Searching for fans of The Who
Legendary rockers The Who played gigs right across Lancashire on their rise to global stardom in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Now author Richard Houghton is looking for fans who saw the band play in the early days to share their memories for a new book.
The Who were famed for smashing guitars and drum kits and for headline grabbing off stage antics including wrecking hotel rooms and crashing a Rolls-Royce into a swimming pool. This was on top of a string of hits such as I Can’t Explain, My Generation and Pinball Wizard, which saw them headline the biggest arenas around the world.But in the days before filling Wembley Stadium, The Who appeared in Preston, Morecambe, Nelson, Blackpool, Southport, Lancaster and Blackburn.The group appeared in Lancashire more than 20 times in the 1960s, with Blackpool and Morecambe both hosting them several times.They first appeared in Lancashire at Blackpool’s Opera House in August 1964 and were back two weeks later at the resort’s Queen’s Theatre. At the time, they had yet to register a hit single and were still known by their original name, the High Numbers.Another favoured haunt of the group was Nelson’s Imperial Ballroom, which they visited five times in two years between 1965 and 1967. And they played the Floral Hall in Southport three times, as well as Blackburn’s Locarno and, in February 1966, the Beachcomber Club on Fishergate in Preston.They were one of the most hard working bands in the 1960s and would often play seven nights a week and acquired a deserved reputation as a must-see act, and were also known to be extremely loud.Their last but one performance in Lancashire was at Lancaster University in May 1970. They started playing the college circuit in the 1970s and pretty much abandoned the smaller venues. They had become a huge live draw and stopped playing clubs like the Beachcomber as they were no longer big enough to host them and their army of fans.The Who’s final visit to Lancashire was to Blackpool Opera House in 1971 when they had established themselves as one of the biggest acts in the world, having played Woodstock and recorded the rock opera Tommy. I am hoping some Post readers may have witnessed one of their many shows and, if they did, I’m really interested to hear from them. People who were teenagers in the 1960s will have some great memories of these evenings which I’d like to capture in order to preserve the history of a golden age of pop.You can share your memories of The Who at [email protected] or by writing to Richard at 1 Totnes Road, Manchester, M21 8XF.