To 'f-f-f-ade way?’

The blues influence in Pete Townshend’s search for an authentic voice in ‘My Generation’


  • Kathryn Hill Sydney University



country blues, English rhythm & blues, Pete Townshend, stuttering in popular music


When writing singles for the Who in the mid-1960s how did songwriter Pete Townshend take from the history of popular music, specifically American blues and R&B, to create a uniquely English synthesis of urban pop blues? This subject is discussed in relation to Pete Townshend’s stuttering song ‘My Generation’ (1965) looking specifically at what factors influenced the song’s ‘authentic’ Mod ‘voice’: firstly, in what ways is this song a response to the search for an ‘authentic’ blues voice in the English rhythm and blues scene of the mid-1960s? And secondly what influence did the blues and folk revival led by the writers Samuel Charters and Paul Oliver, specifically their interpretation of the voice in the country blues, play in shaping Townshend’s interpretation of authenticity?

Author Biography

Kathryn Hill, Sydney University

Kathryn Hill is an independent scholar. She was a lecturer in twentieth-century music history at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, 1992–2004. She submitted a PhD thesis at the University of Sydney (Australia) in 2008 on the use of popular music on American television, using Buffy the Vampire Slayer as a case study. Her interests include feminism and popular music of the 1960s.


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How to Cite

Hill, K. (2015). To ’f-f-f-ade way?’: The blues influence in Pete Townshend’s search for an authentic voice in ‘My Generation’. Popular Music History, 9(2), 111–135.