After the loss of Keith Moon, The Who decided to take the one gamble that was left and carry on the best way they could, in loving memory of Keith and in loving memory of all the ideals they had stood for. Was “the best way” recruiting former Faces compadre Kenny Jones? That is debatable ad infinitum, of course. On the one hand, Jones was a strict time keeper. He was the polar opposite of Keith, and that was one of the reasons he was chosen as his successor, actually. Pete declined Ginger Baker’s offer to be their new drummer if only because he was as troublesome a character as Moon. Also, John relished having the chance to have a less frantic drummer setting the beat for a change. They first had worked with Kenny during the Tommy soundtrack, and they had gotten along with him well professionally. And they had known him on a personal level for much longer, obviously.
The one person that definitely opposed to Kenny’s addition as a full-time member of the band was Roger. He was keener on rotating drummers until arriving at the suitable one. Pete claimed that such a thing would turn everything into “a pilgrimage to find Keith”, and that is why Kenny was eventually instated as their new (and definitive) drummer.
Besides, John “Rabbit” Bundrick was added onstage and Roger started playing guitar in some numbers, something he had not done since their very early days as The Detours. The new approach worked quite well onstage to begin with. That is not saying a lot – their last tours with Keith has been an uphill struggle for virtually everybody, and having someone as concise as Kenny behind the kit only made them gain further focus and economy. Unfortunately, 11 fans were killed at Cincinnati and this reenergized period came to a sudden end. Cincinnati was a terrible tragedy, and it was all the more devastating because it happened to a band like The Who – a band whose essence was the connection with its fans.
The first album by this new lineup was to be overseen by Bill Szymczyk, the producer made popular by his work with the Eagles. The album was to be named Face Dances, and it was to yield their final top ten hit: “You Better You Bet”. They even played it on Top Of The Pops, the first time they were on the show after they had been banned for the smash-up performance of “5.15” in the early 70s.
(Continue To Part 2)