Daltrey: Who early days were easy

Roger Daltrey recalls making The Who's debut album as the easiest studio experience they've ever had.

The frontman says the pressure was non-existent in the early days – and explains how Jimmy Page played guitar on The Who single I Can’t Explain.

In an excerpt from Ken Sharp’s new book Play On! Power Pop Heroes, Daltrey says: “For the My Generation album, there was nothing to be nervous about – we used to take every day as it came.

“Every day was just a gig and I think we did the recording between gigs. We did the whole album in two afternoons, and by the end of the week we were playing the stuff on stage. That’s how wonderful it was in those days.”

But during recording sessions for the I Can’t Explain single, there was some pressure from producer Shel Talmy, who didn’t think guitarist Pete Townshend’s playing was up to scratch. As a result, Page was brought in to the record the track. Talmy also insisted on bringing in The Ivy League to record backing vocals.

Daltrey adds: “Shel Talmy didn’t think that Pete’s lead guitar playing was up to it and he didn’t think our backing vocals were up to it. He was right about the backing vocals.

“And obviously in those days you weren’t in overdub facilities. You made the record and that was it. So if you wanted to put a solo on, you had to do it when you were doing the record.”

Daltrey and Townshend also discuss their notorious appearance on US TV’s The Smothers Brothers Show in 1968, when Keith Moon took the stage show a little too far.

Play On! Power Pop Heroes is out now via GoodMusicGuy.

Stef wrote close to 5,000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.