Nearly 13-minutes of a tape featuring 14-year-old Roger Daltrey entertaining his friends has been unearthed. Tim Bailey, the son of one of Daltrey’s friends who recorded the performance on a homemade reel-to-reel recorder, has taken his father’s edit of the nearly hour-long tape and posted it on TheWho.com message board and YouTube. The original tapes were donated to the British Sound Library around 2015 and the webmasters on the Who’s official site have passed the audio on to Daltrey.
Among the tunes played by the pubescent Daltrey — who’s called by his nickname “Perce” — on acoustic guitar in his friend’s bedroom in Heston, England are the Platters‘ “The Great Pretender,” the Everly Brothers‘ “Bird Dog,” and “All I Have To Do Is Dream,” Buddy Holly‘s “Think It Over,” the Teddy Bears‘ “To Know Him Is To Love Him,” and Conway Twittty‘s “It’s Only Make Believe.”
Roger Daltrey told us that the Who growing up in the shadow and rubble of bomb cratered England after World War II essentially made them into the band they became: “It gave us incredible opportunities because it was a blank canvas to paint on. Y’know, a lot of people have said to me, ‘And you were all very poor’ — and I say, ‘No, actually, we weren’t very poor, we were incredibly wealthy! We didn’t have much money, but that’s got (laughs) nothing to do with. . . ‘ Y’know, everybody just equates that with poverty now. The community becomes stronger through the war and imagination, and there’s something about need and not easy accessible excess (laughs) — which is what we’re in today — (that) makes you very creative. And that’s what we did.”