Who I Am
Pete Townshend
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Buy *Who I Am: A Memoir* by Pete Townshend online

Who I Am: A Memoir
Pete Townshend
544 pages
October 2012
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Everyone assumes that because someone excels at one aspect of a creative pursuit that they will excel in all types of that particular art form. That's a misconception when it comes to musicians writing their own biographies. Pete Townshend is one of the greatest songwriters who ever lived; his lyrics are deep and insightful and profoundly original. As a memoirist, he simply doesn't have the tools.

It's not that Townshend is a bad writer. He's more than adequate to the task, and many times he shows great promise. The problem here is that he simply doesn't tell us anything we don't already know about The Who. He glosses over entire sections of the band's history, either because he doesn't remember the details or he doesn't believe it's important enough to relate in detail.

Every Who fan wants to know what it was like when the band first came together. How did Pete write songs? What was the scene really like in the mid-'60s? What was it like when he first met Keith Moon? This latter subject is dismissed in virtually a couple paragraphs, and he doesn't even talk about how Keith sat in for the band's drummer at the time and promptly destroyed the poor soul's drum kit. Nary a word.

Pete needed someone prodding and poking him and making him go deeper. He could have used a co-writer. He does finally admit to being bisexual and addicted to alcohol for many years. There are so many other holes here that he could have filled in, and it's a disappointment that he didn't. Still, Who I Am is worth reading because, at the end of the day, The Who were one of the greatest rock and roll bands ever, and to read words from the man himself has value.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Steven Rosen, 2012

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