heterosexual. Townshend now lives with musician Rachel Fuller who he has known for several years. He currently lives in Richmond, England.
In 2003 Townshend received a police caution after acknowledging a solitary paid access of a child pornography website in 1999. He claimed in the press and on his website to have been engaged in research for "A Different Bomb" (a now abandoned book based on an anti-child pornography essay published on his website) and his autobiography. He was added to the British list of registered sex offenders for five years after police confiscated 14 of his computers and found no child pornography. He claims his autobiography will include his own recollections of being sexually abused as a child, a theme that cropped up in Tommy.
In February 2006, a major world tour by the Who was announced to promote their first new album since 1982. Townshend published a semi-autobiographical story "The Boy Who Heard Music" as a serial on a blog beginning in September 2005. On February 25, he announced the issue of a mini-opera inspired by the novella for June 2006.
Although best known for his musical compositions and musicianship, Pete Townshend has been extensively involved in the literary world for more than three decades, penning newspaper and magazine articles, book reviews, essays, books, and scripts.
An early example of Townshend’s penmanship came in August 1970 with the first of nine installments of "The Pete Townshend Page", a monthly column written by Townshend for the British music paper Melody Maker. The column provided Townshend’s perspective on an array of subjects, such as the media and the state of U.S. concert halls and public address systems, as well as providing valuable insight into Townshend’s mindset during the evolution of his Lifehouse project.
Townshend also wrote three sizeable essays for Rolling Stone magazine, the first of which appeared in November, 1970. "In Love With Meher Baba" described Townshend’s spiritual leanings. "Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy," a blow-by-blow account of The Who compilation album of the same name, followed in December, 1971. The third article, "The Punk Meets the Godmother," appeared in November, 1977.
Also in 1977, Townshend founded Eel Pie Publishing, which specialized in children's titles, music books, and several Meher Baba-related publications. A bookstore named Magic Bus (after the popular Who song) was opened in London. The Story of Tommy, a book written by Townshend and his art school friend Richard Barnes about the writing of Townshend’s 1969 rock opera and the making of the 1975 Ken Russell-directed film, was published by Eel Pie the same year.
In July 1983, Townshend took a position as an acquisitions editor for London publisher Faber and Faber. Notable projects included editing Animals frontman Eric Burdon’s autobiography, Charles Shaar Murray’s award-winning Crosstown Traffic, Brian Eno and Russell Mills's More Dark Than Shark, and working with Prince Charles on a volume of his collected speeches. Pete commissioned Dave Rimmer’s Like Punk Never Happened, and was commissioning editor for radical playwright Steven Berkoff. Two years after joining Faber and Faber, Townshend decided to publish a book of his own. Horse’s Neck, published in May, 1985, was a collection of short stories he’d written between 1979 and 1984, tackling subjects such as childhood, stardom and spirituality. As a result of his position with Faber and Faber, Townshend developed a friendship with the Nobel prize-winning author of Lord of the Flies, Sir William Golding, and became friends with British Poet Laureate Ted Hughes. His friendship with Hughes led to Townshend’s musical interpretation of Hughes's children's story, The Iron Man, six years later.
Townshend has written several scripts spanning the breadth of his career, including numerous drafts of his elusive Lifehouse project, the last of which, co-written with radio playwright Jeff Young, was published in 1999. In 1978, Townshend wrote a script for "Fish Shop" a play commissioned but not completed by London Weekend Television, and in mid-1984 he wrote a script for White City which led to a short film.
In 1989, Townshend began work on a novel entitled Ray High & The Glass Household, a draft of which was later submitted to his editor. While the original novel remains unpublished, elements from this story were used in Townshend’s 1993 solo album Psychoderelict.
In 1993, Townshend authored another book, "The Who’s Tommy," a chronicle of the development of the award-winning Broadway version of his rock opera.
