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 rock group The Who, as well as for his own solo career. His career with The Who spans more than 40 years, during which time the band grew to be considered one of the most influential bands of the 1960s and 1970s, and, according to Eddie Vedder, "possibly the greatest live band ever."
Townshend is the primary songwriter for The Who, having written well over 100 songs for the band's 11 studio albums, including concept albums and the rock operas Tommy and Quadrophenia, plus popular rock and roll radio staples such as Who's Next, and dozens more that appeared as non-album singles, bonus tracks on reissues, and tracks on rarities compilations such as Odds & Sods. He has also written over 100 songs that have appeared on his solo albums, as well as radio jingles and television theme songs. Although known primarily as a guitarist, he also plays other instruments such as keyboards, banjo, accordion, ukulele, mandolin, violin, synthesizer, bass guitar and drums, on his own solo albums, several Who albums, and as a guest contributor to a wide array of other artists' recordings. He is self-taught on all of the instruments he plays and has never had any formal training.
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 No. 3 in Dave Marsh's list of Best Guitarists in The New Book of Rock Lists, No. 10 in Gibson.com's list of the top 50 guitarists, and No. 10 again in Rolling Stone magazine's updated 2011 list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. Townshend was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Who in 1990.