A Band with Built-In Hate

The Who from Pop Art to Punk

Peter Stanfield

A Band with Built-In Hate

Peter Stanfield

Distributed for Reaktion Books

280 pages | 40 halftones | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Cloth $22.50 ISBN: 9781789142778 Will Publish May 2021 For sale in North and South America only
“The best book on The Who. Stanfield understands that they were built entirely around opposition—they didn't want to be The Beatles or The Stones; they didn't even want to be The Who most of the time. He smartly states the case for peak Who as transgressive . . . the closest thing to Pop art British music has ever produced.”—Bob Stanley, author of Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop
 
“With impressive eloquence, A Band with Built-In Hate situates '60s Britain's most volatile and incendiary group at the heart of pop's wild vortex. . . . Stanfield digs brilliantly into The Who's transgressions, their up-ending of pop music into art-rock and proto-punk. He can see for miles.”—Barney Hoskyns, author of Major Dudes: A Steely Dan Companion and creator of Rock's Backpages

“Ours is music with built-in hatred.”—Pete Townshend, cofounder of the Who
 
This book is a biography of the Who unlike any other. From their inception as the Detours in the mid-sixties, to the late seventies, post-Quadrophenia, the Who are pictured through the prism of pop art and the radical leveling of high and low culture that it brought about—a drama that was consciously and aggressively performed by the band. Peter Stanfield lays down a path through the British pop revolution, its attitude and style, as it was uniquely embodied by the band: first, under the mentorship of arch-mod Peter Meaden, as they learned their trade in the pubs and halls of suburban London; and then with Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp, two aspiring filmmakers, at the very center of things in Soho. Guided by the concerns of contemporary commentators—among them George Melly, Lawrence Alloway, and, most conspicuously, Nik Cohn—Stanfield tells the story of a band driven by fury, and of what happened when Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, Keith Moon, and John Entwistle moved from backroom stages to international arenas, from explosive 45s to expansive concept albums. Above all, he tells of how the Who confronted their lost youth as it was echoed in punk.
Review Quotes
Library Journal
“Stanfield uncovers the underpinnings of the Who. . . . He has masterfully identified the mod, pop art, and art rock stages of the Who’s career for rock fans and general readers alike.”
Daily Mail
"If Roger Daltry's 2018 autobiography was a prosaic foot soldier's telling of the Who story, here is a view from the high plains. . . . The best parts of the book mirror the best of the Who, fizzing with ideas and connections. . . . This book vividly reanimates the nasty, transgressive, scene-shaping thrill of their beginnings."
The Irish Times
"Eloquently framing their success as the only successful 1960s UK pop/rock group that didn't want to be either the Beatles or the Rolling Stones, Stanfield locates the Who (and crucially their peak years, during which they were, he writes 'not copyists but innovators') at a boundary-breaking intersection of pop and art-rock."
Just Backdated blog
"[The book] brings together some significant criticism of the Who, connecting them with all manner of cultural references, and is a valuable addition to my ever-expanding Who library. That the Who continue to be so well-served by knowledgeable authors is a tribute to their importance."
Bob Stanley, founding member of St Etienne and author of "Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop"
"The best book on the Who. Stanfield understands that they were built entirely around opposition—they didn’t want to be the Beatles or the Stones; they didn’t even want to be the Who most of the time. He smartly states the case for peak Who as transgressive, how their clashing obsessions with primitive rock’n’roll and sociological statements made them so exciting. He also wisely concentrates on their peak years, before pop solidified as rock, when the Who were the closest thing to pop art British music has ever produced."
Barney Hoskyns, author of "Lowside of the Road: A Life of Tom Waits" and "Major Dudes: A Steely Dan Companion"
"With impressive eloquence, A Band with Built-in Hate situates '60s Britain's most volatile and incendiary group at the heart of pop's wild vortex, its sonic assaults on the class system and the cultural status quo. Stanfield digs brilliantly into the Who's transgressions, their upending of entertainment, their transmuting of pop music into art-rock and proto-punk. He can see for miles."
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