Roger Daltrey says Jimi Hendrix “stole Pete Townshend’s stage act completely”

Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend and Jimi Hendrix
(Image credit: Jim Dyson/Redferns / David Redfern/Redferns via Getty)

The Who's Roger Daltrey has launched an impassioned defence of his former bandmate Pete Townshend, claiming the band’s guitarist had his stage act “completely” stolen by the late electric guitar great, Jimi Hendrix.

Daltrey made the claim, which was admittedly offered in good humor, while in conversation with The Coda Collection, with whom The Who icon was speaking as part of an in-depth exploration of his rock ‘n’ roll career.

It was, however, offered with an additional claim that posited both guitarists owed the DNA of their onstage character to one legendary player who came before them, Buddy Guy, who Daltrey dubs the pioneer of six-string showmanship.

“You watch Buddy Guy in the early days and you suddenly realize that, you have to really look for the inventor of all that stuff, it was probably Buddy Guy,” commented Daltrey. “In fact, I would give it to Buddy Guy.”

“I’ve always stuck up for Pete,” he continued. “Jimi stole Pete’s stage act completely, which, incidentally, I think he did. But there again, I’m sure Jimi had seen Buddy Guy previously, as I am sure Pete had seen Buddy Guy, and embellished it.”

His praise for the blues great didn’t stop there, however. “I take my hat off to Buddy Guy, he deserves that accolade. I just love him.

“If you look back at our resumes – in those days you had all these fan magazines – you got asked, ‘What are your favorite blues singers?’ Female singers [was] always Nina Simone. Male singer, it was always Buddy Guy. I’m pleased to say, that’s still my opinion.”

Daltrey later turned his attention away from the guitar-playing performers towards vocalists, and weighed in on Paul McCartney’s recent comments on the Rolling Stones – which saw the Beatles legend label them a “blues covers band” – with some further reflection.

“It’s like comparing cheese with apples,” he analogized (via MusicRadar). “They’re both very tasty, but cheese does one thing and the apple does another.

“I’ve always thought that you cannot take away the fact that Mick Jagger is still the number one rock ‘n’ roll show. The only other people I’d put up against him would be perhaps James Brown, maybe Jerry Lee in his day, or Little Richard.

“But Mick Jagger,” he concluded, “you’ve got to take your hat off to. He’s the number one rock ‘n’ roll performer.”

Head over to The Coda Collection to watch the full interview with Roger Daltrey.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.