The line-up most commonly thought of as The Who formed in February of 1964, after several members of the band had worked together on a variety of different bands with various other line-ups.
The Who consisted of Roger Daltrey
, Pete Townshend
, John Entwistle
and Keith Moon
. They briefly assumed the name The High Numbers, but after the release of a failed single returned to The Who. They began to develop a following in London
, but only began to acquire a devoted following after they developed a propensity for instrument destruction. Their first radio hits came in early 1965, and this success was followed in late 1965 by the release of their debut album, My Generation
. They continued to release successful singles, but began to focus on creating cohesive albums, rather than unconnected singles. This lead in 1966 to the release of their second album, which marked their first steps towards concept albums. This was followed in 1967 by another concept album; both received favourable reviews. In 1969 the band released Tommy
, the first work to be described as a rock opera, to much critical acclaim and commercial success. That same year they performed most of Tommy
at Woodstock. An attempt at another rock opera, entitled Lifehouse
, never came to complete fruition. Instead, many of the completed songs were incorporated into the band's next album, which was released in 1971, again meeting with great success. Their next album, a rock opera in the vein of Tommy
, was released in 1973. Entitled Quadrophenia
, it experienced a great deal of popularity in America, reaching the highest of any Who album in the American charts. 1975 saw the release of their next album, which was not a concept album; instead, it marked a decidedly dark and introspective turn for the band. That same year the film version of Tommy
was released, starring Daltrey in the title role and also featuring Elton John
as the Local Lad. Townshend was nominated for an Oscar for the music in the film. That same year they broke a world record with a concert attended by over 75,000 people. Their next album was release in 1978, to great commercial success on both sides of the pond. Moon died in his sleep in September of that same year, and was replaced by Kenney Jones. They returned to touring in May of 1979. That year also saw the release of a documentary film about the group, entitled The Kids Are Alright
, and the film version of Quadrophenia
. At the end of that year one of the band's concerts ended in tragedy when eleven concert goers were crushed by a crowd crush; this devastated the band. They released their first album without Moon in 1981, followed by a second in 1982. Three of their videos were played on the inaugural broadcast of MTV in 1981. in 1983 Townshend left the band, essentially dissolving the band for some time.
The Who reunited for a single concert in 1985, in support of Live Aid. In 1988 they were awarded with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the British Phonographic Institute. They played a few songs in celebration of this; shortly after this performance Jones left the band. In 1989 the remaining members of the band went on an anniversary tour, with Simon Phillips taking over drums and Steve Bolton providing most guitar work that would otherwise have been provided by Townshend, who was attempting to reduce aggravation of his tinnitus. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. Several partial reunions were made throughout the 1990s, including a performance of Quadrophenia
that was performed by all three surviving members of the band in 1996. For the first time in almost fifteen years they performed together in concert on a 1999 tour. In 2000 they embarked on a tour with Zac Starkey on drum. The following year they were awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Grammy Foundation. In 2002 Entwistle was found dead of a heart attack; he was replaced by Pino Palladino. They were inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. They released a new studio album in 2006, their first in 24 years. It was another concept album, and contained the mini-opera Wire & Glass. In late 2007 another documentary, entitled Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who
, was released. They continued to tour the globe during this period. In 2009 Townshend began work on a new concept album, Floss
. In 2010 they performed at Super Bowl XLIV. Recently they have been touring and also involved in charitable works, especially related to cancer research.