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The Who's guitarist and songwriter Pete Townshend and lead singer Roger Daltrey look back on the birth of the band to mark the fiftieth anniversary of their first UK single.

This year The Who celebrate the 50th anniversary of their first UK single 'I Can't Explain' and their seminal track 'My Generation' (as well as their debut album) and mark it with the release of career spanning box set, a huge show in Hyde Park in July and headline slot at Glastonbury.

To recognise this momentous year, this new documentary sees guitarist and songwriter Pete Townshend and lead singer Roger Daltrey look back to the very start of the band. Recalling how The Who's obsession with the music of Chicago, Memphis and Mississippi shaped their songwriting and explaining how these distinctively American songs, often born of social unrest and racial segregation, had parallels in the lives of post-war urban British kids, and in the case of The Who, earned them the now-legendary description 'Maximum R&B'

Hosted by Matt Everitt and featuring exclusive contributions from Noel Gallagher, Paul Weller, Dame Evelyn Glennie, Graham Coxon from Blur, Wilko Johnson, Supergrass' Gaz Combes, Mark King from Level 42, Richard Barnes, Kaiser Chief Ricky Wilson, Johnny Marr and Sir Paul McCartney plus exclusive previously unreleased music from the band live in 1964.

You can hear an extended two-part series on BBC Radio 6 Music.

1 hour

Last on

Sun 21 Jun 2015 13:00

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Music Played

  • Lonnie Donegan

    Rock Island Line

    • Rediscover The 50's-Rock With The Cav.
    • Old Gold.
  • Lead Belly

    Midnight Special

    • The Midnight Special.
    • RCA Victor.
    • 1.
  • Kenny Ball

    The Green Leaves Of Summer

    • Midnight In Moscow.
    • Hallmark.
  • Prince Buster

    Al Capone

    • Young Gifted & Black (Various).
    • Trojan.
  • The Rolling Stones

    Come On

    • Rolling Stones - Singles Collection.
    • Abkco.
  • Johnny Kidd and The Pirates

    Please Don't Touch

    • 101 Jukebox Classics (Various Artists).
    • Virgin.
    • 52.
  • Barrett Strong

    Money (That's What I Want)

    • Pre-Fab! (Various Artists).
    • Connoisseur Collection.
  • The Isley Brothers

    Twist and Shout

    • Million Sellers Vol.8 - The Sixties.
    • Disky.
  • The Who

    I Can't Explain

    • Polydor.


BBC Playlist: The Birth of The Who

BBC Playlist: The Birth of The Who

Get the definitive list of music that influenced and inspired The Who.