Jul 262015
15 Aug 1993 --- Rock Band Nirvana --- Image by © Jesse Frohman/CORBIS OUTLINE

© Jesse Frohman/CORBIS OUTLINE

Will we ever see a band like Nirvana again? It’s hard to believe that the Nevermind album – which changed the face of the music industry in the early 90s – is now 24 years old! And since the decline of rock ‘n’ roll music in the late 90s, no other rock band has come remotely close to replicating the impact of Nirvana. Yes, we have had successful rock bands since viz. Nickelback, The Strokes, The Killers, Arctic Monkeys, Coldplay et al BUT relatively speaking, these have been minor successes when compared to the seismic pop culture impact of Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Beyonce and the like. Artistically as well, most of these aforementioned bands have failed to deliver.

Curiously enough, the last time critics declared the demise of rock ‘n’ roll was in the late 80s, when Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston ruled the roost, but as the wheel turned rock bands like R.E.M., Nirvana and the Seattle grunge scene ascended to the top of the charts. Well, it’s almost 25 years now and there appears to be no sign of rock ‘n’ roll ever returning to those levels of influence in the mainstream pop industry.

Still, that does not mean that good rock ‘n’ roll music (whether in the guise of pop-rock, indie pop, hard rock, electro-pop, blues rock, garage or punk) wasn’t being made in the last 15 odd years, it’s just that the environment of the music industry has been altered so drastically that it is virtually impossible for what happened in the early 90s to occur once again. The decline in record sales, the rise of singing contests (American Idol, X-Factor etc) and the ubiquity of Youtube, has meant that the major labels have had to hedge their bets and cynically control the musical output and fan appreciation thereof.

This has resulted in the most basic pop formulas viz. hip-hop/R&B accounting for the lion’s share of the chart action. These are 3 of the top 5 singles on Billboard’s Hot 100 right now.

The one main thing connecting all three singles is a highly designed discipline to present the melody/rhythms as simplistically and repetitively as possible so that the hooks are very easy to remember. A deliberate lack of musical sophistication that dumbs down to the lowest common denominator creating an audience that is not able to appreciate anything that does not sound like what it hears on a non-stop basis on the radio. The perfect marketing tactic.

In fact, guitar rock is totally absent for the Top 20, with the nearest example being Maroon 5, and even though the music video for “Sugar” shows the band with guitars, it does not sound like there are any guitars on the song itself! In fact, it adheres greatly to the hip-hop/R&B formula with Adam Levine’s vocals heavily auto-tuned. Talk about soul-less! Going down the rest of the chart will depress any fan of rock ‘n’ roll with the genre’s utter lack of representation.

So, are the rumours true? Is rock ‘n’ roll dead? Well, not at the grass roots level of course, as both in the USA and the UK, there continues to be scores of bands who create great rock ‘n’ roll music, it’s just that even with the oft assumed ability of the internet to connect bands and fans, it’s the major labels leveraging on radio stations, streaming services and Youtube (again!) who will have the attention of mainstream music fans.

There’s the rub. If the major labels feel that the new rock ‘n’ roll have the fan base to make them sit up and notice, then they might feel the need to throw money that way. The question is — will the youth of today ever get tired of the formulaic pop stars being paraded before them? Will they ever hunger for something different enough to alter their listening habits? The signs have not been encouraging. The irony is that whilst the internet is always being trumpeted as the champion of free and alternative choices, the harsh reality is that the internet is still ultimately the tool of our corporate masters to dictate what food we should eat, what clothes we should wear and of course, what music we should listen to.

However, for those of us who are able to think critically for ourselves, the internet provides a means of escaping these corporate shackles and we can only do this by supporting the bands that do not conform to the grand masterplan of our overlords. Then, these bands might have the opportunity and liberty to create the kind of music we desire and love. So, is rock ‘n’ roll in a crisis? Not if rock ‘n’ roll fans continue to support the right bands and be evangelistic about the music they love.

Yes, PoP visitors, the ball is in YOUR court…

In the meantime, check out the Power of Pop playlist at Spotify highlighting 30-odd British guitar rock bands you should be supporting! Please FOLLOW!

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Jul 262015


Our weekly (weakly?) discovery of worthy new releases. Enjoy!


