The Who frontman Roger Daltrey has enjoyed a spectacular career that is incredibly hard to fathom, let alone create. It’s been almost 60 years since the band first stepped onto the stage, and despite suffering immense tragedy, they are still thriving today.
Unfortunately, the premature losses of Keith Moon and John Entwistle now mean the version of The Who who play together today is only 50% of their original incarnation. Thankfully, Daltrey and Pete Townshend are fiercely fighting to keep the legacy of their fallen bandmates alive. The singer was at the forefront of the swinging sixties, and it’s an era of music that still means everything to him.
When Daltrey appeared on BBC Radio 2’s ‘Tracks Of My Years’, the frontman looked back at his life through the chasm of the ten most important songs which have soundtracked his existence. While there are a couple of surprises in Daltrey’s list, there is also a distinct lack of anything vaguely recent in his selections. However, there’s no denying he has fine taste, even if it is a vintage collection.
One of Daltrey’s choices was ‘Love Me Do’ by The Beatles, which the singer named the most integral song of the ’60s, which was the first domino that fell, and allowed everything else to happen. “You got to have this song, because when we first heard that come out from radio Luxembourg, not BBC, they wouldn’t play,” he said. “But again, the sound of ‘Love Me Do’ was the key ignition that started the swinging 60s and the whole business, the whole music industry changed.”
Adding: “They had an extraordinary sound, that harmonica, the sound of the harmonies together was so different of everything that ever that had been before.”
Daltrey also named Buddy Holly and The Crickets’ ‘That’ll Be The Day’, which he viewed as an integral part of his adolescence, and credited the song with turning him onto guitar music. “He spoke for the youth of the time, his lyrics were so simple but then so astute and considering his career, that was only like two years and an amazing amount of really, really great songs,” Daltrey explained.
Daltrey also poignantly shared his memories of his late friend, Harry Nillson, and named his track ‘Without You’, calling him “a great talent” and “a very funny guy”. Daltrey continued: “There is something about this song that really melts me. Harry was one of the best songwriters out there, the production on this record is extraordinary, such a great sound.”
Somehow, Daltrey’s most recent track was still released in 1988 and came courtesy of The Travelling Wilbury’s creation ‘End Of The Line’, which featured on the supergroup’s debut album. He commented: “I mean, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbinson, Tom Petty, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, I mean how many awards you want? And they were all smiling and laughing, just having a great time. It’s got so much joy to it, there is no ego involved in it.”
Roger Daltrey’s favourite songs:
- The Traveling Wilburys – ‘End Of The Line’
- Martha & The Vandellas – ‘Dancing In The Streets’
- The Beatles – ‘Love Me Do’
- Gary Wright – ‘Dream Weaver’
- Bee Gees – ‘To Love Somebody’
- Ike & Tina Turner – ‘Nutbush City Limits’
- The Band – ‘The Weight’
- Elvis Presley – ‘Don’t Be Cruel’
- Harry Nillson – ‘Without You’
- Buddy Holly and The Crickets – ‘That’ll Be The Day’
Stream the playlist, below.