Pete Townshend Says Leonard Bernstein Urged Him To Write More Rock Operas

As Pete Townshend makes his way towards the West Coast with his critically acclaimed Classic Quadrophenia appearances, he revealed that one of the classical world’s key players gave him the impetus to carry on writing “rock operas.” Townshend recalled meeting the late, great Leonard Bernstein, telling The Boston Herald, “He came to see he Who perform Tommy at the Fillmore (East in New York City) in 1969, and after the show he burst into the dressing room and he grabbed hold of me and looked me in the eye, this very, very handsome and charismatic man grinning from ear to ear, and he shook me and said, ‘Do you realize what you’ve done?’ He said, ‘It’s fantastic and you must do more.’ He was someone without snobbery. So his words meant a lot to me.”

Townshend, who’s now 72, went on to say, “I do wish I could do something like this with something brand-new and maybe someday that will happen. But I do have to be happy that I did some great work when I was very young and it’s hard to top it.”

  • Pete Townshend recalled to us that the work that the Who put into the 1973 Quadrophenia sessions was undercut by having to immediately tour behind it: [“The band worked very hard to produce this really, very credible record and I think we were being managed very badly at the time. So what happened was the schedule was really screwy and instead of having time to rehearse what we had done on the record and turn it into a cohesive show, our record company, which was run by our two mangers — Chris Stamp and Kit Lambert, at the time — rushed a Christmas release and put us out on tour to support that Christmas release before we’d actually rehearsed the show.”] SOUNDCUE (:33 OC: . . . rehearsed the show)


  • Pete Townshend’s ‘Classic Quadrophenia’ tour dates (subject to change):
    September 13 – Rosemont, IL – Rosemont Theatre
    September 16 – Los Angeles, CA – The Greek Theatre