See the Last Living Members of The Who Now, at 78 and 77
Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey are still performing live.
As the last surviving members of The Who, Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey easily qualify as living legends—two veterans of one of the most influential rock bands of all time, credited with everything from helping popularize the synthesizer to the development of the rock opera. Though they still perform together as The Who nearly 60 years after the band first formed (despite an on again/off again breakup that stretched from 1983 to 1999), Townshend and Daltrey's careers have also taken them down their own individual paths. Keep reading to learn what they've been doing since the band's '70s heyday, both separately and together.
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Daltrey had a successful solo career.
While still a member of The Who, Daltrey launched his own solo career in the early 1970s, beginning with the album Daltrey in 1973. Over subsequent decades, he continued recording independently even while touring with his longtime band, releasing his ninth album, As Long As I Have You, in 2018.
While his solo work never reached the peak sales or critical success of his work with The Who ("[B]y anybody else, this would be one more dumb concept album, and it still is," critic Robert Cristgau wrote of a Daltrey effort in Cream magazine), the singer toured successfully as a solo artist for years, playing alongside the likes of Eddie Vedder, Eric Clapton, and Pete Townshend's brother Simon.
Daltrey also worked as an actor.
Beginning with a Golden Globe-nominated turn as the title character in the 1975 film adaptation of The Who's concept album Tommy, Daltrey launched a fairly prolific acting career to go along with his work as a rock star. That same year, he appeared in director Ken Russell's surreal rock biopic Lisztomania and followed it up with roles in the 1978 horror film The Legacy and the children's film Pop Pirates.
On television, he has appeared in various TV movies, specials, and series, including playing himself in an adaptation of the Philip Pullman novel How to Be Cool, as well as episodes of Tales From the Crypt, Lois & Clark, and Sliders. In more recent years, he guest-starred on That '70s Show, The Mighty Boosh, CSI, and Once Upon a Time.
Townshend also released his own music.
Townshend also enjoyed a fruitful solo career, beginning with the release of 1972's Who Came First. A subsequent solo album, 1980's Empty Glass, produced his best-known solo work, the Top 10 single, "Let My Love Open the Door." He stayed active in the decades to follow, releasing more solo work, briefly forming a supergroup with Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour, writing and directing a Broadway adaptation of Tommy, and even co-producing the animated film The Iron Giant.
Townshend wrote a novel.
In November 2019, Townshend's debut novel The Age of Anxiety was published in advance of a production based on it that he has described as an "opera art installation" as well as his last solo work. With at least the first part of his magnum opus out of the way, it seems he may have started to slow down a little bit. In 2021, he reportedly sold the Wick, his London home of 26 years, and decamped to greener pastures.
"[M]y wife and I have moved to the countryside," he told Rolling Stone earlier this year. "We walk every day. We have a much more, I suppose, everyday, countryside lifestyle."
They're still touring.
The two septuagenarians haven't slowed down much, however. In April, they embarked on a North American tour called "The Who Hits Back!" that will last through November. The two remaining members are backed by an orchestra as they play classics from albums like Quadrophenia and Tommy, as well as songs from their 2019 album, Who—this despite Daltrey revealing that years of playing loud rock concerts have left him "very, very deaf."
The pair hope to take their tour through the U.K. in 2023 as they make up for a 2019 tour that was disrupted when Daltrey experienced a vocal problem and then delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"[I]t's not a farewell tour," Townshend told Rolling Stone. "Apart from anything else, we still have people who have tickets for the U.K. 2019 tour. We're very, very keen to do that tour and we'll be doing that tour in 2023, I think. But I'm talking about stuff I don't really know about. I don't have any guarantees, like everybody else. I don't really know for sure what's going to happen next month."
Daltrey is also still touring solo, playing shows in the U.K. throughout summer 2022 as part of his rescheduled "Live and Kicking" tour.
In 2021, Townshend hinted that there could even be another Who album in the future, suggesting "there's pages and pages of draft lyrics" that might become a record if it makes financial sense, according to The Mirror.
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They founded a cancer charity.
Since 2002, all proceeds from the sale of live albums in The Who's Encore series have gone to support various charities serving youth populations. Daltrey helped found the Teenage Cancer Trust concert series, at which The Who have performed a number of times over the years; the effort has raised more than £20 million to improve the care and treatment for teenage cancer patients in the U.K.
In 2011, Daltrey and Townshend together founded the Daltrey/Townshend Teen and Young Adult Cancer Programme at the UCLA Medical Center. Daltrey has also teamed with fellow singers Julie Andrews and Steven Tyler to provide funding for research into vocal cord repair for cancer patients.
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