A musical power-trio from Olympia, Washington on Sub Pop? Are you thinking what I’m thinking? The return of Seattle Grunge! Uh-huh. About frigging time too.


All this talk of a guitar rock revival belies the fact that veteran bands like Eleventh Dream Day are still delivering kickass music! Here’s one, the young upstarts to take notes from.


Here’s one to chill out to – very lush & sophisticated indie-psych-dream pop-rock. Perfect for a Sunday afternoon, in fact.

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Jul 242015


There were three emails from major labels that I received in this past week that indicates that Singapore English pop may just be turning a significant corner. Three releases from Singapore bands that have already made an impact on a pop fan base in Singapore. That is something that has not happened since… the 1960s and the 1990s?

Granted, there is not much rock ‘n’ roll evident from the new batch of popstars-in-waiting but perhaps that is a reflection of the audience’s taste more than anything else. In any case, what we have are three singles viz. “Sixty Five” by Gentle Bones, “Take Heart” from The Sam Willows and Trick’s “Some Girls” with their obligatory accompanying videos. So let’s take a look, shall we?

First off, Gentle Bones’ “Sixty Five” is a musical tie-in to the upcoming 1965 movie and is rather downbeat and dramatic amidst its lush orchestration. The video matches the somewhat sombre mood showcasing obtuse dancing and moody lighting, capturing the tone well. Look out for a cameo from producer Leonard Soosay (with cat).

Next, The Sam Willows’ “Take Heart” emphasises all the manifest strengths of this lively quartet with the video deftly highlighting energetic dancers as the song’s hybrid hipster folk/EDM hedges all bets well enough. With its bright rainbow colours, it’s seems to provide an interesting counterpoint to the Gentle Bones’ video. Coincidence or design? Mm??

Finally, “Some Girls” finds Trick hoping to emulate their American hip-hop cousins with some T&A and risque lyrics. Somewhat daring by staid Singapore standards, at least one cannot accuse Trick of not trying to provide a visual representation of the song itself. Considering how popular hip-hop is worldwide, it’s a commendable effort.

Watch the video

Taken in the context of mainstream pop, these singles can stand up to anything out there and hopefully with a certain amount of marketing muscle from the major labels involved, these pop star hopefuls will become household names in Singapore and beyond!

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Jul 242015


Definitely something I’ve wanted to do for a long long time! This is my dream – to get remunerated for talking about rock music!! It’s going to be a blast.

Although targeted at music writers/bloggers, I believe that much of the content of this course will be relevant for anyone working or aspiring to work in the music industry.

So please write in to kamcomusic AT gmail DOT com to sign up. I will be waiting for you! Thanks in advance.

Writing For Rock Music 2015AWriting For Rock Music 2015B


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Jul 212015


You know the drill. Here comes an anecdote about the first time I experienced one of my favourite bands. That’s me, consistent!

A Baybeats audition a couple of years back at a room in Lasalle. One of the band members was very late. Jokes were circulating about him being ‘lost’…

Not very helpful when the name of the band is Lost Weekend. The band eventually did the audition but were naturally fairly rattled. But there was something inherently valuable in the songwriting that prompted me to check the band out online and I was sold based on the demos I heard online.

Since then, Lost Weekend have gone from strength to strength and the much-anticipated debut album is upon us. Produced by Roland Lim (Sync Studios), the new album (based on the 4 tracks previewed) sound exactly as classic indie pop should sound. Sophisticated ‘retro’ melodies and edgy instrumentation with attitude – presented with sympathetic production values.

The band have decided not to release the album in the physical CD format, and will instead focus the delivery of their music in a digital format. Working with local design firm fFurious, Lost Weekend will offer download codes for their music through their merchandise, including a t-shirt and a special pop-up card. Check out the music video for the infectious “Mornings” below.

Lost Weekend Launch Event Details
(with special guests, Obedient Wives Club)
Date: 2 August 2015
Time: 7.30 pm; Opening band at 8PM, Lost Weekend at 9PM
Address: SingJazz Club, 101 Jln Sultan, Singapore 199002
Facebook event page:

Ticketing Information:
Pre-sale tickets ($15) available at
Limited tickets available at the door for $20

Social Media

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Jul 192015

SA Reyners

Stefan Reyners hails from Wellington, N.Z. and makes the kind of time-honoured smart & quirky pop that recalls the likes of Elvis Costello, Squeeze and Split Enz.

