Roger Daltrey’s Early Influences

Roger Daltrey {Photo by Fabrice Demessence)

Long before Roger Daltrey became known as the prototypical lead singer while fronting The Who, music had done much to shape his future while growing up in the East Acton neighborhood in West London. Having started singing in the church choir at the age of 7, he was immersed in the sounds of post-World War II radio that was awash in big bands, lounge singers and programs like Workers’ Playtime, which was a variety program that broadcast from a factory canteen somewhere in Great Britain.

Daltrey recalled, “They would go and play in these factories and you could hear the workers all singing along to these songs. That always stuck with me.” But like other young Brits of his generation, it was the sounds of rock and roll and artists like The Everly Brothers, Eddie Cochran and Chuck Berry that became a major watershed moment.

The following are three performers that resonated with Daltrey during that formative stage.

Lonnie Donegan (April 29, 1931-November 3, 2002)

“Lonnie Donegan was the guy who made me feel like I could do this. This was about letting go and I could do that. I decided that this was what I wanted to do and then my life took a downturn (laughs).”

Buddy Holly (September 7, 1937-February 3, 1959)

“He had that sound and all those wonderful songs [he wrote and recorded] in such a short space of time.”

Elvis Presley (January 8, 1935-August 16, 1977)

“When I saw Elvis, I thought he was cool and I wanted to sound like that. I loved early Elvis, before he went all schmaltzy.”

Read LIW‘s full interview with Roger Daltrey:

Roger Daltrey Goes Back Home

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In addition to being editor of Garden City Life and Syosset-Jericho Tribune, Dave Gil de Rubio is a regular contributor to Long Island Weekly, specializing in music and sports features. He has won several awards for writing from Press Club of Long Island (PCLI).


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