Peter Dennis Blandford "Pete" Townshend (born 19 May 1945) is an English rock guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and author, known principally as the guitarist and songwriter for The Who, as well as for his own solo career. His career with The Who spans more than forty years, during which time the band grew to be considered one of the most influential bands of the rock era, and, according to Eddie Vedder, "possibly the greatest live band ever."
Townshend is the primary songwriter for the Who, having written well over one hundred songs for the band's eleven studio albums, including concept albums and the rock operas ''Tommy'' and ''Quadrophenia'', plus popular rock and roll radio staples like ''Who's Next'', and dozens more that appeared as non-album singles, bonus tracks on reissues, and tracks on rarities compilations like ''Odds & Sods''. He has also written over one hundred songs that have appeared on his solo albums, as well as radio jingles and television theme songs. Although known primarily as a guitarist, he is also an accomplished singer, keyboardist, and also plays other instruments, such as banjo, accordion, synthesizer, piano, bass guitar and drums, on his own solo albums, several Who albums, and as a guest contributor to a wide array of other artist's recordings. Peter Townshend has never had formal lessons in any of the instruments he plays.
Townshend has also been a contributor and author of newspaper and magazine articles, book reviews, essays, books, and scripts, as well as collaborating as a lyricist (and composer) for many other musical acts. Townshend was ranked #3 in Dave Marsh's list of Best Guitarists in ''The New Book of Rock Lists'', #10 in Gibson.com's list of the top fifty guitarists, and #50 in ''Rolling Stone'' magazine's 2003 list: 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.