Reyners is getting a new EP ready and “Saturday Afternoon” provides a good taster of what to expect. Check it out below.

Jul 182015


What can I say about Seamonster? I feel like just grabbing you, dear reader, by the throat and screaming into your ear – “BUY THE FUCKING ALBUM NOW!” and not feel any guilt about such a violent outburst at all.

But seriously folks, what can I say about Seamonster?

That this amazing band viz. Joshua Wan (keyboards), Fabian Lim (saxophone), Jase Sng (bass), Aaron Lee (drums) and Ginny Bloop (vocals) has made jazz improvisation appealing to the soul with ten tracks that beggar belief for its technical excellence and emotional resonance. Every single member is a master of his instrument but together, they form an indefinable creature – a veritable Seamonster!

You want instrumental virtuosity? You can, in spades! You want irresistible grooves? Again, there are loads to spare here.

And the icing on the cake? The absolute tipping point into pure unbridled adulation?

Ginny Bloop – an idiosyncratic front-person who is at once sexy and quirky, possessed of a unique larynx that twists and turns like some leviathan, clothed with a personality that is also tongue-in-cheek woman-child – an unstoppable force!

See what I mean? Incomprehensible babbling of a madman touched by the magic of The Steve McQueens. You have been warned!

Seamonster is available in Singapore on all major digital music platforms. Physical copies of the CD can also be ordered at

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Jul 172015


Yes, you read that right!

Wilco leader Jeff Tweedy explained the reason behind this move over at the band’s Facebook page.

“Why release an album this way and why make it free? Well, the biggest reason, and I’m not sure we even need any others, is that it felt like it would be fun. What’s more fun than a surprise?”

Indeed. This is boon for all rock ‘n’ roll fans. Go get it!

Review to come.

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Jul 172015


What’s new? Well, here’s three melodic pop-rock gems you can stream without fear! Dive in!!


Talking about a 90s rock revival, here’s the reunion album of Veruca Salt, sounding smashing in a beefy Brad Wood production. First rate songs that make the years melt away.


More actual evidence of a 90s rock revival comes in the form of Sheffield’s Best Friends. Fuzzy guitars, knowing pop tunes and punk rhythms. It’s happening, boys and girls!


Power pop band hailing from Brooklyn, that has a good handle of 90s pop underground dynamics viz. infectious melodies, jangly guitar tones and sophisticated chord changes. Highly promising.


… still there’s more …

Jul 162015


My continuing misadventures as a failed musician in art-adverse Singapore where cover bands rule the music landscape.

Against all common sense, I am recording a new album to be released in September. Look, I will be a senior citizen very soon and my name isn’t Dick Lee or Jeremy Monteiro, so who the fuck in this recovering cultural desert would want to listen to my music?

It gets worse when one tries to talk to venues about playing gigs to promote the new album. Most of the venues here exclusively feature cover bands and if you want to ‘use’ their venue to launch your album then expect an exorbitant charge!

To be fair, there are venues that do (on a regular consistent basis) support a Singapore artist playing his own music but you can probably count them on one hand – Artistry Cafe, Hood Bar & Cafe, Timbre outlets, the Esplanade and the Hard Rock Cafe!

For most of these venues, there is no payment involved for playing – simply because there is no grassroots support for music made in Singapore. That unfortunately is still a fact. I can appreciate the venue owners’ dilemma, I really do. It’s already amazing that these platforms even exist!

Thus, I do not perform regularly. For my ‘layman’ friends, this is hard to understand. The usual query is ‘where do you play?’ but the reality is ‘NOWHERE’. Unless it’s an annual string of dates for an EP/album launch, it is impossible for me to get a gig!

Which is why I cringe whenever people describe me as a ‘legend’ – what a fucking joke!?!? More like a ‘failed musician’ is the stark reality. Is this your musical legacy, Singapore? Don’t be mistaken, I am not griping for the sake of it, I accept the way things are and do my best (which isn’t much) to change things.

