|THE WHO in 1975|
The 3 founding members of The Who are Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend and John Entwistle who grew up in Acton, London and went to Acton County Grammar School. Townshend and Entwistle became friends in their second year of Acton County, and formed a traditional jazz group. Entwistle and Townshend both played guitar but Entwhistle had problems playing because he had large fingers and moved to bass.
After Acton County, Townshend attended Ealing Art College which he claims as very influential on the course of the band in later years.
Daltrey was expelled at 15 and working at construction when in 1959 he started the Detours. The band played corporate and wedding functions and Daltrey handled the finances and selected the music. He saw Entwistle by chance on the street carrying a bass and recruited him into the Detours. In 1961, Entwistle suggested Townshend as a guitarist. This early version of The Who (but still called The Detours) had Daltrey on lead guitar, Entwistle on bass, Harry Wilson on drums, and Colin Dawson on vocals.
It was a cover band with Daltrey clearly the leader. Dawson left after frequently arguing with Daltrey and Daltrey moved to lead vocals. Townshend became the sole guitarist. Another local band, The Pirates, also had only one guitarist, Mick Green, who inspired Townshend to combine rhythm and lead guitar in his style. Entwistle then began to use his bass as more of a lead instrument playing melodies.
According to Before I Get Old: The Story of The Who by dave Marsh and other books, in 1964 the Detours became aware that there was another group called Johnny Devlin and the Detours and decided to change there name. The band members and friend considered "No One" and "The Group" and "The Hair" but Daltrey chose "The Who." No deep meaning, but rather one of several goofs on band names.
Their classic line-up consisted of lead singer Daltrey, guitarist Townshend, bassist Entwistle, and drummer Keith Moon. They are considered one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century, selling over 100 million records worldwide and establishing their reputation equally on live shows and studio work.