Behind Blue Eyes: The Life of Pete Townshend

Geoffrey Giuliano, Author Dutton Books $24.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-525-94052-4
The man who became a voice of the young when he penned such 1960s anthems as ""My Generation"" and ""I Can't Explain"" has grown from a guitar-bashing rebel to a revered inductee (as a member of The Who) in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In this spirited chronicle, veteran rock biographer Giuliano (Dark Horse: The Private Life of George Harrison, etc.) captures nearly everything in between, the excesses as well as the successes. Townshend's tumultuous life has gone through several incarnations. Giuliano adequately documents the musician's struggles to continue to break new creative ground after the public embraced Tommy, his conflicts with his bandmates and, of course, his highly publicized substance-abuse problems. But Giuliano also peels away the layers of Townshend's public persona to find a complex, passionate man who is full of contradictions. Although Townshend has been married to the same woman most of his adult life, he has carried on numerous affairs with both men and women; in the 1970s, he followed the teachings of spiritual leader Meher Baba, which required him to abstain from alcohol and drugs, but he continued to struggle with his addictions. In tracing Townshend's later years, Giuliano, who's known the rock star for nearly 20 years, reveals that his subject hasn't lost his bite: ""You know what happens to the likes of Bowie, Jagger, and me?"" asks Townshend. ""Our teenage kids turn around and say, `You look like mutton dressed as lamb. How can I possibly have my friends around?' "" The kid's still all right, and so is this penetrating look at his life. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/04/1996
Release date: 11/01/1996
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 340 pages - 978-0-452-27562-1
Paperback - 392 pages - 978-0-8154-1070-6
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