Pete, We Can Hear You

Who's afraid of getting old? With a Tony for Tommy and a terrific new album, Pete Townshend is in his prime.

By the time he was 24, Pete Townshend, the guitar-spinning auteur of the ! seminal 1960s rock group the Who, had secured a permanent place in the annals of pop culture. His song My Generation, with its juvenescent proclamation, "Hope I die before I get old," had become the anthem of the Woodstock era. And his "rock opera" Tommy, about an abused child who liberates himself by becoming a pinball wizard, had been adopted as the definitive parable of its time by every would-be rock rebel with a cause.

Fast-forward more than two decades. Townshend, his hairline receding and his temples...

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