The Who’s “My Generation” with its famous Roger Daltrey-stuttered lyric “Hope I die be-f-f-fore I get old” was written, of course, by Pete Townshend. The now venerable rock rebel Townshend, when he’s not being honored at the Kennedy Center and other places where they don’t honor the young, still rocks. Today is remarkably Pete Townshend’s 70th birthday.
“My Generation” came out in the fall of 1965 — almost 50 years ago — when Townshend was just 20 and entitled to his live fast, die young view. The song became just what it set out to become, an anthem for a generation in such a hurry for change it could barely get the words out. Daltrey’s stuttering of Townshend’s lyric signified the radical pent-up energy of Sixties youth as well as any other artistic statement. Townshend has given the world some extraordinary music, turning from angst to brighter themes as age taught him other lessons. (Not that he lost edge: Townshend marks his 70th with a release of the politically charged “Guantanomo.”) Below is a beauty from 1980. Happy Birthday, Pete!