Roger Daltrey is the lead singer of the rock group The Who.
The iconic 1960s band played a starring role in music history as part of an era that pop culture designates as “The British Invasion.”
Artists, experts, and sages within and without the music industry consider The Who to be one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century, both for having brought a number of innovations to the rock music world and for having racked up sales of over 100 million records worldwide.
Daltrey was, and still remains, the prototypical rock front man, a consummate showman who perfected the lasso swing of the microphone accompanied by the boldly executed strut.
Counted among its rock music accomplishments is the addition of a number of enduring classic tunes to the pop culture catalogue, including “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” “I Can See For Miles,” and “My Generation,” and the popularization of the “rock opera” in its musical theater pieces “Tommy” and “Quadrophenia.”
The song that initially propelled The Who to musical fame was “My Generation.” On Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, it clocked in at number eleven.
During an interview on Zane Lowe’s Apple Music 1 podcast, Daltrey did some thinking out loud about his generation and the creative freedom that was enjoyed during the 1960s. He remarked that the “woke generation” is creating a “miserable world” that suppresses the kind of free expression he and his band mates experienced in their heyday.
“It’s terrifying, the miserable world they’re going to create for themselves. I mean, anyone who’s lived a life and you see what they’re doing, you just know that it’s a route to nowhere,” Daltrey said.
He spoke of the blessings that he experienced by having lived in a “golden era” when freedom of speech was encouraged rather than stifled.
Daltrey and the band used creative artistic freedom to establish a brand that combined rock music with modern performance art. Members ended their concerts in dramatic fashion by destroying their own instruments right on the stage. For better or for worse, depending on your pop culture perspective, copycats followed.
With all the fame and fortune he has achieved, Daltrey appears to be solidly grounded, genuinely grateful, and amazingly humble, commenting that “… when you’ve lived through the periods of a life that we’ve had the privilege to. I mean, we’ve had the golden era. There’s no doubt about that.”
The rocker pointed out the shortcomings of today’s social media and its effect on the integrity of information.
“It’s just getting harder to disseminate the truth. It’s almost like, now we should turn the whole thing off. Go back to newsprint, go back to word of mouth and start to read books again. It’s becoming so absurd now with AI, all the tricks it can do, and the ‘woke’ generation,” he opined.
Unflinchingly, he also took on the system that seems to have recently become much more acceptable in Western nations than it has ever been in the past – communism.
“… We came out of a war, we came out of a leveled society, completely flattened bomb sites and everything. And we’ve been through socialist governments. We’ve seen the communist system fail in the Soviet Union. I’ve been in those communist countries while they were communist,” Daltrey explained.
With a dose of sarcasm tacked onto his remark, Daltrey talked about the tragic results of communist regimes, saying, “I’ve seen how ‘wonderful’… really? it was.”
His message to the “woke” is that socialism and communism are far less than “wonderful” for the lives of those who are subject to such systems.
It comes as no great surprise that Daltrey handily plays the role of verbal pugilist. As a younger man he was known to engage a time or two in brawls of the physical kind.
Like his band mates, he grew up in a tough British working class neighborhood. He was once fired from The Who for punching out Keith Moon over the drummer’s substance abuse. However, the band reconciled with their irreplaceable front man rather quickly.
In a later additional “Rocky”-style encounter, Daltrey knocked out his legendary guitarist Pete Townsend during a physical altercation the two had.
On the political front, in the past he was a supporter of the British Labour Party but became disillusioned with the party’s mass immigration policies under the Tony Blair government.
In 2018, he telegraphed his sensitization to socialist policies when he referred to the Labour leader at the time, Jeremy Corbyn, as a “communist.”
He also supported the Brexit movement, writing the following in the UK Mirror:
“Whatever happens our country should never fear the consequences of leaving. We went into the Common Market in 1973. Do you know what was going on before we went in? It was the 1960s. The most exciting time ever – Britain was Swinging. Films, Theatre, Fashion, Art and Music… Britain was the centre of the world. You got that because Britain was doing its own thing. It was independent. Not sure we’ll ever get that again when we’re ruled by bureaucrats in the European Union.”
It takes someone like Daltrey who, along with the courage, has the career clout as a rock icon to express himself in a manner that risks cancellation by the very folks he is criticizing.
As for The Who, after releasing 11 studio albums the group unveiled yet another one in December of 2019, fittingly called “WHO.”