The opening of his web site, www.petetownshend.com, and his commerce site, www.eelpie.com, both in 2000, gave Townshend yet another outlet for literary work. Several of Townshend’s essays have been posted online, including "Meher Baba – The Silent Master: My Own Silence" in 2001, and "A Different Bomb," an indictment of the child pornography industry, the following year.
Townshend’s most recent literary contribution is The Boy Who Heard Music, a novella which began a chapter-a-week online posting in September, 2005. It is now available to read at www.petetownshend.co.uk. Like "Psychoderelict" this is yet another extrapolation of "Lifehouse" and Ray High & The Glass Household.
Townshend signed a deal with Little, Brown publishing in 1997 to write his autobiography. Reportedly half-complete and titled "Pete Townshend: Who He?" this is a work-in-progress. Townshend's creative vagaries and conceptual machinations have been chronicled by Larry David Smith in his book "The Minstrel's Dilemma" (Praeger 1999).
Throughout his solo career and his career with The Who, Townshend has played (and destroyed) a large variety of guitars.
In the early days with The Who, Townshend played 6-string and 12-string Rickenbacker semi-hollow electric guitars primarily (particularly the Rose-Morris UK-imported models with special f-holes). However, as instrument-smashing became increasingly integrated into The Who's concert sets, he switched to more durable and resilient (and sometimes cheaper) guitars for smashing, such as the Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, and various Danelectro models. In the late-60s, Townshend began playing Gibson SG models almost exclusively, specifically the Special models. He used this guitar at the Woodstock and Isle of Wight shows in 1969 and 1970.
By 1972, Gibson changed the design of the SG Special which Townshend had been using previously, and thus he began using other guitars. For much of the 1970s, he used Gibson Les Paul Deluxes, some with only two mini-humbucker pickups and others modified with a third pickup. He can be seen using several of these guitars in the documentary "The Kids Are Alright".
During the 1980s, Townshend mainly used Rickenbackers and Telecaster-style models built for him by Schecter and various other luthiers. Since the late-1980s, Townshend has used the Fender Eric Clapton Signature Stratocaster, with Lace-Sensor pickups, both in the studio and on tour.
Townshend has used a number of other electric guitars, including various Gretsch, Gibson, and Fender models. He has also used Guild, Takamine and Gibson J-200 acoustic models. One Gretsch was a vintage model gifted by fellow guitarist Joe Walsh.
There are several Gibson Pete Townshend signature guitars, such as the Pete Townshend SG, the Pete Townshend J-200, and three different Pete Townshend Les Paul Deluxes. The SG was clearly marked as a Pete Townshend limited edition model and came with a special case and certificate of authenticity, signed by Pete himself. There has also been a Pete Townshend signature Rickenbacker limited edition guitar.
He also used the Gibson ES-355, one of which he donated to the Hard Rock Cafe.
Townshend also used a Gibson EDS-1275 double neck very briefly around 1968, and a Fender XII Guitar for the studio sessions for Tommy.
From the beginning of The Who's appearance on the British music landscape, Pete Townshend could always be counted upon for good copy. By early 1966 he had become the band's spokesman, interviewed separate from the band for the BBC television series A Whole Scene Going admitting that the band used drugs and that he considered The Beatles' backing tracks "flippin' lousy." Throughout the 1960s Townshend made regular appearances in the pages of British music magazines but it was a very long interview he gave to Rolling Stone in 1968 that sealed his reputation as one of rock's leading intellectuals and theorists on rock music.
Townshend gave interview after interview to the newly risen underground press, not only providing them with a star for their covers and reams of free print, but firmly establishing his reputation as an honest and erudite commentor on the rock 'n' roll scene, not only able to discuss his own work at length but to pontificate on the meaning of rock music as art. In addition, he wrote his own articles, starting a regular monthly column in Melody Maker, and contributing to Rolling Stone with an article on his avatar Meher Baba and a review of The Who's album Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy.
