60s

The Story of The Who - 1964

February

The Detours change their name to The Who at the suggestion of Pete’s art school friend Richard Barnes. The Who acquire the managerial services of Helmut Gorden, a doorknob manufacturer from Shepherd’s Bush.

April

After an impromptu audition at the Oldfield Hotel in Greenford, west London, Keith Moon, who had been drumming for the past year in local Wembley group, Clyde Burns & The Beachcombers, joins The Who. The group had been using session drummer Dave Golding following the departure of Doug Sandom. That same month, mod fanatic Peter Meaden becomes the group’s publicist, changes their name to The High Numbers and moulds them into a mod band.

3 July

‘I’m The Face/’Zoot Suit’ by The High Numbers is released by Fontana Records. It fails to chart. August Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp oust Meaden as The High Numbers’ management after Lambert sees them performing at the Railway Hotel, Harrow, the previous month.

August/September

The High Numbers are bottom of the bill during a series of Sunday concerts throughout Britain, promoted by Arthur Howes. On the bill in Blackpool on 16 August are The Kinks and headliners, The Beatles. The High Numbers also make their TV début on BBC-TV’s The Beat Room, broadcast 24 August.

September

Pete smashes his first guitar – by accident – at the Railway Hotel in Harrow. In his frustration he deliberately reduces it to splinters, thereby igniting the most exciting live act pop has ever seen. A week later at the same venue, Keith smashes his drum-kit to demonstrate solidarity.

October

The group audition for EMI Records at London’s Abbey Road Studios. They request more original material so Lambert and Stamp urge Pete to write his own songs. The group sign with independent producer Shel Talmy’s recording company, Orbit Music.

November

The High Numbers become The Who again.

24 November

The group starts a 16-week residency at London’s Marquee Club. The shows soon become sell-outs, but the equipment smashing takes its toll on the group’s finances.