But what I will continue to do is to make music. So, I will release my new album – Present Sense – in September and will play a couple of gigs in support (with The Groovy People). I really wish I could play my music all year round but that, dear readers, is just not possible, unless something changes.

And that is up to you. Not the Government, not SGMUSO, not The Musicians Guild, but YOU, the music fan. The scene is what you make of it – if all you want are singing contests & cookie cutter cover bands, then good luck to you all….

*thanks to Keith Tan (Obedient Wives Club) for the phrase. 

Jul 122015


It has been said so often now that it’s almost become a cliché – “the Singapore indie music scene is growing” or even “Singapore’s indie music scene is on the cusp of a new golden age”. But how true is that statement and what do we mean when we say that the scene is ‘growing’?

This weekend (July 10th – 12th) witnessed a slew of Singapore indie music events that seemed to suggest that if nothing else, the number of events being organised within the scene is increasing. But is this a result of funding from SG50 celebrations or a genuine improvement in the manner in which Singaporeans appreciate local music.

Well, let’s take the examples of two very recent album launches viz. DEON’s Oceans and The Steve McQueens’ Seamonster. Both events were sold out registering between 100 – 200 paying attendees, with good sales on CDs and merch as well. Both artists have excellent reputations with track records of performing at overseas festivals. Is this an indicator of success?

Late in June, Baybeats Festival 2015 once more delivered three days of mostly Singapore indie music, spotlighting a bunch of ‘budding’ bands that for some, meant a dream achievement. Is playing at Baybeats an indicator of success, as well?

To put things into context, I came across a poster for Baybeats 2008, which introduced 11 ‘budding’ bands to the festival. However, none of those 11 bands exist anymore, seven years later.

So is that all? Playing at Baybeats and selling out your album launch? If so, then these are mere baby steps still for our perpetually teething indie music scene.

What is the measure of true success for our indie music scene?

I have been reading about the origins of Nirvana and the Seattle music scene in the late 80s and early 90s. Before the Seattle music scene exploded with Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains etc, the city had little to shout about in that respect. But of course, once it did, first amongst its own local audiences, the Seattle music scene became world famous, with record labels rushing down to sign anyone in a flannel shirt with greasy hair and Seattle became synonymous with ‘grunge’ (a meaningless label) that branded Seattle as the place to be for at least five years. Though ‘grunge’ eventually died out, many of the first wave of aforementioned Seattle bands managed to make a mark on rock history.

And at the end of the day, shouldn’t that be the ultimate indicator of success for our indie music scene? Music that is appreciated in Singapore first, before being appreciated overseas? Music that is written about in glowing terms by the popular indie music influencers online, invited by popular indie music festivals overseas and drawing international visitors to experience Singapore indie music firsthand?

Without a mindset shift within our own borders, it would not be possible for our indie artists to make a significant impact, regionally and internationally. So the key question, once again, is how can Singapore indie artists build a quality fan base (i.e. one that is willing to spend money on the artist and not merely clicking ‘like’ on social media) that will sustain said artist for a lifetime of music making?

There are many factors but I think the critical one is a partnership between indie artists and venue owners to push out original music content to build a solid fan base for Singapore indie music. In order to do this, venue owners must forgo the narcotic of cover music and go cold turkey with originals! Aspiring indie artists must see the value of writing and playing their own songs – whether live or via online videos. Therefore, the music scene must be dominated by original music content, with cover music being in the minority. Yes I know it’s the usual chicken and egg situation but that’s the radical step that must be taken!

In other words, we must nurture a culture of creativity and artistry in our indie music scene. Without this, our indie music scene will constantly be on the verge of something great but without sustainability or continuity, the artists will lose faith and stamina and fade into the normalcy and obscurity of adulthood and our indie music scene will find itself at square one again!