Townshend has withdrawn from the press on occasion. On his 30th birthday, Townshend discussed his feelings that The Who were failing to journalist Roy Carr, making acid comments on fellow Who member Roger Daltrey and other leading members of the British rock community. Carr printed his remarks in the NME causing strong friction within The Who and embarrassing Townshend. Feeling betrayed, he stopped interviews with the press for over two years.
Nevertheless, Townshend has maintained close relationships with journalists, and sought them out in 1982 to spill all the details of his two year battle with cocaine and heroin. Some of those press members turned on him in the 1980s as the punk rock revolution led to widespread dismissal of the old guard of rock. Townshend attacked two of them, Julie Burchill and Tony Parsons (British journalist), in the song "Jools And Jim" on his album Empty Glass after they made some derogatory remarks about Who drummer Keith Moon. Meanwhile several journalists denounced Townshend for what they saw as a betrayal of the idealism about rock music he had espoused in his earlier interviews when The Who participated in a tour sponsored by Miller Brewing in 1982. Townshend's 1993 concept album, Psychoderelict, offers a scathing commentary on journalists in the character of Ruth Streeting, who attempts to scandalize the main character, Ray High.
By the 1990s Pete was still a popular interview subject although his verbose comments were sometimes given a scandalous spin. A 1990 book of interviews by Timothy White, Rock Lives, contained Townshend's thoughts on the meaning of his song "Rough Boys" that gave the mistaken impression that he was gay or bisexual. The information was picked up by the British tabloid press that spread this misinformation around the world. Townshend kept deliberately silent on the issue out of respect for his gay friends, until setting the record straight in a 1994 Playboy interview.
Townshend still continues to write pieces on rock and his place in it, mostly for his website but he also remains a celebrity sought after by music magazines and newspapers to the present day.
Townshend showed no predilection for religious belief in the first years of The Who's career and few would have suspected that the violent guitar-smasher was even a closet acolyte. By the beginning of 1968, however, Townshend had begun to explore spiritual ideas. In January 1968, The Who recorded his song "Faith in Something Bigger" (Odds and Sods LP). Later that same month during a tour of Australia and New Zealand, The Small Faces' member Ronnie Lane introduced Townshend to the writings of the Indian "perfect master" Meher Baba.
Townshend swiftly absorbed all the writings of Meher Baba he could find and by April 1968, announced himself a disciple of Baba. It was at that time that Townshend, who had been searching the past two years for a basis for a rock opera, created a story inspired by the teachings of Baba and other Indian spiritualists that would ultimately become Tommy.
Tommy did more than revitalize The Who's career (which was moderately successful at this point but had plateaued), it also marked a renewal of Townshend's songwriting and his spiritual studies infused most of his work from Tommy forward. However, unlike other openly spiritual rock stars whose music became dogmatic once they discovered religion, Townshend generally soft-pedaled the religious nature of his work. This may have been because his newfound passion was not shared by his bandmates whose attitude was tolerant but who were unwilling to become the spokesmen for a particular religion. Few of the thousands of fans who packed stadiums across Europe and America to see The Who noticed the religious message in the songs; that "Bargain" and the middle section of "Behind Blue Eyes" from Who's Next and "Listening To You" from Tommy were all originally written as prayers, that "Drowned" from Quadrophenia and "Don't Let Go The Coat" from Face Dances were based on sayings by Meher Baba, that the "who are you, are you, are you" chorus from the song "Who Are You" was based on Sufi chants, or that "Let My Love Open The Door" was not a message from a lover but from God.
In interviews Townshend was more open about his beliefs, penning an article on Baba for Rolling Stone and stating that following Baba's teachings, he was opposed to the use of all psychedelic drugs, making him one of the first rock stars with counterculture credibility to turn against their use.
