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Publisher's Summary

Shortlisted for: Biography/Autobiography of the Year – Specsavers National Book Awards 2012

He is one of the greatest musical talents Britain has ever produced. But even as the principle songwriter and lead guitarist for The Who, it would be unjust to define Pete Townshend’s life simply through his achievements with bandmates Daltrey, Moon, and Entwistle. Noting that he has sold over 100 million records over a 50-year period goes some way to quantifying his accomplishments, but numbers only scratch the surface of his contribution to popular culture.

An avid student of his profession, during his career he has been credited with the creation of the concept album, worked as a literary editor, developed scripts for television and the stage, and written songs that have defined a generation. The thinking man’s rock star with a dedication to his craft unlike any other in the business, he continues to inspire new generations of performers and writers with a continuing commitment to his art.

Now, in one of the most eagerly awaited autobiographies of recent times, this icon tells about his incredible life and elaborates on the turbulences of time spent as one of the world’s most respected musicians - being in one of rock’s greatest ever bands, and wanting to give it all up. Incredibly, as a man who has achieved so much, this truly unique story of ambition, relentless perfectionism, and rock 'n' roll excess will be regarded as one of his greatest achievements.

©2012 Pete Townshend (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

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What listeners say about Pete Townshend: Who I Am

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An Intense Ride As Much A Story

Mr Townsend reads with many an ironic chuckle, a warming habit that gives a well written tome about a life so convoluted in depth, historic creation and personal torture and redemption the touch of human candour that underlines nicely the courageous and often unflattering revelation that gives this book, and it's audio rendering its depth and grip.

It's a significant and thorough examination of the life, and more relevantly, the mind and its machinations of one of the great creators and musicians to lead and emerge from the 60's Renaissance in pop music.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Won
  • 01-05-2018

Simply brilliant autobiography

with Pete narrating his own story and the humour that comes through the narration this is simply put, the best book in my list. he is honest and open about the events in his life and gives detailed insights into the Who and other works that he has composed. this book is hard to put down. if you like autobiographies, if you like the Who (even if you have a passing interest in the band) I STRONGLY recommend this book to you.

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  • Peter
  • 26-08-2013

Townshend is a fun guy to listen to.

Would you listen to Pete Townshend: Who I Am again? Why?

He tells his own story with humor and self-deprecation.I don't know if he is likely to read other books.

What other book might you compare Pete Townshend: Who I Am to and why?

Life, by Keith Richards.

Have you listened to any of Pete Townshend’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No

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  • Pascal Forneri
  • 03-12-2012

Who...oping

What did you love best about Pete Townshend: Who I Am?

Great ! My first audiobook ! Essential for understanding the origins of rock, told from a master crafter.

What does Pete Townshend bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

It's an autobio !

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • sarah
  • 13-04-2013

pete townshend who am i

A captivating book on stardom and struggles of The Who. Being read by Pete you can really feel and hear that it is an all truthful account. Great stuff.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr JW
  • 15-01-2013

Not what I expected but really good.

Having been a Who fan for years I thought I knew all there was to know about Pete. This book was riveting and was written in such an introspective way that you got a real picture of Pete and his life. Really graphical in all areas, both personal and public and shows what an artistic genius Pete is. Highlights for me were numerous but understanding how Tommy was created and how he continued to tackle his inner demons were particularly poingnant. Not all rock'n roll but a complete reflection of his life to datel. Really enjoyed this book and how Pete narrated it. Nice to hear to author laughing to himself recounting an early part of his like.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Norma Miles
  • 12-04-2020

I could have made a go of it.

