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| 15 January 2019 | Reply

Allen & Unwin
November 2018
Paperback, rrp $24.99
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar


Legendary frontman of The Who, Roger Daltrey, delivers a hugely entertaining autobiography, named as a middle finger raised to his dismissive old school teacher, Mr Kibblewhite.

Kibblewhite wasn’t the only one who insisted Daltrey would amount to nothing, but the singer, actor and farmer certainly proved him and many others wrong with a stellar rock and roll career, which arguably reached its apotheosis as singer of the mega-successful rock opera Tommy, and star of the accompanying movie.

As with any life, things haven’t been entirely privileged and rosy. Daltrey, now 74, grew up poor on the mean streets of post-war London, and had to learn to be tough to survive. It gave him his confidence and his street smarts, and it’s this easy conversationalism he brings to his story.

There are plenty of rock and roll anecdotes herein, all told in Daltrey’s charming manner, and when he describes a broken back which caused him problems for years, and trouble with his bandmates and management, he never whinges, just states it clearly and plainly as he saw it happen.

The Who’s rhythm section – Keith Moon and John Entwistle – both died as a result of drug and alcohol abuse which could have easily been avoided. Daltrey’s dismay and disdain at their wasted lives is touching and while guitarist Pete Townshend was Daltrey’s foil and foe for the many years of The Who’s career, but his affection and admiration for his closest collaborator and colleague is sincere and deep. Touching on Townshend’s arrest over later disproven child pornography allegations, his support is endearing and his vitriol for Townshend’s false accusers palpable.

After all these years in and out of The Who, Daltrey knows they were his ticket out of poverty and into the big time, and the rest of his life may not have been possible had he not been aboard that particular ride. Likewise, his love and admiration for second wife Heather – who he openly admits he enjoyed a slightly open relationship with whilst The Who were on the road back in the day – is sweet, if unusual for many.

Daltrey’s story leaves a strong impression – work hard, play hard but sensibly, and follow your dreams. Told as though he were sharing a pint with the reader around the pub fireplace, it’s a superb read and a cut above a lot of the dull fodder out there amongst similar work from his peers.

Category: Book Reviews

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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