Roger Daltrey Biography

Actor, Singer, Producer, Theater Actor, Television Actor, Film Actor, Guitarist (1944–)
Roger Daltrey is a rock musician and singer who’s the former lead vocalist of The Who. He’s also a film and TV actor.


Roger Daltrey was born on March 1, 1944 in London, England and co-found the iconic ‘60s rock band The Who, serving as lead vocalist. He performed as part of the group’s rock opera Tommy before embarking on a solo career with his 1973 self-titled debut album and follow-ups Ride a Rock Horse and One of the Boys. He’s also acted in film projects, including Legacy, Lisztomania, McVicar and Like It Is.

Early Life

Roger Daltrey was born on March 1, 1944, in London, England. As the lead singer of the Who, Daltrey has delighted and surprised rock music fans with his powerful and versatile voice for more than four decades. He grew up in a working-class neighborhood in London and attended school with future bandmates Pete Townshend and John Entwistle.

After finishing his schooling, Daltrey got a job as a steel worker and played in a band called the Detours. He got Entwistle to join the group as its bassist in 1961 and Townshend later became the group's guitarist. After a few name changes and with the addition of Keith Moon on drums, the group found success as the Who. They scored their first UK Top 10 single in 1965 with "I Can't Explain," and made their debut on the American charts in 1967 with "Happy Jack."

The Who's Success

As the Who's lead singer, Daltrey has brought many of Townshend's deftly crafted songs to life. He has shown great range as a performer, tackling rock anthems such as “My Generation” and more contemplative ballads such as "Behind Blue Eyes." Daltrey once explained his singing style to Rolling Stone magazine. "It's a very strange process. That's why I shut my eyes when I sing—I'm in another space, and the characters are living in me."

One of the band's biggest successes was the rock opera Tommy (1969), which tells the story of a boy who is deaf, blind, and mute. Through the songs on the recording, he evolves from an expert at pinball ("Pinball Wizard") to a messianic figure who regains his sight, hearing, and ability to speak ("I'm Free"). Daltrey went on to play this character in the 1975 film version of the opera.

Acting and Solo Releases

The following year, Daltrey played the lead character in the Franz Liszt biographical film, Lisztmania. He continued to seek out acting opportunities, starring in and producing McVicar (1981) about the famed bank robber. Daltrey also worked on the soundtrack, contributing the hit "Free Me." Later films include Lightning Jack (1994), Like It Is (1998) and Best (2001).

Over the years, Daltrey has also released several solo albums. His first album, 1973's Daltrey, featured such hit songs as "The Show Must Go On." Subsequent efforts, Ride a Rock Horse (1975) and One of the Boys (1977), failed to attract as much notice as his debut solo album. One of his later recordings, Under a Raging Moon (1985), was a modest success, featuring such hits as "After the Fire," which was written by Townshend.

For his work, Daltrey has received numerous awards. He and the rest of the Who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. In 2005, Daltrey received a honor from Queen Elizabeth II. He was named Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his charitable efforts.

Recent Work

Now more than 60 years old, Daltrey shows no signs of slowing down. He served as a producer for the 2007 television documentary Amazing Journey: The Story of the Who. In 2008, the Who was the focus of a special tribute concert, which later aired on television as VH1 Rock Honors: The Who. Daltrey and Townshend, along with their supporting musicians, performed that night, proving to the crowd that they still know how to rock.

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