His stardom quickly made him the world's most-notable follower of Meher Baba. Having just missed out on meeting his avatar with Baba's death January 31, 1969 (ironically, work on Tommy kept him from making the pilgrimage), Townshend made several trips to visit Baba's tomb in India as well as becoming a frequent visitor to the Meher Baba Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. At home he recorded and released his most overtly spiritual songs on records assembled, pressed and sold by Baba organizations. When these records became widely bootlegged, Townshend put together a selection of the tracks for release as the solo album Who Came First. One of the songs from that album, "Parvardigar," a Baba prayer set to music by Townshend, would gradually be accepted as a hymn by the Baba movement. In 1976 he opened the Oceanic Centre in London, using it as a haven for English Baba followers and Americans making a pilgrimage to Baba's tomb as well as a place for small concerts (one such in 1979 was released on CD in 2001 as Pete Townshend & Raphael Rudd - The Oceanic Concerts) and a repository for films made of Baba.
Townshend became a lower-profile member after 1982 having felt that his just-ended two-year indulgence in cocaine and heroin had made him a poor candidate to be a spokesman. Nevertheless his discipleship remains an ever-present element of his career and a key to those looking for the meaning and background to his work.
Pete Townshend has woven a long history of involvement with various charities and other philanthropic efforts throughout his career, both as a solo artist and with The Who. His first solo concert, for example, was a 1974 benefit show which was organized to raise funds for the Camden Square Community Play Center.
The earliest public example of Townshend’s involvement with charitable causes is the relationship he established with the Richmond-based Meher Baba Association. In 1968, Townshend donated the use of his former Wardour Street apartment to the Meher Baba Association. The following year, the association was moved to another Townshend-owned apartment, the Eccleston Square former residence of wife Karen. Townshend sat on a committee which oversaw the operation and finances of the center. “The committee sees to it that it is open a couple of days a week, and keeps the bills paid and the library full,” he wrote in a 1970 Rolling Stone article. In 1969 and 1972 Townshend produced two limited release albums, Happy Birthday and I Am, for the London-based Baba association. This led to 1972’s Who Came First, a more widespread release, 15 percent of the revenue of which went to the Baba association. A further limited release, With Love, was released in 1976. A limited edition boxed set of all three limited releases on CD, Avatar, was released in 2000, with all profits going to the Avatar Meher Baba Trust in India, which provided funds to a dispensary, school, hospital and pilgrimage center.
In July 1976, Townshend opened ‘Meher Baba Oceanic’, a London activity center for Baba followers which featured film dubbing and editing facilities, a cinema and recording studio. In addition, the center served as a regular meeting place for Baba followers. In addition to financing pilgrimages for Baba followers, Townshend offered very economical (reportedly £1 per night) lodging for American Baba followers who needed an overnight stay on their pilgrimages to India. “For a few years, I had toyed with the idea of opening a London house dedicated to Meher Baba,” he wrote in a 1977 Rolling Stone article. “In the eight years I had followed him, I had donated only coppers to foundations set up around the world to carry out the Master’s wishes and decided it was about time I put myself on the line. The Who had set up a strong charitable trust of its own which appeased, to an extent, the feeling I had that Meher Baba would rather have seen me give to the poor than to the establishment of yet another so-called “spiritual center.”” Townshend also embarked on a project dedicated to the collection, restoration and maintenance of Meher Baba-related films. The project was known as MEFA, or Meher Baba European Film Archive.
Townshend has also been an active champion of children’s charities. The debut of Pete Townshend’s stage version of Tommy took place at San Diego’s La Jolla Playhouse in July, 1992. The show was earmarked as a benefit for the London-based Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Foundation, an organization which helps autistic and retarded children. Townshend performed at a 1995 benefit organized by Paul Simon at Madison Square Gardens' Paramount Theatre, for The Children’s Health Fund. The following year, Townshend performed at a benefit for the Bridge School, a California facility for children with severe speech and physical impairments. In 1997, Townshend established a relationship with Maryville Academy, a Chicago area children’s charity. Between 1997 and 2002, Townshend played five benefit shows for Maryville Academy, raising at least $1,600,000. In addition, proceeds from the sales of his 1999 release Pete Townshend Live were also donated to Maryville Academy. As a member of The Who, Pete Townshend has also performed a series of concerts, beginning in 2000, benefitting the Teenage Cancer Trust in the UK, raising several million pounds. In 2005, Townshend performed at New York’s Gotham Hall for Samsung’s Four Seasons of Hope, an annual children's charity fundraiser.
