Song of the Day: “Love Reign O’er Me” – The Who

Pete Townshend may be filled with simmering resentment for Roger Daltrey (don’t tell me he isn’t), and only the two of them can know exactly why that is. Maybe the mere act of spending 50 years with the same person, whether it’s a spouse or a bandmate, drives you to hate them. Maybe they secretly had sex with each other in 1973 and are both dealing with it in their own way. What I’m saying is that anything is possible.

In a rare, semi-ironic twist, Daltrey seems to be the member of The Who who gets the least due when lists are made and catalogs filed, despite ostensibly being the front man. Pete Townshend was the genius conceptualist, the captain of the ship if we’re going with that metaphor. Keith Moon was the mercurial drummer, the impish troublemaker. John Entwistle was the stoic rock, the foundation that the other members could always count on if they got too far off topic.

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You just don’t hear that much about Roger Daltrey the vocalist.

Which is a shame, because though Pete Townshend probably wishes he could sing all the songs, he simply doesn’t have the range and expression that comes naturally to Daltrey. Just look at the song of the day!

There are some demanding vocal requirements in this song, and Roger Daltrey handles them ably with a rich texture that is unmatched by his peers. He injects the frontman sensibility with so much personality, so much  passion, that he can be forgiven for not matching the range of, say, Robert Plant.

I’ll take the Who over Zep any day, for the record.

Roger Daltrey turns 74 on 1 March, and I think we all ought to properly honor him as one of the great vocalists in rock. What do you say, Rockarinos?

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