Skip to main content

Roger Daltrey skipped sessions for The Who Sell Out as he was afraid of Jimi Hendrix stealing his girlfriend, says Pete Townshend

The ’Oo
(Image credit: Chris Walter/WireImage)

The Who’s Pete Townshend says that Roger Daltrey was absent for some of the studio sessions for their band’s third album, The Who Sell Out, as the vocalist was nervous about the possibility of Jimi Hendrix seducing his girlfriend, later wife, Heather Taylor. 

Speaking in the new issue of Classic Rock magazine, which is on sale now, Townshend addresses the fact that he sings lead vocals on a number of songs on the album - Odorono, Our Love Was, Sunrise and Can’t Reach You - and reveals that this wasn’t a deliberate artistic choice by the band, but rather a necessity because Daltrey was often absent from the studio when vocals were being tracked. While he concedes, “I’ve never spoken to Roger about what really happened”, the guitarist has his own theory as to why his band’s frontman stayed away from the studio at the time.

“Jimi Hendrix was using the studio on the days that we weren’t in there,” Townshend recalls. “And at that time Roger’s girlfriend, Heather, who became his wife, had been seeing Jimi. I don’t know whether or not this is turning into sort of silly gossip, but I think he [Daltrey] wasn’t around as much as he would normally be. He used to enjoy being in the studio, and suddenly he was gone… I was finishing the songs as I was finishing the vocals, imagining that Roger would come in and replace mine. But he just wasn’t there. I think it had something to do with him being concerned about Jimi Hendrix stealing his girlfriend. I think Heather is the redhead he [Hendrix] wrote Foxy Lady about, so I think there was some intrigue going on there.”

Daltrey and former model Taylor married in 1971: the couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last week (July 19). 

Speaking to Guitar Player magazine, Townshend recently admitted that he “didn’t know” whether The Who would make another studio album, but said that he is “optimistic” and “full of ideas.”

“I think Roger doesn't want to be selling ideas that are either vague or evolving, that are unfinished,” Townshend added. “But I'm still at a place now where I want to be gambling and taking chances as a studio composer and writer.”

For more on the making of The Who Sell Out, plus in-depth features on Judas Priest, Styx, Elton John, Stone Temple Pilots, Earl Slick and more, pick up the new issue of Classic Rock magazine, which is on sale now