Brian May’s opinion on The Who and Pete Townshend

Brian May, the legendary guitarist from the iconic band ‘Queen’ is an inspiration to most of us. May was also voted as the top guitar player by Total Guitar Magazine. Even a talented guitarist like him has other musicians that he looks up to, and one of them is Pete Townshend.

It’s not new news since May has spoken about Townshend and his respect for him multiple times, but this time he gave his opinion on the band itself, ‘The Who’ and on Pete Townshend.

Brian May’s opinion on The Who and Pete Townshend

Queen rose to popularity in 1974, he had seen multiple performances before he came to the mainstream. One of the groups that he usually used to watch was ‘The Who’. He used to watch their performance with Roger Taylor.

May talked about the time when he went to see ‘The Who’ performance. It was in 1969 when he was only 22. “They came from Shepherd’s Bush. Very much a local phenomenon for us and we used to go and see them. Rog(er Taylor) and me. It was about the most dangerous concert you could ever go to. Because you never knew if they would turn up, to start with,” he told BBC Radio 2.

“And when they did turn up it was mayhem let loose. It was just so loud, dangerous, and anarchic, I guess. This was long before Punk. So I think The Who kind of wrote the recipe for Punk if you like. So they played local to us and we went to see them a lot. We followed them, we loved them. They ripped out the rulebook,” Brian May added.

May and Queen finally rose to popularity in 1974 and the year 1992, he finally got a chance to meet the legendary musician from The Who, Roger Daltrey. Queen invited Daltrey to perform “I Want It All” for Freddie’s tribute in 1992.

Well, according to Brian’s official website, he also shared the stage together with another member of The Who, John Entwistle on June 22, 1985. Alongside, Eddie Van Halen, they played in a club in the United States.

Brian May stated Pete Townshend “invented” rock guitar

May was declared the best guitarist of all time in 2022 by the readers of Guitar World. During an interview with the magazine, he thanked the fans and his colleagues, amongst the names he praised he also stated The Who’s co-founder, Pete Townshend.

“Previously (ironically) electric guitars had been designed not to feedback. But in the hands of Jeff Beck, Pete Townshend, and Jimi Hendrix, they were forced to! My Dad had the technical knowledge and skills to make the dream come true.”

He stated that guitarists such as Pete Townshend, Jimi Hendrix, and Jeff black changed the way that electric guitar used to be. He even gave a nickname to Pete Townshend, “God of Guitar.”

In an Instagram post, he also stated how great Pete Townshend’s guitar skills were. “I can’t imagine Rock Guitar without Pete Townshend. Looking back, it seems to me he basically invented it! I was lucky enough to be there watching. My playing owes so much to him.”

He even stated that the Queen owed a big time to Pete Townshend during an interview with Total Guitar in 2022. “We (Queen) wanted to take people off into the stratosphere. It’s always been that way with us,” he said.

“We were inspired by our heroes to do that, and I put The Who way up top of that list. Pete Townshend is the master of mood change, a master of the suspended chord. I owe so much to him,” he added.

May continued, “That was the whole kind of principle of the early electric guitar. So that you could amplify it on the stage and it wouldn’t feed back. So I’d seen feedback. I’d seen Pete Townshend – again, wow! Pete Townshend’s a god of guitar and always will be! I’d seen him stand there and let the guitar explode into life on its own.”

In an interview back in 2003, he talked about his part in “I Want It All” which was similar to Peter Townshend’s technique, “Interesting, I wrote myself a bit in the middle,” he said.

“I can’t remember quite why that was. It’s a very sort of Pete Townshend thing to do, isn’t it? But it made a nice little kind of duet in the middle. A bit of spying between me and Freddie, and I know he enjoyed that,” Brian May said.

Brian May’s first Jimi Hendrix performance was an opening for The Who

Brain May seems to be involved with The Who in multiple ways. The first time he saw the greatest guitarist of all time, Jimi Hendrix perform was when Hendrix was doing an opening for The Who.

He recalled the moment with Guitar Player magazine in 1983. “I heard him play on a single of “Hey Joe”. On the flip side there’s an amazing solo on ‘Stone Free’, where he’s talking to the guitar and it’s talking back to him. I thought, ‘Well, he can’t really be that good. He must have done that with studio technique’,” he said.

May added, “Then when I saw him for the first time supporting the Who at the Savoy Theatre in London. He just completely blew me away. I thought, ‘He’s it’. The Who couldn’t follow him in those days, and they were really hot, big news in England. Anybody in the world would find it hard to follow Hendrix.”

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