If the Americans invented it, then the Brits perfected it. With an added sense of urgency, British Rock bands of the 50s and 60s widened the appeal of Rock music and somehow managed to export it back to the Yanks. This week, we check out a pair of rebel rousing kicks inspired by The Who.
From their humble mod beginnings to tearing up the stage at Woodstock, The Who defined Brit Rock just as guitarist Pete Townshend with his windmill-strum and rock-inspired leap symbolised all that was rock n roll.
If you just know their music from the opening themes of all 3 CSI series, then it’s high time for a lesson in Rock History. Starting out in 1964, The Who first gained notoriety at the Railway Tavern in Harrow and Wealdstone, London. Angered by sniggers from the audience, Townshend smashed his guitar on stage, then picked up another one and continued the show. A large crowd attended the next concert, but Townshend declined to smash another guitar. Instead, drummer Keith Moon wrecked his drumkit. The incident at Railway Tavern is listed by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the 50 Moments That Changed the History of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
The Who literally gave a voice to a new generation via hits like ‘My Generation’ and ‘The Kids Are Alright’. Their first hit, ‘I Can’t Explain’Â was first played in the USA on WTAC AM 600 in Flint, Michigan, by DJ Peter C Cavanaugh where Moon drove a car into a hotel pool during his 20th birthday (Moon claimed it was his 21st so he could drink).
Stretching their rock n roll ferocity, The Who went on the devastate the stage at the Monterey Pop Festival (where Jimi Hendrix set his guitar on fire as well) and repeated the act with explosive results as Moon detonated his drumkit on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.
Years before Ziggy Stardust and decades before any American Idiot was born, The Who released the conceptual The Who Sell Out in 1967 and followed up with the first rock opera album ever Tommy. Around this time the teachings of India’s Meher Baba influenced Townshend’s songwriting, continuing for many years.
Time magazine said The Who had “outpaced, outlasted, outlived and outclassed” all of their rock band contemporaries. The Who’s aggression, violence and snotty attitude have earned them the title, “The Godfathers of Punk” as many proto-punk bands have cited them as early influences. Surviving members Townshend and vocalist Roger Daltrey reunited and did several shows in recent times, most notably the post-Sept 11 charity concert in New York. Q magazine named The Who as one of the “50 Bands to See Before You Die”.
So what better way for Converse to celebrate the brashness of Brit Rock, then with an invasion of kicks! And ideally, the first of the series to be released, like the band, The Who Converse Chuck Taylor All Star shoe carries a proudly tattered Union Jack, bulls-eye graphic and The Who logo and looks groovy on scooters or parkas. Available as a Chuck Taylor All Star high-top and Oxford shoe in white/French blue, white/blue/red, white/red/blue, and black iris/blue canvas.