Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Happy Birthday, Pete!

Birthday regards to a rock favorite of mine: Mr. Pete Townshend of The Who. He's turning 64 today. I was a regular reader of his fantastic website (PeteTownshend.com) for many years when he would post regular "diary" updates and MP3's of songs he was working on, lead tracks that he would record before the band, etc. To my disappointment, Roger Daltrey had him put a stop to that and focus on a Who website that charges a yearly $50 fee for "premium" membership. So the little snippets of Pete genius are no longer featured as they once were on PeteTownshend.co.uk. (Although there is a Pete's Blog portion of thewho.com website. He just doesn't update it as regularly...something I actually have no place to really complain about on Pablo's Point of late.) I harbor no hard feelings toward Roger for ending the PeteTownshend.com presence. After all, without Roger, we might only have Pete as a Susan Boyle-style American Idol contestant. (See this awkward video of Pete on VH1 some years ago singing along to the backtrack of the Jerry Maguire version of "Let My Love Open the Door". It's not far off from American Idol or Britain's Got Talent. Thanks for still being in The Who, Roger!

Also on the old PeteTownshend.co.uk site there were videos of him in the studio preparing songs, track by track, that were brilliant snippets of the work behind the genius songwriter. Pete's terrifically honest in these little "behind the scenes" peeks. I thought about featuring one in particular on this post. But opted for this video from a 1996 Late Night with Conan O'Brien in which Pete's promoting his solo greatest hits collection. With Conan about to take over The Tonight Show spot from Jay Leno, this video serves as a reminder of how much of a music fan Conan is and how good a raconteur Pete is. (And with Pearl Jam just announced as playing on Conan's first night, it's clear that he will continue to spotlight music.)