Jul 122015


Being on the periphery of the Singapore music industry is at once a privileged and awkward position to occupy. At worst a ‘failed musician’ and best a ‘conscientious objector’,  I am the ‘cool uncle’ infamously derided in that pointlessly ageist Other Sounds review from years back, and the ‘influencer’ music peeps want on their side until my usefulness has run its course, and then I am kicked to the curb. But still I plod on – texting from the edge

Gin Wigmore is a 29 year old singer-songwriter hailing from New Zealand and now based in Los Angeles. Thanks to Rdio Asia (hey Elvin, Kurt & Robin!) and Universal Music Singapore (Yo! Kheng, Sarah & Danny!), I was invited to a special showcase at Rdio’s cozy office at Ann Siang Hill yesterday (Saturday, 11th July). Gin is a wiry, hyperactive, tattooed, Slayer-tee wearing singing dynamo and having her (and wonderful backing band) deliver three highly jacked acoustic songs an arm’s length away was certainly memorable (the free flow Sailor Jerry’s did not hurt either).

Not only that but Gin also needed to come forward and pull on my leg (probably cuz she felt that this old fart was not appropriately moving to the beat) – which was a cheap thrill to be added to the collection. Definitely three songs was too short but a tasty teaser of what Gin and band could deliver. Later on, she mingled (No, Gin, Food Republic is NOT representative of Singapore food!) and I got a chance to speak to some of her band members – a mixture of folks from NZ and USA – and as usual, the music provided a means to connect.

The morning after, I am reading up more about Gin, listening to her music and realising that until the exact moment I stepped into Rdio, I was quite ignorant of her and her music. And I am wondering now whether there was more that could have been done with the time spent with Gin and her band, that the Singapore music scene could benefit from. Or maybe not. But at a bare minimum to be better prepared the next time – sorry but this is not a Seinfeld episode – I need my learning points and key takeaways!

Bottomline? Gin Wigmore is an old soul – producing music that crosses genres without apology and compromise and the kind of rock ‘n’ roll that Power of Pop believes in and champions. Listen to Gin’s new album Blood to Bone and appreciate everything I am saying…

… still there’s more …

Jul 112015


Another Saturday, another Singapore album launch!

Definitely, this is going to be the big one – by now The Steve McQueens are a well-oiled machine, having plied their trade in Europe already.

SingJazz Club also provides a suitable ambience for the band’s smooth soul-jazz-pop and Ginny Bloop’s on-stage antics, so a splendid time is guaranteed is all.

Not to mention that Seamonster is a stellar combination of instrumental virtuosity and Ginny’s indomitable aural attitude, so this gig practically recommends itself.

Don’t miss this. Tickets still available at the door.

SMQS launch

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Jul 102015

DEON - Cover

Tonight! DEON launches the superb album that is Oceans at The Substation. The lovely Theodora opens at 7.30pm!

It’s the perfect way to spend a Friday night!!

Peatix Ticket Prices: $25 for entry/ $45 for Physical CD Book & entry (Original Value $50)/ $60 for Physical CD Book, Lionheart T-Shirt & entry (Original Value $70)

Tickets at the Door: $30 for entry

Connect with DEON: @deontheband

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Jul 102015

Loads happening this Saturday, 11th July is you are a local music fan. Blame it partly on SG50 funding but also on renewed interest in S-ROCK. Are you ready? Here we go!


Rilek Jack

More info



Featuring Cherie X Ferry.

Checking our the TODAY feature also.

More info



More info



More info

SMQS launch

More info



More info

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Jul 102015


“Sixty Five” is Gentle Bones’ major label debut single and is a track to be featured on the upcoming movie 1965.

In that context, it is suitably over-dramatic but contains sufficient elements familiar to fans.

Now available at

Jul 102015
Jude Young

Photo by Joel Lim

The national celebration of Singapore’s independence has brought out many diverse items, music wise. But singer-songwriter Jude Young’s “Wave of Tomorrow” and accompanying video may be the most heartfelt and straightforward thus far. The video – directed & shot by Jeremy Kieran Ng – is not fancy and lacks frills but gets the job done effectively but it is in the competent songwriting that the emotional resonance of what it means to be Singaporean in this special year is shared. No mean feat!

“Ride on this tide/We’ll fly side by side/On the waves of tomorrow/The chase starts today/With these guiding stars and/The shine from the moon so bright/So you can count on me/To keep you free
Yeah you can shout your name across the shores/Singapore”

Kudos to all involved!

Jul 082015


Joshua Radin will perform live in Singapore for the first time on 4 Sep 2015 at 8.30 p.m. at Esplanade Concert Hall. Tickets at $88, $68 & $48 will be available through from 9 July 2015 (internet booking starts at 9 a.m.)