The Who, for almost half a century together with The Rolling Stones, ha best one of the greatest rock groups in the world. And Pete Townshend, guitarist and songwriter, one of the four very charismatic and individualistic original group members, still surviving with singer Roger Daltrey to this day. What people they must have met, experiences enjoyed, anecdotes to tell ... Pity his book doesn't bother with any of that. Instead, this is an introspective, totally self obsessed, angst ridden and very long, boring recital of Pete's attempt to rewrite his life over and over (and over and over), and in the telling comes over as obsessive, immature and insensitive. Although his story is told in linear fashion even here he writing is, at times, disjointed, the subject matter changing at the end of a sentence. Hard to believe that Pete, for a while, worked for Faber, the publishers. Or has the book been so heavily editted to reduce it from truly ponderous length without anyone bothering to repair he damage? To compound the problem, Peter decided to narrate the book himself.. Usually a good idea for an autobiography where the writer's voice is well known, in this case it was disastrous. His reading was monotonous, some odd phrasing making the whole uncomfortable after a while, but it was the insertion of uncomfortable little snickers and titters which pepper the monologue which were really depressing. An experienced life actor might have been able to inject sufficient enthusiasm into the reading to minimalist boredom. I hate to be so critical as I have been a Who fan since the '60's, and even knew the Townshends slightly for a number of years. I don't recognize the broken character here presented, one who seems determined to express in detail every woman he ever lustedafter, but, if all references are collected up and put ogeher, devotes only about one page in total to his wife (of a quarter of a century) Karen and his two daughters - excluding the acknowledgments, where both girls his son Joseph, get a sentence or two each whilst Karen is excluded altogether (despite mentions of his mother, his father, both his brothers, Karen's mother and father, his new partner Rachel and seven dogs). This s a very disappointing book, suitable only to early fans of Townshend's obsessive rehashing of Tommy and Lifehouse, with a bit of Quadrophenia and Iron Man thrown in. Who I Am, is long, tedious and does little to illuminate either the man, Pete Townshend, or his relationships with the fabulous people with whom he has been connected. Such a pity. Don't bother

3 people found this helpful

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  • Nicky Ramone
  • 16-11-2019

Kept me engrossed more than I expected

I love the Who’s music and have done since about 12 yesrs old, but have not bought all their records as I have with the Ramones and Edwyn Collins. I hoped for a lot of insight into how the hits were recorded, how the songs came together, in-fighting in the band etc. and I realised early on, after their first few records were released in this book’s timeline that I wasn’t going to get much of that. But I was already hooked on the real story of Pete Townshend’s life and what he thinks about. His narration is really endearing, and his many chuckles over some of the incidents and opinions could not have been replicated by a different reader and they provoked many a smile or chuckle in me too. I have not heard any of his more recent output and he has been quite cunning in that this book has made me want to buy some of his newer CDs.... very clever! I only gave four stars just to be mean, because I would’ve liked to have had a little more about how the songs came together, how much of the bass riffs, drum fills and vocal quirks were written by Pete in the demos and what was contributed by Keith, John and Roger, but maybe that book has already been written and from my remote location I am unaware of it. I found this book rivetting and listened to the whole book in less than a week.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Trax UK
  • 12-02-2019

Uncomfortable listen

An autobiography based on excess, addiction, groupies, lack of willpower, forgiving women and latent homosexuality all dressed up as ‘art’. I listened through 75% of it but could take no more depression. Sorry Pete, your Who music was great but your lifestyle’s scary.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Hurtlejolt
  • 28-09-2014

Better Than I Expected

What did you like most about Pete Townshend: Who I Am?

The sheer honesty of Pete Townsend's writing, and the attention to detail.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I was touched by Pete's honesty.

Any additional comments?

As a life long Who fan (and the singer in a Who tribute band, for a while), I was of course fascinated by all the stories of the band and of the individual band members.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr
  • 07-04-2013

a good read

An enjoyable read which takes you from childhood to the present day with all stops in between. It makes you realise that the who have been around for years - not quite as long as the stones though.



Having read this I have now moved on to Kieth Moon.



This book will give you that little look through the window at the rock and roll lifestyle I would say though that these sorts of things are sanitised for the public at large. The good thing is that you can listen on the move so you are not tied down to listening in one place.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jonathan
  • 20-11-2012

Pete tells you his life story

This is one of the best audio books I have ever 'read'.

Pete Townshend is a brilliant, complex, controversial, funny, self-obsessed workaholic. But above all he is honest. Hearing him talk about his own life, his loves, his obsessions, and his fears, along with the occasional chuckle and silly voice gives an experience you simply couldn't get from print

I saw the tall, skinny guitarist of The Who smash his (already damaged) guitar and knock over his amplifiers in what looked like anger and frustration at the end of a gig in November, 1967. For me, at 14, it was exhilarating and scary, but I didn't know why. Now I know how Pete was feeling.

Truly a five-star listen. And it took Pete 17 years to write!

2 people found this helpful

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  • R. facer
  • 25-08-2020

Engaging & entertaining, not the angry at all

From the start a thoroughly entertaining audio book read by the author. Always thought Pete townsend to be an angry arrogant man but he's far from it. Complex man yes but very human and very humble.. And a very talented person for sure

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  • Stephen
  • 05-04-2020

great to hear an autobiography read by the author

should be read in conjunction with the Roger Daltrey autobiography. many facets to Pete Townshend

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