Rock

The Who’s Pete Townshend Says Robert Plant ‘Very Much Based Himself on Roger Daltrey’: ‘We Had a Rock God, but So Did Led Zeppelin’

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Pete Townshend, the iconic guitarist of The Who shed light on the band’s early strategy to appeal primarily to male audiences. This approach, he revealed in the Broken Record Podcast, was a conscious shift from trying to be a typical “pretty boy” band that predominantly attracted female fans. Townshend noted that as artists age, relying on teen heartthrob appeal becomes less effective.

He elaborated on his songwriting focus, which centered on themes relatable to young men, including their sexuality and life challenges. Pete Townshend drew a parallel to sports fandom in the U.S., suggesting that once a young man becomes a fan, he remains loyal for life. This strategy, according to him, worked well for The Who.

However, a significant shift occurred with the transformation of Roger Daltrey, The Who’s lead singer. Townshend pointed out that Roger Daltrey’s evolution into a glamorous figure, especially following the “Tommy” movie, attracted more female fans, although they never reached the frenzied level of female adoration enjoyed by bands like The Rolling Stones.

Further, Townshend argued that Daltrey’s transformation had a profound influence on Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant. He suggested that Plant modeled his style and stage presence after Daltrey’s performance in the Woodstock movie. This transformation included changes in Daltrey’s appearance, such as growing out his hair and wearing a distinctive leather jacket, which helped him transition into a “rock god” figure, a path that Plant also followed with Zeppelin.

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