Young and Minority Leaders

Roger Daltrey, the Prototypical Front Man

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Roger Daltrey was the early leader of The Who and would remain its primary voice for the duration of their career. Coming from a working-class Londoner background, Daltrey dropped out of school to focus on rock and roll at the beginning of the 1960’s. Perfect timing, it would seem, as he would find himself singing on the first Who record a few years later and plotting a course for rock and roll immortality. As a young man Daltrey had a rough and tumble personality, and he wasn’t afraid to fight someone in order to get his own way. He extended this gunboat diplomacy to dealings with his band, and was in fact briefly expelled from The Who early on, due to his rather violent methods of dealing with social interaction. He was re-admitted to the group after promising to limit his angry outbursts to the stage, where they would be most effective.

Never a prolific songwriter, Roger Daltrey was still one of the most electrifying front men in rock and roll history. For many Who fans, it was the twin attack of Daltrey’s dynamic stage presence and guitarist Pete Townshend’s concert acrobatics that made the band so incredible to watch. The fire that burned inside the two of them also caused them to frequently butt heads behind the scenes, for while Daltrey was an excellent mouthpiece for the ideas and words of Townshend, on occasion they disagreed over business and personnel decisions. This would sometimes lead to violent relapses between the two of them, and after the death of drummer Keith Moon, their relationship deteriorated to such a degree that it became unworkable, ending The Who’s existence.

Roger Daltrey had always been busy outside of the group, with both musical projects and film roles. He not only appeared as the title character in the film adaptation of ‘Tommy’, but he also found parts in films completely unrelated to music. Daltrey was active in The Who Films, which produced Who-related films ‘Quadrophenia’ and ‘The Kids Are Alright’, but which also made a foray into drama with McVicar, a film produced by and starring Daltrey. Daltrey would go on to star in several more pictures independent of his in-house production company, and was also active in television and in the theatre. He also continued his singing career past the break-up of The Who, both in terms of solo projects and in tackling new interpretations of the band’s material.

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