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Publisher's Summary

From the voice of a generation: the most highly anticipated autobiography of the year, and the story of a man who...

...wanted The Who to be called The Hair.
...wanted to be a sculptor, a journalist, a dancer, and a graphic designer.
...became a musician, composer, librettist, fiction writer, literary editor, sailor.
...smashed his first guitar onstage, in 1964, by accident.
...invented the Marshall stack, feedback, and the concept album.
...inspired Jimi Hendrix's pyrotechnical stagecraft. partially deaf in his left ear.
...stole his windmill guitar playing from Keith Richards.
...followed Keith Moon off a hotel balcony into a pool and nearly died.
...did too much cocaine and nearly died.
...drank too much and nearly died.
...detached from his body in an airplane, on LSD, and nearly died.
...was embroiled in a tabloid scandal that has dogged him ever since.
...planned to write his memoir when he was 21.
...published this book at 67.
©2012 Pete Townshend (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Cow Poke McGhee on 10-11-12


Where does Who I Am rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

top 5

What other book might you compare Who I Am to and why?

Steve Jobs

Which scene was your favorite?

Early days in London

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?


Any additional comments?

The exquisite story and rich language of Mr. Townsend's autobiography serves to further establish him as a truly great artist. His light touch and genuine warmth in his reading is a special treat. When he laughs at little episodes of his own amazing life, you are reminded of the human being within the genius.

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15 of 15 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Mel on 10-12-12

Glad To Meet You

Absolutely without guile; open, frank, visual. What a life, what a legacy, and what a g-g-generation!

To put my 5* rating in perspective: as a very young teen, I was indifferent about The Who, couldn't name more than 3 songs they performed, wasn't a fan of the on-stage performance art-ish antics, and thought Tommy was mildly entertaining thanks to Elton John and Tina Turner; I'd rather have been listening to my Hendrix or Zeppelin LPs. So, my interest in this book surprised me; it was purely from seeing this very recognizable man recently on TV, promoting his bio, and being struck by his level of sincerity and vulnerability -- an almost apologetic demeanor without any of the ususal celeb braggadocio and self-aggrandizement that ruined some of the music celeb bios I've tried to get through (because yeah, we know, you're a bad A$$). Could that possibly be that rock star that used to do that windmill thing, smash his guitar, and strut with the royals of British rock, long live sex drugs and rock and roll? I was not some former fan, hoping to read Townshend's bio and flash-back to the glorious days when *I'd walk over you to see The Who.*

That perceived candor was accurate; I doubt it's possible to lay yourself so bare, as Townshend has done here, and be duplicitous. The history is fascinating and it reads like a grand timeline of rock and roll (which he calls *the absolute vehicle for self-destruction*). Townshend can probably go head to head with Keith Richards and his stories, but you don't get the sense that you are gathered around a pub table being regaled with wild rock star adventures -- though there are plenty of tales included. Instead, there is a kind of tolerance and wisdom that distances Townshend from being led by his talent to mastering his talent. His insecurities and self-doubts are bravely admitted, his love of family and friends obvious. I liked that he spoke about his achievements without bragging, aware of his talent as a gift--not a free pass to be an arse.

Once in a while an author connects to the reader and invites them into his life, it becomes intimate and real, like a confessional, and that connection is a gift borne of talent. Townshend's writing, and choice to narrate the book himself, put this book in that category. If I'd paid attention to those lyrics years ago, I probably wouldn't have been so surprised by his depth and talent. Like the man, this book is the real thing, and the product of a life lived hard...and well. The best celeb bio I've read to date (including the great Steve Jobs bio)--and remember, this is a man I had no interest in before. I'll have to go back and listen to The Who (with my *mature* ears) to see if I am yet a fan of the music, but I can say without any doubt I sure like Pete Townshend the man.

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56 of 59 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By S Lipperman on 04-13-13

Who Is He?

I'm a huge fan of rock bios but have less and less time to read them. So hearing PT tell his story in his own words was brilliant.

He's very honest and that mean that some people, and Pete himself, don't come out in the best light all the time. It's the struggle of a man trying to balance the spiritual, the carnal and a great musical gift.

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