Peter Dennis Blandford Townshend (born 19 May 1945) is an English musician, singer and songwriter. He is co-founder, leader, guitarist, secondary lead vocalist and principal songwriter of the Who, one of the most influential rock bands of the 1960s and 1970s.
Townshend has written more than 100 songs for 12 of the Who’s studio albums. These include concept albums, the rock operas Tommy and Quadrophenia, plus popular rock radio staples such as Who’s Next; as well as dozens more that appeared as non-album singles, bonus tracks on reissues, and tracks on rarities compilations such as Odds & Sods (1974). He has also written more than 100 songs that have appeared on his solo albums, as well as radio jingles and television theme songs.
As an instrumentalist, although known primarily as a guitarist, Townshend also plays keyboards, banjo, accordion, harmonica, ukulele, mandolin, violin, synthesiser, bass guitar, and drums. He is self-taught on all of these instruments. He plays on his own solo albums, several Who albums, and as a guest contributor to an array of other artists’ recordings.
Townshend has also contributed to and authored many newspaper and magazine articles, book reviews, essays, books, and scripts, and he has collaborated as a lyricist and composer for many other musical acts. Due to his aggressive playing style and innovative songwriting techniques, Townshend’s works with the Who and in other projects have earned him critical acclaim.
In 1983, Townshend received the Brit Award for Lifetime Achievement and in 1990 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Who. Townshend was ranked No. 3 in Dave Marsh‘s 1994 list of Best Guitarists in The New Book of Rock Lists. In 2001, he received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award as a member of the Who; and in 2008 he received Kennedy Center Honors. He was ranked No. 10 in Gibson.com’s 2011 list of the top 50 guitarists, and No. 10 in Rolling Stone‘s updated 2011 list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. He and Roger Daltrey received The George and Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement at UCLA on 21 May 2016.