Guide to British Music of the 1960s

February 2019

Book Review

Thanks a Lot Mr Kibblewhite by Roger Daltrey

There are many biographies of the Who including Pete Townshend's own autobiography. These tell the story of the greatest ever rock band as well as building and dispelling the many myths, particularly surrounding Keith Moon. Fortunately, Roger Daltrey's new autobiography does not look to repeat the same stories. Instead it is focused on Daltrey and his own view of those events. One of the key aspects to which Daltrey frequently returns is that the Who worked very well because they were four individuals all contributing something different. Effectively the band consisted of lead guitar, lead bass, lead drums and lead vocals, all making for a very powerful combination.

The Who started as Daltrey's group, the Detours, with Entwhistle and Townshend joining later. Finally, Keith Moon replaced Doug Sandom to become the last piece of the jigsaw. Daltrey had grown up in the tough part of Shepherd's Bush and he was prepared to use his fists to settle arguments in the band. At the same time the power in the band was shifting to Townshend who was proving to be a gifted songwriter. At one stage Daltrey was sacked from the band as others found it hard to work with him and his tendency to violence. This was a wake-up call for him and, after that short period, his violent streak did not reappear.

Daltrey does not go into great detail as there would be too much to cover and previous books have already told the story of the Who. Tommy was an important moment in the career of the band and of Daltrey himself. He came of age as a singer but, just a few years later, a second career beckoned when he was chosen to play the part of Tommy in Ken Russell's film. Like many others he had felt that there was a limited "shelf-life" for the band so it made sense to have a second career. After Tommy, Daltrey undertook a number of acting roles including the lead in McVicar.

The death of Keith Moon in 1978 was a major blow to the band although it was not unexpected because of his lifestyle. Moon's replacement was Kenney Jones who had been in the Small Faces and the Faces and who was on friendly terms with the members of the Who. It has been widely documented that there was friction between Daltrey and Jones. The Who frontman was not keen on having Kenney in the Who. He did praise Kenney's drumming but added that he was not the right type of drummer for the Who and that Moon would have been out of place in the Faces.

The book concentrates on Daltrey's career but has little about him off the stage or screen. He has had a long-lasting marriage with Heather as well as many children and grandchildren from his marriages and his life on the road. He also renovated his home in Sussex showing that he was still good with his hands - from metalworking, not fighting - and established a trout fishing business.

The book is a very enjoyable read and less voluminous than Pete Townshend's Who I Am. Although it is far less personal than Townshend's work it does provide some insight into the life of one of rock's greatest and most original vocalists.

Published 18 October 2018

Blink Publishing

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