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Image for Baroque and Roll: Townshend on Purcell

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Last on

Sat 31 Oct 2009 15:30 BBC Radio 4

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 27 October 2009

The Who guitarist and songwriter Pete Townshend talks about the band's career and reveals the influence on his songwriting of Baroque composer Henry Purcell.

When Pete was a struggling 20-year-old musician he was turned on to Purcell by his manager, Kit Lambert. It was Kit's recommendation of Purcell's Gordian Knot Untied that struck the loudest chord with Pete, awakening him to a lineage in English music that seemed strangely familiar. Immersing himself in the music, he soon set about writing The Who's first album.

Pete reveals how he drew on Purcell's dramatic genius for his most intriguing compositions. From his first mini-rock opera to his masterpiece, Tommy, and from his enduring Lifehouse project through to his current musical endeavour, there has always been a Purcellian presence.


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