Daltrey hated being Tommy movie star
The Who frontman Roger Daltrey admits he hated the way becoming a movie star changed his life.
He hadn’t been aware how powerful a medium film was until the release of the silver-screen version of The Who’s rock operat Tommy in 1975.
Daltrey – whose bandmate Pete Townshend recently said The Who would play their final large-scale tour in 2015 – tells Rolling Stone: “I didn’t realise the difference between being what you would call a film star and a rock star. It was enormously different – it was very hard to deal with for a year or two after that.
“It was just crazy. People just treat you so differently and you go: ‘I don’t want to be treated differently. I want to be in a rock band.’ It was hard. Just very, very difficult.
“They would call me Tommy and it would really get on my tits. But ultimately I was always determined to hang on to The Who through that whole roller-coaster of a period.”
A super-deluxe edition of the 1969 album is to be released on November 11, including demos, out-takes and live recordings.
Daltrey recalls of the period leading up to its recording: “Us being a singles band was wearing thin. Pete was getting frazzled. Having to come up with hit singles all the time, that’s the hard bit of the music industry. But coming up with music? That was much easier. Well, it was more artistically attractive to him.
“So he came up with this idea of what life would be like if you had lived through just feeling vibrations. We had this one song called Amazing Journey. The whole thing expanded from there. Pete went home, and came back with other songs that gradually went together and loosely made the groundwork of what would become Tommy.
“John Entwistle was asked to write about the dark side of things. There were dark characters like Uncle Ernie, which we did in fun at the time. John wrote that song and Cousin Kevin, which was the spiteful one.
“People talk about Pete Townshend’s Tommy, but it was really The Who’s Tommy.”
And Daltrey believes the music stands the test of time: “If I had to choose between Quadrophenia, Who’s Next or Tommy, I would always choose Tommy,” he states. “It’s the most complete piece of work. That’s not to say that musically it’s any better than the other three, I just think it’s the most complete.”