An in-depth overview of the history of the Who, one of the most popular and influential rock groups of all time. Using both common and rare recordings and video clips, the course will trace their artistic evolution from the dawn of their career in the mid-1960s, emphasizing their peak achievements in the 1960s and 1970s. The development of the numerous styles they pioneered and mastered will be explored in detail, from the British mod rock they established themselves with at their outset through their rock operas Tommy and Quadrophenia. The Who were among the most flamboyant performers in rock history, and the course will also examine their explosive onstage antics, close identification with the 1960s British mod movement, and innovations as virtuosic instrumentalists and spokesmen for rock as it took a more intellectual and ambitiously conceptual form.
Richie Unterberger is the author of nearly a dozen music history books, including volumes on the Who and the Velvet Underground, as well as a two-part history of 1960s folkrock. His book The Unreleased Beatles: Music and Film won a 2007 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research. He received his B.A. in English from the University of Pennsylvania, and has taught courses on the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, 1960s folk-rock, the history of rock from 1955-1980, and San Francisco rock. He gives regular presentations on rock, soul, and folk history throughout the Bay Area incorporating rare vintage film clips and audio recordings, at public libraries and other venues. In 2014, he was one of seven recipients of grants to conduct research at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of its Gladys Krieble Delmas Visiting Scholar Program.