Here’s a Power of Pop/Spotify playlist of what to expect from Joshua Radin come September. Enjoy!

Thanks to Greenhorn Productions for the heads up!

Jul 072015


Three new releases for your discovery!


Jangle pop rules with Jaill! If you dig the likes of Real Estate or Girls, you’ll fall in love with this collection of energetic melodic pop-rock tunes.


Beth Jeans Houghton has attitude in spades but with the right kind of music, she deserves to get away with it! Du Blonde is everything you’ve loved about punky glammy rock n roll and then some!


A Mali band of musicians that had to run away from the unrest in their homeland to deliver a wonderful amalgam of African ethnic music and rock ‘n’ roll – edgy and relevant.


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Jul 062015

Clean Bandit - Singapore Artwork

Secret Sounds Asia presents
Title: Clean Bandit – Live in Singapore
Venue: The Coliseum, Hard Rock Hotel Singapore, Resorts World Sentosa Date/Time: Wednesday, 25 November 2015, 8pm

Tickets: $58 Limited Early-Bird, $68 Standard, $88 Door Group package of 4 tickets $250
(+ $4 SISTIC booking fee per ticket)

Ticket Sales Launch Date: Monday 13 July 2015

Tickets available via SISTIC – Online (9am): – Tel (10am): +65 6348 5555
– In person (10am): At all authorised SISTIC agents & box offices


Jul 052015

Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 7.32.04 pm

I don’t really give a shit too much right now about the personal dynamics of Kid Wave – what their collective history or politics is and what not. Right now, all I care is that this is new music that fires my imagination and energises in a manner that so much new music is unable to do and that’s all I fucking care about.

Yeah, so the fact that NME wants so much to shag Kid Wave is alarming but going beyond that hype bullshit, there is the music that recalls the wonder of the 90s, where melodic rock of the 60s – 80s was gloriously regurgitated to grant us a shimmering amalgam of 60s psych-blues, 70s rock and 80s indie pop.

So Wonderlust – what a great album title – is yet another brick in the wall of keeping out all the mediocre pap that flood our airwaves on a daily basis as songs like “Honey”, “Baby Tiger”, “Walk On Fire”, “I’m Trying To Break Your Heart” and the title track raise the hopes of this melodic rock geek that pop salvation is upon us.

Fuck real music – this is genuine, authentic, bona fide rockin’ pop & roll!!!

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Jul 052015


Ironically, on the day the USA celebrates its independence day, I want to pay tribute to one of Canada’s finest singer-songwriters, the enigmatic Bruce Cockburn!

I first heard Cockburn when, in the early 80s, a friend – who was then studying in Winnipeg (in Canada, la!) – sent me a mixtape of Cockburn and I was seriously blown away by the man’s genius. Also, Cockburn is a Christian but had a very different perspective from your standard gospel singer (check out “Dweller by a Dark Stream” and “Gospel of Bondage”) – a perspective I have grown to appreciate more and more in recent times.

In addition, Cockburn has remained politically aware throughout his career and has never compromised his artistic integrity (listen to “Nicaragua” and “Call It Democracy”) – for these qualities I admire him greatly and count him a definite musical influence.

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Jul 042015


The Who turned 50 years old last year and their pioneering pop-rock music remains relevant no matter the year.

Formed in 1964 by Pete Townshend (guitars, vocals), Roger Daltrey (vocals), John Entwistle (bass, vocals) and Keith Moon (drums), The Who started life as a mod band but quickly outgrew that tag and have been a seminal influence on hard rock, progressive rock, heavy metal, glam, punk and alt-rock genres during their most vital years, mainly 1964 – 1978. Drummer Moon died in 1978 and The Who never recovered from that loss. Entwistle passed away in 2002 and though Townshend and Daltrey still tour and even recorded one LP together (Endless Wire), the band is understandably a pale shadow of its former self.

This playlist covers those crucial 14 years when The Who were perhaps, one of the greatest rock bands in the world. With the high resolution streaming available at Deezer Elite, most of the tracks sound amazing, resonating with the primal energy upon which the band built its legendary reputation.

Official Site

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