Synopses & Reviews
From the voice of a generation: The most highly anticipated autobiography of the year, and the story of a man who... is a Londoner and a Mod... wanted The Who to be called The Hair... loved The Everly Brothers, but not that "drawling dope" Elvis... 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... heard the voice of God on a vibrating bed in rural Illinois... invented the Marshall stack, feedback and the concept album... once speared Abbie Hoffman in the neck with the head of his guitar... 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... helped rescue Eric Clapton from heroin... is banned for life from Holiday Inns... was embroiled in a tabloid scandal that has dogged him ever since... has some explaining to do... is the most literary and literate musician of the last 50 years... planned to write his memoir when he was 21... published this book at 67.
"Intensely intimate...candid to the point of self-laceration...[Townshend's] tone is less lofty than anyone would have expected, just as this book is more honest than any fan would have hoped." Rolling Stone (Starred Review)
"Mr. Townshend's self-portrait is raw and unsparing...as intimate and as painful as a therapy session, while chronicling the history of the band as it took shape in the Mod scene in 1960s London and became the very embodiment of adolescent rebellion and loud, anarchic rock 'n' roll." Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
"Unusually frank and moving...[Who I Am] isn't one of those rock memoirs that puts the what before the why. His past is a puzzle Mr. Townshend is sweating to decipher." The Guardian (UK)
Long acknowledged as one of rock music's most intelligent and literary performers, Pete Townshend — guitarist, songwriter, singer and founding member of The Who — at last tells his wild story in this candid and immersive autobiography.
Raised in west London by an eccentric grandmother, while his parents were off living the early post-war, rock 'n' roll lifestyle, Townshend describes a frenetic childhood of displacement and abuse. Then, in high school, everything changed when he met Roger Daltrey and formed a band that would travel the world, earning fame, fortune and critical acclaim. In Who I Am, Townshend brings us from the inner sanctum of Eric Clapton's drug-ridden hotel rooms to the feet of Jimi Hendrix and his electric kool-aid guitar; from the first trial performance of Townshend's rock opera, Tommy, in a London bar to his infamous arrest (and acquittal) on child pornography charges.
With his trademark eloquence, fierce intelligence and brutal honesty, Pete Townshend has created a work of literature that stands as a primary source for popular music's greatest epoch. Readers will be confronted by a man laying bare who he is, an artist who has asked for nearly sixty years: who are you?
Ruthlessly considered, written with all his heart, Who I Am
spans the life of one of history's most talented musicians — guitarist, songwriter, singer, and a founding member of the The Who, Pete Townshend.
In one of the most eagerly anticipated rock autobiographies in recent memory, Townshend delivers a genuine work of literature that is also a primary source for popular music's greatest epoch.
Challenging, erudite, and rollicking as the man it reveals, Who I Am is a record of an amazing era and of one of the legendary artists who helped shape it.
About the Author
Pete Townshend is the legendary lead guitarist and principal songwriter for The Who, one of the most influential rock-and-roll bands of all time. Townshend is responsible for having written over 100 songs and rock operas in the band's important catalog. He is one of Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. He resides in West London, where he was raised.