“I’m some old fart of a rock singer and this has given me a purpose." The Who's Roger Daltrey looks back on his time working on Teenage Cancer Trust shows, says he had to "beg" bands to perform

Roger Daltrey of The Who performs at The O2 Arena on July 12, 2023 in London, England.
(Image credit: Matthew Baker/Getty Images))

Roger Daltrey has reflected on his years working as the musical curator for Teenage Cancer Trust's annual shows.

The Who frontman began collaborating with U.K.’s Teenage Cancer Trust in 2000, however this year's set of performances will mark his final season with the charity, with The WhoRobert Plant with Saving Grace, Eddie Vedder, Noel Gallagher, The Chemical Brothers and more booked to play across several dates in London's Royal Albert Hall this Spring.

In a recent interview with the Metro, the musician looked back on the 24-year long experience, revealing that he has at times had to "beg" bands to perform.

Reflecting on the people he met while working with the charity, he says: "There's quite a few who will stay with me forever – I could never forget them and the letters and cards really mean a lot. I’ve kept them all.”

He continues, "I’m some old fart of a rock singer and this has given me a purpose. I’m not very good at doing nothing and I’m looking towards the end of a singing career. So this has been something I’m so proud of.”

Speaking of the difficulties he's faced booking bands to perform at the yearly shows, he adds: “Gosh, it was tough at the start because I was determined bands should want to do this for free, and it’s not easy getting big names to actually block out their time. My knees are now so sore from 24 years of begging!

“When I see someone famous, I go straight over and ask them to play a gig – and I’m sure they’ll see me now and run away! But not one of the bands has ever come off the stage without saying, ‘What a fantastic experience.’”

Daltrey also spoke of his stewardship of the long-running concert season while in conversation with Classic Rock last summer. He said: "To carry on doing it, I'll have to sign another five year contract with the Albert Hall," he explained. "And I don't know if I'm going to be around in five years!"

"I'm hoping that some of the popular people in this industry will want to take up the baton and curate nights," he added. "When I took this on, I was younger, and up for the challenge, but I had to sign a lease for 22 years to guarantee me those week of shows every year. I'll still be a patron for the charity, and still going out speaking on the charity's behalf, but I have to consider the timeframe, obviously. We've achieved something incredible, we wanted to build 25 hospital wards around the country for teenagers with cancer, and we delivered on that promise: in fact we've built 30. It's been an incredible ride."

Teenage Cancer Trust 2024 line-up:

Mar 18: The Who with Orchestra, with special guests Squeeze
Mar 19: Evening Of Comedy - line-up tba
Mar 20: The Who with Orchestra, with very special guests Squeeze
Mar 21: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, with very special guests Blossoms
Mar 22: Young Fathers plus special guests
Mar 23: The Chemical Brothers
Mar 24 - ‘Ovation’ - A Celebration of 24 Years of Gigs For Teenage Cancer Trust' with Roger Daltrey, Kelly Jones, Robert Plant with Saving Grace, Pete Townshend, Eddie Vedder, Paul Weller

Tickets on sale at 9am GMT on Friday 12 January. For information, visit the Royal Albert Hall's website, gigsandtours.com, or the UK Ticketmaster site. 

Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.