The Who’s enigmatic frontman Roger Daltrey has had a more than tempestuous relationship with the R&B group he came to define a generation with. Despite multiple fallouts, including scrapping with Keith Moon, with the band he still loves The Who.
In his 2018 autobiography, Thanks to Mr Kibblewhite, the singer shared his story of Blitz kid to the frontman of the biggest rock band on the planet. In it, he once revealed his favourite song the band ever wrote and performed.
Daltrey may not be the band’s principal songwriter, that hat would be worn most by Pete Townshend. In the book, Daltrey shares that their relationship is complex but fruitful, “He’s a totally different animal than I am. He’s earth; I’m water. Between the two of us, we make things grow.”
Along with John Entwistle and the legendary Keith Moon, Townshend and Daltrey worked together to change rock history with their fiery live performances. Their energy and their unstoppable engine meant that they quickly became a must-see live act in the London’s swinging scene. It would see the band invited to the iconic Woodstock Festival in 1969.
“The stars of Woodstock were the audience,” he says. “Backstage it was a zoo. We were there almost 10 hours before we hit the stage, and then we were exhausted. It was five in the morning or some ungodly hour.”
That’s not to say they weren’t prolific in the studio too. A run of blockbuster albums and releases ensured they were soon challenging Led Zeppelin as the biggest band of the seventies. It makes for a juicy back catalogue to choose a favourite song from. One that includes rock operas and genre-defining anthems for a generation.
Instead, as his favourite song, he picked the vastly covered and widely known but extremely moving ‘Behind Blue Eyes.’ Famously covered by Limp Bizkit the track was originally composed by Pete Townshend for his Lifehouse project and was the second single from their fifth record Who’s Next.
Pete Townshend said of the song’s lyrics: “‘Behind Blue Eyes’ really is off the wall because that was a song sung by the villain of the piece [Jumbo], the fact that he felt in the original story that he was forced into a position of being a villain whereas he felt he was a good guy.”
The song may well have been written by Townshend but the song hangs on Daltrey’s vocal performance. It’s a quivering yet dreamy tone that came out of a genuinely sad moment, “my dog got run over, the first dog I ever had. I was desperately trying to hold it together.”
It makes his vocal performance all the more tender and perhaps provides an emotional connection. But here it is, Roger Daltrey’s favourite song by The Who, ‘Behind Blue Eyes’.
Source: Classic Rock