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One of classic rock’s biggest stars says managers stole money from the band’s record sales

One of classic rock’s biggest stars says managers stole money from the band’s record sales

The Who is one of the most influential rock bands in history, having reportedly sold over 43 million albums during their long career.

But according to Pete Townshend, the group’s principal songwriter and guitarist, very little money from the sales ended up in his pockets or those of his bandmates.

“The Who never made any money on f—ing records anyway,” Townshend told NME in a recent interview. “Our managers were criminals. … There are black swans in our business and they’re the ones who always suck all the money.

“Look at the legendary Jimi Hendrix, I saw him in LA in the last two weeks of his life. He was happy, he was very nice to me, and he hadn’t always been that way in the past. I said, ‘How are you?’ and he said, ‘Pete, I’m broke.’ He was huge, and he was broke.”

Townshend is unlikely to be short of cash, however. In 2021, he sold his London home for £15 million (nearly $19 million in U.S. currency). And the band has toured regularly since the late ’90s.

Townshend spoke to NME to promote a new ballet based on The Who’s 1973 album “Quadrophenia,” which sold 1.2 million copies. “Quadrophenia, A Mod Ballet” will tour the U.K. in 2025, NME reports.

The Who’s best-selling album is “Tommy,” which has sold 20 million copies since its release in 1969. A Broadway play based on “Tommy” was revived in March and will close in New York on July 21. A national tour of the musical will begin next year.

Earlier this year, Townshend, 79, suggested that The Who might embark on a final world tour. He later walked back his words, saying he was “being sarcastic.” Townshend and singer Roger Daltrey are the band’s two remaining original members. Original drummer Keith Moon died in 1978 and bassist John Entwistle died in 2002.