Yes, it is true. He played on their debut single, “I Can’t Explain/Bald Headed Woman”. The single was produced by Shel Talmy. He was famous for barring bands from playing on their own records, and for using session players to get the job done instead. The Kinks (the first British hit band he produced) had to put up with that for quite some time.
When The Who went into the studio to record their first single, they found themselves outnumbered by session men. These included a trio of singers named The Ivy League, and a young (but already legendary) Jimmy Page. Talmy used him in all his sessions whenever possible.
Page was supposed to play the lead both on “I Can’t Explain” and “Bald Headed Woman”. However, in order to play the “I Can’t Explain” riff a twelve-string Rickenbacker was needed. Page didn’t have one. Townshend did. And he would have lost an arm before lending it to Page. So The Who’s frontman was the one who played the lead, while Page strummed along. Continue reading