In 1969 they created Tommy, the first successful rock opera.
They played Woodstock but hated it. Entwistle said it was "probably the worst-ever festival experience we ever had."
Before they were The Who they were The Detours, then The High Numbers.
They started out as a cover band, performing American R&B songs.
Daltrey was kicked out of the band in 1965 after a fight with Moon (Daltrey flushed his drugs down the toilet because he felt it was affecting his performance). Daltrey apologized and three days later, they took him back.
They made the Guiness Book of World Records for loudest concert for a show in London on May 31, 1976. The record was beaten several times before Guiness stopped listing it because too many people were losing their hearing.
Moon died on September 7, 1978 after taking a lethal combination of sleeping pills and alcohol. He died in the same apartment in London where Mama Cass Elliott from the Mamas And The Papas died four years earlier. The apartment was owned by Harry Nilsson, who let friends stay there when they came to London. After Moon's death, Nilsson never came back.
"Thunderfingers" and "The Ox" were among nicknames given to bassist John Entwistle. (thanks, Todd - Wheelersburg, OH)
They left their first manager, Pete Meaden, to sign with film directors Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp. Meaden died a few years later of a drug overdose.
Entwistle was found dead in his Las Vegas hotel room on June 27, 2002. The band was to begin a tour the next day, and while they postponed the first dates, The Who did the tour anyway. A coroner's report found that Entwistle was doing cocaine before he died.
On December 3, 1979, 11 people were killed, and dozens of others were injured at the then Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati, Ohio, when concertgoers were trampled while attempting to enter the arena. Apparently the band members were on stage warming up and people outside waiting thought that they were starting the show. Only a limited amount of doors leading inside the building were opened, prompting a stampede to gain entry. The Who, as well as the coliseum officials, the promoter, and the city were all sued and found liable for the mishap. This ultimately lead to the ban of "Festival Seating" in Cincinnati, which is still in effect to this day. The Who hasn't played in Cincinnati since. (thanks, Randy - Colerain Twp., OH)
In 1983 Daltrey acted in The BBC's adaptation of Shakespeare's play The Comedy Of Errors. He played twins, both named Drumio, which are servants of another set of twins, both named Antipholus. (thanks, Sebastian - Gdansk, Poland)
Al Kooper in Backstage Passes and Backstabbing Bastards
talks about seeing The Who perform live for the first time. Kooper was watching "to see what all the fuss was about" from the wings when The Who did "My Generation" as the closing act during a 1967 event. First Pete Townsend smashed the guitar into an amp, then a mike stand, then the stage floor, before it was finally destroyed. Then Keith Moon kicked over his entire drum stand and the curtain came down on a cloud of artificial smoke. How did The Who pay for all this? Kooper reports that between shows, The Who's roadie, Bob Pridden, would be in the dressing room, gluing guitar bits and drum kits back together while constructing smoke bombs and signing microphone repair bills.
They played at halftime of Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010 in Miami, Florida. Their 12-minute set included parts of "Pinball Wizard," "Baba O'Riley," "Who Are You," "See Me, Feel Me" and "Won't Get Fooled Again." Daltrey and Townshend were backed by Zak Starkey on drums and Pino Palladino on bass. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
While answering fans' questions on thewho.com, Pete Townshend revealed that he actually preferred playing with Keith Moon's replacement Kenney Jones above Moon himself. Daltrey was vehemently opposed to naming anyone Moon's replacement, preferring to change drummers on a project-to-project basis. After being out-voted by Townshend and Entwistle, he reluctantly approved Jones joining the band, yet openly criticized his drumming as being wrong for the Who.
On February 8th, 1988 the Who performed for the last time with Jones when the band reunited for a three-song set at London's Royal Albert Hall during the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) awards, after receiving the prestigious lifetime achievement award. Ringo Starr's son Zak Starkey has been the Who's unofficial full-time drummer since 1996. Although Townshend and Daltrey have offered him a permanent spot as the Who's third official drummer, he has declined, preferring to remain a free agent. (thanks, Mark Clark - Rochester, MN)
The Who Are You album was released just three weeks before Keith Moon died. The cover photo shows the band, with Moon sitting on a chair that has the words "Not To Be Taken Away" on the back of it.
Keith Moon's ashes were scattered in Golders Green Crematorium, London. His plaque reads "There is no substitute." Marc Bolan's remains are next door to his.
The band split up at the end of 1982 and didn't tour again until 1996, when they reconvened to once again play Quadrophenia. According to Townshend, the impetus for the tour was John Entwistle's financial problems - he had fallen on hard times, and the only way for him to make a lot of money was to perform with The Who. The group kept at it after this tour, entering another phase of their career.