Brian May Says Pete Townshend “Basically Invented Rock Guitar” – Do You Agree?

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In the world of rock and roll, certain guitarists leave an unforgettable legacy. One such legend is Pete Townshend, the renowned guitarist of The Who.

Recently, Queen’s own guitar virtuoso, Brian May, stunned fans with his high praise for Townshend. He went beyond mere admiration, boldly stating that Townshend “basically invented” rock guitar.

This striking comment has ignited a lively debate. Was Townshend truly the architect of the rock guitar sound that defined a generation? Did he revolutionize the instrument and shape the very essence of rock guitar?

Brian May: A Disciple of Townshend

Although Brian May wouldn’t achieve global fame with Queen until a decade after The Who’s rise, he was an ardent music fan during their formative years. Witnessing Townshend’s early performances played a pivotal role in shaping May’s musical interests.

Like many budding musicians, May absorbed the influences around him, blending them into his distinctive style. His admiration for Townshend is well documented, having spoken about it publicly on numerous occasions.

Recently, on Instagram, the Queen guitarist acknowledged that he might not express his reverence enough, stating, “I probably don’t say it enough,” emphasizing the profound impact Townshend has had on him.

“I Can’t Imagine Rock Guitar Without Pete Townshend”

May recently expressed his deep admiration for Townshend, prompted by a fan who shared a quote where May called Townshend a “god of guitar.” Clearly moved by the reminder, May elaborated on his hero worship.

I can’t imagine rock guitar without Pete Townshend,” May declared. He credited Townshend as a revolutionary figure, saying, “Looking back, it seems to me he basically invented it!

This bold statement underscores the immense influence Townshend had on May’s own guitar playing. May further emphasized his point by recalling Townshend’s groundbreaking work firsthand: “I was lucky enough to be there watching.

May Breaks Down Townshend’s Genius

May didn’t stop at general praise; he delved into the specifics of what makes Townshend a legend. “If you want to feel what I’m talking about,” May urged his followers, “put on ‘My Generation’ at full volume on your home system – and gasp in wonder!!!”

Here, May paints a vivid picture of The Who’s raw power: Keith Moon’s “insane” drumming, John Entwistle’s bass “thundering” with orchestral depth, and Roger Daltry’s “aggressive” vocals – a “punk icon long before the invention of ‘Punk Rock’.” For May, this is “Completely Awesome.”

May’s admiration extended beyond “My Generation.” He listed other tracks – “I’m A Boy,” “Can’t Explain,” “Summertime Blues,” and “Substitute” – showcasing Townshend’s brilliance as a “tour de force of gigantic rhythm playing.” He even turned his praise into a call to action, urging his fans to listen to these songs as their “assignment for the day” that “transformed Rock and Roll into Rock!!!”

“The Beatles Never Paid Anyone That Well”

Brian May’s admiration for Pete Townshend dates back to his teenage years. In a BBC Radio 2 interview, May reminisced about seeing The Who live in Shepherd’s Bush with Queen drummer Roger Taylor.

He described the experience as transformative: “When they did turn up, it was mayhem let loose. It was just so loud, dangerous and anarchic, I guess.” May even credits The Who as pioneers of punk rock, stating, “This was long before punk. So I think The Who kind of wrote the recipe for punk, if you like.

While Brian champions The Who’s legacy, Pete Townshend himself recently dispelled rumors of a farewell tour. In an appearance on the Sound Up! podcast, Townshend clarified previous comments about a potential goodbye tour, stating, “I’m not doing a farewell tour. I think I was being sarcastic about it.” This statement halts any speculation about The Who retiring their instruments.

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