At ACM@UCO, The Who’s Roger Daltrey Caused a Big Sensation
Scott Booker and Roger Daltrey on the Maker’s stage during Wednesday’s ACM@UCO master class. Photo by George Lang
As soon as the video presentation showing four young English rockers in Mod gear started rolling, and president Scott Booker arrived on the Maker’s stage in Bricktown brandishing a Union Jack Wednesday night, the rumors were confirmed: Roger Daltrey, the lead singer of The Who, was the guest lecturer for the evening at the University of Central Oklahoma’s Academy of Contemporary Music.
The singer, who first began performing with guitarist Pete Townshend, bassist John Entwistle and drummer Keith Moon in The High Numbers in the early 1960s before changing their name to The Who in 1964, spent 90 minutes in a casual question-and-answer session with Booker and the ACM@UCO student body. He discussed the band’s history, the current state of the music industry, and greeted Flaming Lips singer Wayne Coyne, a longtime fan who saw his first Who concert in Oklahoma City in the 1970s and performed last year as part of a “VH1 Honors” tribute in Los Angeles.
“I’m very impressed with your college — it’s fabulous,” Daltrey said as the interview began. “And well done to the Lips!”
Daltrey, who performs a solo concert Thursday night at WinStar Casino in Thackerville, talked about being a disengaged student in the 1950s, and how a BBC television report on a young American rocker changed his life.
“The only thing that saved me was I saw Elvis Presley on TV,” he said. “There was this clip of this guy singing ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ and looking like something from outer space. It was just when my world changed. Something came out of the music, this drive and energy, and I thought, ‘That’s what I’m going to be.’ Pete actually wrote a song called ‘Real Good-Looking Boy,’ and it’s kind of about people who thought they could look like Elvis. And I was one of them, and all my mates thought they could look like Elvis, and of course, none of us did.”
The Who started out playing rhythm and blues before their music transformed into a powerful, muscular sound that contrasted sharply with The Beatles’ pop approach and The Rolling Stones’ loyal love affair with the blues. The Who were a rock ‘n’ roll band, first and foremost, and brought a visceral fire to songs such as “My Generation,” “I Can See For Miles,” “Baba O’Riley” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” and a literary, poetic approach to the lyrics. Eventually, the band was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s loudest rock band, but the Who were not simply dealing in volume. The group is often credited with creating or perfecting the “rock opera” through concept albums such as “Tommy” and “Quadrophenia.”
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