For many, the World’s Greatest Rock Band, The Who, will be seen by one of the largest television audiences in history when the group headlines the Bridgestone Super Bowl XLIV Halftime Show on CBS Sports at Dolphin Stadium in South Florida on Sunday, February 7.
The Bridgestone Super Bowl halftime show is one of the most anticipated musical events of the year. More than 151 million viewers in the U.S. watched last year’s show. The Super Bowl and halftime show will be broadcast worldwide in more than 230 countries and territories.
Many of the classic songs the band will perform are just a few of those included on Greatest Hits (Geffen/UMe), released December 22, 2009. The largest single-disc “best of” collection from The Who in more than ten years, it is the first to span the group’s entire recording career to date, from 1964 to 2006. The 19-selection Greatest Hits brings together some of rock’s most important, influential and incandescent touchstones, along with an essay by renowned music critic Dave Marsh.
The Who stands alone in rock music. The most explosive live act ever to appear on stage, propelled by the most staggeringly brilliant rhythm section in all popular music, layered with deafening power chords and thunderous vocal fury, The Who transcended its original billing as “Maximum R&B” to become the most musically inventive and structurally innovative band of all time. Together, the four divergent personalities of The Who produced a hurricane. Each of them was a pioneer. Wildman drummer Keith Moon beat his kit with a chaotic elegance; stoic bassist John Entwistle held down the center with the melodic virtuosity of a solo guitarist; raging intellectual Pete Townshend punctuated the epic universality of his songs with the windmill slamming of his fingers across his guitar strings; and Roger Daltrey roared above it all with an impossibly virile macho swagger. They exploded conventional rhythm and blues structures, challenged pop music conventions, and redefined what was possible on stage, in the recording studio, and on vinyl. Never before or since has spiritual and intellectual brilliance sounded so gloriously furious.
Alone among the great bands, The Who has found itself at the center of every major rock event– Monterey, Woodstock, the Isle of Wight, the Concert for Kampuchea, Live Aid, the Concert for NYC. In any era, The Who is a touchstone for rock and roll greatness. They have sold over 100 million albums and won every award including Grammys/Brit Awards/Lifetime Achievement. They have been inducted into both the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and UK Music Hall of Fame. Their charitable work is legendary with millions of dollars raised over the years for a variety of causes. This work was recognized by the award of a CBE to Roger Daltrey in 2005.
In spite of the loss of Moon and Entwistle, The Who remains the standard-bearer for great live rock and roll and are still one of the most in demand live acts in the business Their music still forms the backdrop to 21st century life and is all over television in such shows as CSI as well as in many movies. The 21st century has sparked a resurgence in the creative collaboration between Townshend and Daltrey: In September 2006, the band released their first studio album Endless Wire since 1982’s It’s Hard, which preceded a 100 show world tour and the release of a Grammy-nominated career-spanning documentary DVD Amazing Journey.
2008 saw them return to the US for MTV’s Rock Honors, and a further string of US dates; that year, they also completed their first ever arena tour of Japan. This was followed by the receipt of the prestigious Kennedy Center Award at The White House and the year was topped off by some incendiary shows at London’s O2. In 2009, they completed a Tour of Australia and New Zealand. Townshend and Daltrey continue to look forward with energy and optimism and time will tell what the future has in store for this most remarkable of rock acts.