Taylor Swift and Pete Townshend
by Regis Boff
Taylor Swift is very well known for her talent for savaging boyfriends who cross her. She must be a very dangerous date. By comparison if you crossed Pete Townshend it was time to renew your passport and run.
Few people knew why Pete wrote any particular song unless he spoke about it. He was a great deal more than simply quiet on this subject. He knew how important this speculation about his music was and understood that it came with the territory of loving his music. At least one of his personal triumphs was his modesty.
Like everyone around The Who I prized listening when people, particularly Bill and Jackie Curbishley, their long time managers, talked about situations that gave emergence to particular songs.
I listened to his music long before I knew him. For certain back then in college, I wouldn’t have been able to name them individually. It just wasn’t something I was concerned with and I don’t think this was at all uncommon. They were simply The Who.
The only song I felt connected with, (however tangentially) was called “ Did you steal my money.” Ever so often cash would be distributed directly to the band. This was done for two reasons. It was a clever combination of Bill Curbishley’s managerial flair and my occasional need to unload hard cash because I was having trouble carrying it around.
These distributions were not small. I would simply hand it to them in their rooms all rubber banded in a manila envelope. I made them count it and sign for it and that was that.
The band completely adored this. In my experience nobody dislikes cash except the guy who has too much of somebody else’s to carry.
The morning after one such distribution Pete came to me asking if I had given him a load of money. He was disappointed when I told him I had. Someone had robbed him in the night. I am sure this song found the guy.