Who was at The Who in Newbury?

Music writer compiling people's history

John Garvey


John Garvey

Who was at The Who in Newbury?

WERE you there when notorious ’60s bad boys The Who played Newbury?

A music writer is looking for help in putting together a people’s history of the band.

Author Richard Houghton’s latest project is a book about the band, whose line-up of Roger Daltrey, Pete Townsend, John Entwistle and Keith Moon racked up a series of hits in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as a reputation for smashing up their equipment on stage and hotel rooms off it.

Before storming the charts with such singles as My Generation and Pinball Wizard, The Who were one of the most hardworking bands in Britain, honing their skills during the mid-60s by playing shows up and down the length of Britain.

These included gigs at Newbury’s Plaza in April 1965 and The Corn Exchange in May 1966.

Among the audience at the latter gig was a young Chris Speirs, who went on to run the former Vinyl Revival store in Wharf Street, Newbury, with husband Roy.

She admitted: “I wasn’t a big fan of The Who – I was more into Motown. But my boyfriend at the time took me along. Unfortunately, I left halfway through because a fight broke out between rival gangs of mods and rockers.”

Nor was the violence confined to the dance floor – at the Corn Exchange gig, the band fought among themselves.

Drummer Keith Moon and bassist John Entwistle had arrived two hours late, to find guitarist Pete Townsend and singer Roger Daltrey belting through their set with the help of members of the support group.

Cue onstage pandemonium and, allegedly, broken bones.

Mr Houghton said: “The Who began performing in what is now recognised as a golden age of pop music and I’m interested in hearing from people who saw them back then to get their memories and a flavour of what it was like to see them live.”

Anyone with memories of that evening or other Who performances from the 60s can email Mr Houghton at thewhointhe60s@gmail.com or by letter at  1 Totnes Road, Manchester, M21 8XF.

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