The Time Paul McCartney Called Pete Townshend ‘a Poof’ on Stage

by Jeremy Spirogis
The Time Paul McCartney Called Pete Townshend ‘a Poof’ on Stage

Keeping a rock band collectively is difficult. Anytime you learn in regards to the clashes of The Who or the dissolution of The Beatles, you possibly can’t deny that. But getting well-known musicians collectively for a profit present is perhaps virtually as onerous.

George Harrison realized that whereas organizing the Concert for Bangladesh in 1971. In the tip, neither John Lennon nor Paul McCartney performed the reveals. But the live performance ended up being an enormous success regardless of their absence.

Later within the decade, McCartney discovered himself in an analogous place when he put collectively the Concert for Kampuchea (1979). While he obtained The Clash, The Who, and The Pretenders to carry out over two nights, McCartney determined to place his all-star Rockestra band on the invoice as nicely.

That meant coping with Pete Townshend throughout his peak ingesting years. When Townshend confirmed up piss-drunk on the second night time and refused to decorate like the remainder of the Rockestra, McCartney referred to as him “a poof” in entrance of the viewers.

McCartney could have grown uninterested in Townshend’s antics

Paul McCartney and Pete Townshend of The Who joke through the Concerts for Kampuchea, 29 December 1979. | Mike Lawn/Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

In Who Are You: The Life of Pete Townshend, writer Mark Wilkerson describes the state of his ebook’s topic these nights in December ’79. On the primary night of performances, Townshend and The Who (minus the late Keith Moon) performed a protracted set.

Wilkerson notes that Townshend was “clearly drunk” and delivered “often out-of-tune guitar work” at that present. At occasions, Townshend didn’t play in any respect, preferring to fill the areas within the music with “embarrassing dancing.” Worse, he belittled the nation benefiting from the live performance at one level.

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“Aren’t you glad you were born in London and not in poxy Kampuchea?” Townshend requested the group. The following day, Townshend obtained the Rockestra rehearsal time improper and went ingesting when he discovered nobody on the venue.

By the time he made it again, Townshend was hammered. At 1:30 within the video posted above, you see the Who guitarist method McCartney (at that time, singing “Lucille”). After standing instantly behind him for just a few seconds, Townshend offers him a demonic, mocking look.

At the shut of the next monitor (“Let It Be”), Townshend cranks out a guitar flourish (at 7:20) that will get McCartney’s consideration. “Thank you, Peter,” he says. And, after stating how everybody wore silver fits besides Townshend, McCartney stated Townshend declined “’cause he’s a poof.”

No one reacted strongly in any respect to McCartney’s word-choice

1979: Paul McCartney and an all-star band (together with Pete Townshend) play a profit live performance for Kampuchea in 1979. | Evening Standard/Getty Images

Clearly, the times of the Concert for Kampuchea had been of a special time. Townshend’s tasteless remark in regards to the nation was one factor ; McCartney’s equally tasteless selection of phrases was one other. And the second recalled a Lennon interview from the beginning of the last decade.

When requested about Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, Lennon tore into Jagger for copying The Beatles and what he described as Jagger’s “f*g dancing.” Indeed, it was an period when these varieties of references had been frequent within the mainstream.

In the 21st century, you’ll nonetheless hear that kind of factor in rap music, however the mainstream rock and pop scene has modified. Certainly, you possibly can wager you’d by no means hear McCartney use any such phrases nowadays. But in 1979 nobody actually batted an eye fixed.

Also see: Why The Beatles Knocked George Harrison’s Guitar Solo Off ‘Mr Moonlight’

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