Pete Townshend on the real inspiration for My Generation

19 May 2021, 14:41

The Who guitarist has dispelled the myth about one of his most famous songs.

Pete Townshend has debunked a common myth surrounding his 1965 My Generation single.

The Who guitarist took part in Radio X's According To Google series, where he answered some of the most asked questions about himself and the band.

One query is what really inspired The Who's iconic hit My Generation? The single was released on 29 October 1965 and made Number 2 in the UK charts.

The legendary guitarist said: "Well there is a story that it's inspired by the Queen Mother having my Packard Hearse towed away from outside my house, but that's not really what happened."

Townshend added: "My Generation was inspired by the fact that I felt as artists we had to draw a line between all those people who had been involved in the second world war and all those people who were born right at the end of the war."

The Who at the time of My Generation in 1965: Pete Townshend, Keith Moon, Roger Daltrey  and John Entwistle
The Who at the time of My Generation in 1965: Pete Townshend, Keith Moon, Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle. Picture: The Visualeyes Archive/Redferns/Getty

"Those people had sacrificed so much for us, but they weren't able to give us anything. No guidance, no inspiration. Nothing really."

"We weren't allowed to join the army, we weren't allowed to speak, we were expected to shut up and enjoy the peace... And we decided not to do that."

Pete Townshend performing with The Who in 1972
Pete Townshend performing with The Who in 1972. Picture: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Townshend also shared his thoughts about both Liam and Noel Gallagher's solo material and compared the two.

Speaking about Liam Gallagher's support slot on The Who's North American dates in 2019, the My Generation rocker explained: "It was good. It was good. He was well behaved. He's got a new partner (Debbie Gwyther), and she's a really good girl..."

He added: "He had both his sons at one point. They adore him but they're both Who fans, so that's nice. And he had a short set to do. I think he had maybe 30 minutes, so he went at it and our fans loved him. It was a good mix."

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Talking about Gallagher's solo albums. the legend mused: "It's interesting because the recordings that he's doing at the moment, I think they exhibit a subtlety and a magic that is not coming across on the stage [...] I'm looking forward to the new album 'cause I loved the last one".

"I like Noel's new albums as well," added the legendary rocker. "You know I think they're interesting because they're both doing very very different things in a way.

"You know, Noel's doing soundscapey stuff. It's all very rich and almost psychedelic.

"And [Liam's] trying to write songs, he's learning still with songs. It's a craft he's developing, you know. He was thrown into it. He didn't want to have to do it.

"But it just goes to show, I think anybody can write songs if they've got the patience."