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  • Writer's pictureRock Tour London

So that's why you smash your guitar...

The Who released Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy on 30 October 1971 and it included some favorite tracks like: Magic Bus, I Can See For Miles, Pinball Wizard and Boris The Spider. The album's title is a compilation of how the band wanted to describe each of its members. Meaty; for frontman Roger Daltrey who was a complete beefcake of muscles at the time. Beaty; referred to drummer, Keith Moon, as he was the backbeat of their sound. Big; was the adjective provided to bassist John Entwistle who stood nearly six foot tall and sported the, very appropriate, nickname "The Ox": and Bouncy; for guitarist Pete Townsend who was the acrobat of their performances, always jumping around on stage and showing off his signature "windmill" guitar technique. But there's also a little back story to both the 'bouncy' and the inside cover art of the LP.

In 1964, before The Who were The Who, they were The High Numbers and had a mid week residency at a place called The Railway Hotel in the northern outskirts of London. It was here that "Bouncy" being, well...bouncy, accidentally rammed the neck of his guitar through he low ceiling above the stage during one of his acrobatic displays and cracked it. Realizing the damage he'd just inflicted resulted in, let's call it, a release of frustration and Townsend smashed the guitar to bits. The crowd went wild! and that's where the band's famous tradition of destroying their instruments at the end of each show was born.

Having been the world's biggest Who fan as a teenager (ok, that's a self proclaimed title but still...) and, as a kid, being thoroughly convinced I was going to marry, the dreamboat, Roger Daltrey, I decided I needed to head out and find this place.

The last stop at the far end of the Bakerloo Line is the Harrow & Wealdstone station. Just steps from its parking lot is where the Railway Hotel once stood.

The building had been abandoned and succumbed to an arsonist's fire in 2002. Today, there are two buildings of flats on the site.

The one on the left called Daltry House (yes, they've misspelled it)

And the other called Moon House.

Perhaps the buildings were given these monikers by someone wanting to keep the area's rock and roll history alive or maybe it was payback for The Who having paid homage to their roots by featuring a picture of The Railway Hotel as the inside cover art of their album, Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy back in 1971.

Alas, I didn't marry Roger Daltrey (apparently, he went and married some English chick Hendrix supposedly wrote Foxy Lady about) but at least I got to stand on the spot where a rock and roll tradition began and I got to let my true freak fan flag fly. I mean, since I once was the world's biggest Who fan after all (wink).

Take a Bakerloo Line train to the furtherest northern stop. The two music note pins denote the locations of Daltrey House and Moon House.

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©Rock Tour London, 2021

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