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225 × 150 × 30 mm
280 pages
40 illustrations
15 Mar 2021

A Band with Built-In Hate The Who from Pop Art to Punk Peter Stanfield

‘Ours is music with built-in hatred.’ Pete Townshend

A Band with Built-In Hate pictures The Who from their inception as the Detours in the mid-sixties to the late seventies, post-Quadrophenia. It is a story of ambition and anger, glamour and grime, viewed through the prism of pop art and the radical levelling of high and low culture that it brought about – a drama that was 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 Who: first, under the mentorship of arch-mod Peter Meaden, as they learnt their trade in the pubs and halls of suburban London; and then with Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp, two aspiring filmmakers, at the very centre of things in Soho. Guided by contemporary commentators – among them George Melly, Lawrence Alloway and most conspicuously Nik Cohn – Stanfield describes a band driven by belligerence, and of what happened when Townshend, Daltrey, Moon and Entwistle moved from back-room 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.

‘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.’ — Tony Clayton-Lea, Irish Times

‘There’s some very perceptive writing on the influence the Who had on the wider scene . . . essential reading for anyone who’s ever loved the Who, or wants an insight into the Sixties’ music scene that goes beyond greatest hits compilations and easy generalisations.’ — Louder Than War

‘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.’ — Mail on Sunday

‘Stanfield has masterfully identified the mod, pop art, and art rock stages of the Who’s career for rock fans and general readers alike.’ — Library Journal

A Band With Built-In Hate: The Who From Pop Art To Punk is an easy but by no means breezy read, well researched and notated, and illustrated throughout in black and white. It 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.’ — Chris Charlesworth, Just Backdated

A Band With Built-in Hate reaffirms the Who's importance to the rock and pop revolutions of the sixties and seventies’ — Choice magazine, UK

‘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 up-ending of entertainment, their transmuting of pop music into art-rock and proto-punk. He can see for miles.’ — Barney Hoskyns, author of Lowside of the Road: A Life of Tom Waits and Major Dudes: A Steely Dan Companion

‘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.’ — Bob Stanley, founding member of St Etienne and author of Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop

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Peter Stanfield’s books include Maximum Movies: Pulp Fictions and Hoodlum Movies. Music is integral to his work, be it the blue yodel of a singing cowboy or the chug ‘n’ churn of a biker soundtrack.

Introduction: Nik Cohn Said
1 Attitude and Style: Folk Devils at the Railway Hotel, Harrow
2 The Who Play Pop Art
3 The Real Pop Art Nitty Gritty at Last, in Fact; or, Well-paid Murder
4 Rock ’n’ Roll Will Stand
5 Tommy: The Poperatic
6 Seeking the Definitive Hard-Rock Holocaust; or, The New Golden Oldies
Conclusion: Don’t Look Over Your Shoulder

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Photo Acknowledgements