Another area of focus for Townshend has been that of drug rehabilitation. “What I’m most active in doing is raising money to provide beds in clinics to help people that have become victims of drug abuse,” he said in a late 1985 radio interview. “...In Britain, the facilities are very, very, very lean indeed…although we have a national health service, a free medical system, it does nothing particularly for class A drug addicts – cocaine abusers, heroin abusers. …we’re making a lot of progress. …the British government embarked on an anti-heroin campaign with advertising, and I was co-opted by them as a kind of figurehead, and then the various other people co-opted me into their own campaigns, but my main work is raising money to try and open a large clinic.” The ‘large clinic’ Townshend was referring to was a plan he and drug rehabilitation pioneer Meg Patterson had devised to open a drug treatment facility in London. The plan failed to come to fruition. Proceeds from two early 1979 concerts by the Who raised £20,000 for Patterson’s Pharmakon Clinic in Sussex.
Further examples of Townshend’s anti-drug activism took place in the form of a 1984 benefit concert, an article he penned a few days later for Britain’s Mail On Sunday urging better care for the nation’s growing number of drug addicts, and the formation of a charitable organization, ‘Double-O Charities’, to raise funds for the causes he’d recently championed. Townshend also personally sold fund-raising anti-heroin T-shirts at a series of U.K. Bruce Springsteen concerts, and reportedly financed a trip for troubled former Clash drummer Topper Headon to undergo drug rehabilitation treatment. Townshend's 1985/86 band, 'Deep End', played two benefits at Brixton Academy in 1985 for 'Double-O Charities'.
In 1979, Townshend became the first major rock musician to donate his services to the human rights organization Amnesty International when he performed three songs for its benefit show The Secret Policeman's Ball - performances that were released on record and in the film of the show. The show was Townshend's first major live solo appearance. Townshend's acoustic performances of three of his songs (including Pinball Wizard and Won't Get Fooled Again) were subsequently cited as having been the forerunner and inspiration for the "unplugged" phenomenon in the 1990's. Townshend had been invited to perform for Amnesty by Martin Lewis, the producer of The Secret Policeman's Ball, who stated later that Townshend's participation had been the key to his securing the subsequent participation for Amnesty (in the 1981 sequel show) of Sting, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Phil Collins and Bob Geldof. Other performers inspired to support Amnesty International because of Townshend's early commitment to the organization include Peter Gabriel and U2 singer Bono who in 1986 told Rolling Stone magazine: "I saw The Secret Policeman's Ball and it became a part of me. It sowed a seed..."
Highlights of Pete Townshend’s other public charitable efforts include the following:
Compilations and EPs
In 1968 Townshend helped assemble a band called Thunderclap Newman consisting of three musicians he knew. Pianist Andy Newman (an old art school friend), drummer John "Speedy" Keene (who had written a song covered by The Who) and teenage guitarist Jimmy McCullogh (later to join Wings). Townshend produced the band and played bass on their recordings under the tongue-in-cheek pseudonym "Bijou Drains". Their first recording was the single Something in the Air which became a number one hit in the UK and a substantial hit elsewhere in the world. Following this success, Townshend produced their sole album Hollywood Dreams.
For albums Townshend composed as a member of The Who, see their entry. Not included are albums by other artists on which Townshend played as a session musician. Through much of 2005, Pete Townshend has been recording and performing alongside his partner Rachel Fuller, a classically trained pianist and singer songwriter.