Artist Bio

Pete Townshend

(Bio as of January 2023)

Pete Townshend is known principally as the lead guitarist and composer for The Who, as well as for his own solo career. His career with The Who spans over fifty years, during which time Townshend wrote well over a hundred songs for The Who’s eleven studio albums, including the rock operas Tommy and Quadrophenia and the well-regarded rock radio staple Who’s Next. From early classic singles, such as ‘My Generation’ and ‘Substitute’ to ‘Tommy’, ‘Lifehouse’ and ‘Quadrophenia’, Townshend has always been at the forefront of his profession. Though known mainly as a guitarist, he is an accomplished singer and keyboard player, and has played many other instruments (banjo, accordion, synthesizer, piano, bass guitar and drums) on his solo albums and on certain Who albums. As an author, he has written Horse’s Neck, a collection of short stories (Faber & Faber, 1985); Who I Am, a memoir (Harper Collins, 2012) and his latest artistic project, The Age of Anxiety, is simultaneously a novel and a rock opera about passion and ambition, good drugs and bad drugs, and loves lost and found (the novel was published by Hodder & Stoughton, 2019). His numerous awards for The Who’s Tommy include a Grammy Award (1993), Tony Award for Best score (1993), Dora Mavor Moore Award (1994) and Olivier Award (1997). Other awards include Classic Rock Award (2011); Ivor Novello Award (1981); British Phonographic Industry Lifetime Achievement Award (1983); BRIT Award for contribution to British Music (1988); Living Legend Award, International Rock Awards (1991); Q Lifetime Achievement Award (1997); Ivor Novello Lifetime Achievement Award (2001); Kennedy Center Honor, John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts (jointly with Roger Daltrey, 2008); Rock Honor, VH1 (2008); Honorary Doctorate West London University (2010); Les Paul Award, TEC Foundation (2012). The most recent Who album, WHO, was released on December 6, 2019. The Who’s 2020 UK tour was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and returned in 2022, including stops in Chicago’s United Center in October and November.