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Peter Dennis Blandford Townshend (born May 19, 1945 in Chiswick, London) is an influential English rock guitarist and songwriter who is best known as the guitarist for the rock band The Who.
Born into a musical family (his father Cliff was a professional saxophonist in the The Squadronaires and his mother Betty a singer), Townshend exhibited a fascination with music at an early age. He had early exposure to American rock and roll (his mother recounts that he repeatedly saw the 1956 film Rock Around the Clock) and obtained his first guitar from his grandmother at age 12, which he described as a "Cheap Spanish thing."
In 1961 Townshend enrolled at Ealing Art College, and, a year later, he and his school friend from Acton County Grammar School John Entwistle founded their first band, The Confederates, a Dixieland duet featuring Townshend on banjo and Entwistle on horn. From this beginning they moved on to The Detours, a skiffle band fronted by then sheet-metal welder Roger Daltrey, which, under Townshend's leadership, would metamorphose into The Who. They were soon taken on by a mod publicist (named Peter Meaden) who convinced them to chan...