Sroundtable at Sroundtable at
Tue Aug 17 23:33:42 CDT 2004

Mark writes:

> So I'm assuming your argument is that it could still
> be the Beatles with only John and Paul, so it's OK if
> it's Pete and Roger.
> But...then I'd have to say Roger isn't nearly as
> important to The Who as was Entwistle.


The Beatles are a different animal, in my view.  They were SO huge, and the 
individual members became SO identifiable that any change would have been 
entirely unacceptable.  Let's face it, even if the Beatles had replaced Ringo with 
a much better drummer, people would not have accepted it.  By contrast, The 
Who, The Stones, and Led Zeppelin were identified most strongly by their lead 
guitars and lead singers, and their popularity was secondary to the Beatles and 
simply didn't take on the same "phenomena" status.  Of course, Keith was a 
giant part of the stage act and the magic of Who songs, and Entwistle vital to 
The Who's sound (both live and studio)- but the band itself was publicly 
identified more on Pete and Roger, just as The Stones with Mick and Keith.  This is 
why The Stones and The Who can soldier on without original members and the 
Beatles could not.  Besides, when John Lennon died there was no Beatles in 
existence and there were no plans to re-form.

I have to disagree about JAE being far more important to The Who than Roger.  
The voice of a band is the most instantly identifiable part of a band.  Most 
people can't distinguish between bass styles, guitar styles, and drum styles 
without being quite familiar with a band and/or music in general.  The voice, 
however, can be recognized instantly by the average radio listener, and Roger's 
voice is absolutely unmistakeable to all who have heard Who songs.  Robert 
Plant the same way.  The Who might have been able to replace Roger in 1965, but 
once Tommy hit the stores, he became irreplaceable.  Consider also his 
presence on stage, which launched a genre of live rock singer personas (Plant copied 
him almost entirely), and Roger IMHO was more important to the Who than JAE.

Now, here's a question for list fodder.  If Ringo or George had died in say, 
1963, would the public have embraced a replacement and allowed The Beatles to 
continue?  I wouldn't pose the same question for John and Paul because they 
were too essential to the music itself.


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