Just spotted this potentially interesting upcoming book release – Pretend You’re In A War: The Who and the Sixties by Mark Blake – which is a hardback release by Aurum Press.
All we have to go on so far is the advance write up which states:
Early in their career, Pete Townshend was asked how he prepared himself for The Who’s violent live performances. His answer: ‘Pretend you’re in a war.’ For a band as prone to furious infighting as it was notorious for electrifying acts of ‘auto-destructive art’, this could have served as a motto.
Between 1964 and 1969, The Who released 17 singles and four albums containing some of the most dramatic and confrontational music of the decade, including ‘I Can’t Explain’, ‘My Generation’ and ‘I Can See For Miles’. It was a body of work driven by creative tension, black humour, bitter rivalry and dark childhood secrets, but which also held up a mirror to a society in transition, offering a unique perspective on both the group and their times.
In Pretend You’re In A War, Mark Blake goes in search of The Who in these years. He charts their mod breakthrough as figureheads for a restless youth culture in revolt against the stifling emotional fallout of World War II. He reveals how deeply the band’s music reflected the turbulent change of the era, through its exploration of sex, drugs, religion and class. He lays bare the colourful but crucial role played by their young managers, Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp. And – in the uneasy alliance between art-school experimentation and working-class ambition – he locates the motor of the Swinging Sixties.
As the book closes on the decade, we see The Who performing Tommy in front of 500,000 people at the Woodstock Festival. At the time, it was seen as their crowning achievement, heralding the arrival of the ‘rock opera’. In retrospect, it is the high-water mark in the tale of a band who had already embraced Pop Art and the concept album; who had pioneered the power chord and the guitar smash; and who had embodied – more so than any of their rivals – the true spirit of the age: war.
It’s a weighty volume too, coming in at 400 pages. The book is published on 18th September 2014, but is available as a pre-order now for a discounted £17.67 if you fancy it.