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Ahmet Ertegun on the Who

The group that was to become the Who grew out of various local groups playing around Shepherd's Bush district in London, in the early 1960s. Roger Daltry, John Entwistle and Pete Townshend started out playing Dixieland, Country, and Beatle tunes. With the addition of Keith Moon in 1964, their musical emphasis shifted to maximum R&B. Becoming musical missionaries of the Mod subculture, the Who quickly transcended their roots. The Who embraced a range of contradictory extremes: spirituality and alienation, unity and rebellion, intelligence and passion. Onstage the quartet's volatile essential chemistry yielded explosive, often auto-destructive performances of unprecedented energy. With the death of Keith Moon in 1978, rock arguably lost its single greatest drummer. In 1989, after a seven-year hiatus, the Who celebrated their 25th anniversary with a series of brilliant concerts. In the process they confirmed the extraordinary energy and enduring importance of one of rock's truly great bands. I must say that throughout the years, I met most, I guess all of the managers who managed the Who. Their current manager is straight, intelligent, and takes care of business. That's our great friend Bill Curbisly [?]. Their other managers were also very intelligent. And also, I know most of them were straight, and our old friends. But one of the managers of the Who was a fellow called Pete Cameron, who together with Chris Stamp and Kit Lambert, were looking after their affairs. I was always thought we were about to get the Who, but not quite, and I wanted the Who, and I felt like the Who was going to be an Atlantic group, and I was promised, and then not promised. And then one day Kit Lambert came in, and Pete Cameron had convinced him that we would pay for the Who, even though we wouldn't sign them. That led to a rather bitter disagreement between us in my office, and Kit Lambert left in a rage. That night, Kit ran into Chris Blackwell in a bar, and Chris tells me the rest of the story. Apparently, that was the night that he asked Chris, "Do you know why there's so much anti-Semitism in the world?" And Chris said, "No, why?" And so Kit Lambert said, "Because Turks don't travel." Anyway, ladies and gentlemen, it's the favorite group of most of us, the great Who.