Pete Townshend says The Who “invented heavy metal” in 1970

"We were copied by so many bands"

The Who‘s Pete Townshend has claimed that the iconic rockers pioneered heavy metal on their acclaimed 1970 ‘Live At Leeds’ album.

In a new interview with the Toronto Sun, the legendary guitarist claimed that the band were the earliest champions of the riff-heavy genre, and said that Led Zeppelin had copied their sound.

“We sort of invented heavy metal with [our first live album] Live At Leeds,” explained Townshend.


“We were copied by so many bands, principally by Led Zeppelin — you know, heavy drums, heavy bass, heavy lead guitar and some of those bands, like Jimi Hendrix for example, did it far better than we did.

Cream, with Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, they came along in ’67, same year as Jimi Hendrix, and they kind of stole our mantle in a sense.”

He added: “So people who want to hear that old heavy metal sound, there are plenty of bands that can provide it. So it’s not really what we can actually do today. Even if we wanted to, it was never high on my list of wishes.”

This comes after The Who were honoured with the founding stone in London’s new Music Walk of Fame last month.

In a four-star review of their 12th album ‘WHO’, NME said that “much of the record could stand proudly alongside [The Who’s] classics” and “recaptures the band’s root ferocity or explores new territory with style”.


Pete Townshend, meanwhile, has also faced a backlash over controversial comments he made about his late bandmates Keith Moon and John Entwistle.