Mark Blake – Pretend You're In A War – The Who And The Sixties

Amazing journey of the Pop Art yobs that pulls no punches.

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Pete Townshend opened his 2012 autobiography Who I Am with the pivotal incident of his creative life – the first time he smashed a guitar on stage. Whereas The Who leader’s book focuses solely on the windmills of his own mind, here Mark Blake has extended the arc to explore what powered the band and the decade.

The concept of war is effective here – growing up in the shadow of World War II, the internal conflicts of each member and then the explosive tensions between Townshend, Daltrey, Moon and Entwistle, which propelled the group to the top but constantly threatened to destroy them.

Engagingly written, with many new interviews, this is not just the story of The Who but a brilliant study of the dynamics of a rock’n’roll band.

Claudia Elliott

Claudia Elliott is a music writer and sub-editor. She has freelanced for BBC Radio 2's Sounds of the 60s, Uncut, History of Rock, Classic Rock and The Blues magazine. She is a 1960s music specialist.