Peter Townshend Dave Marsh - Essay

Dave Marsh

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

As a fundamentally religious artist, Pete Townshend fashions his music from sermons and confessions. (p. 71)

What makes Townshend singular is his insistence on not separating his most transcendent spiritual convictions from gut- and gutter-level rock & roll. It's been suggested (by Townshend, even) that rock itself is a religion, but that's not quite right. Let's say instead that rock is a spiritual medium as much as a musical one…. For Pete Townshend then, playing rock & roll well becomes an act of grace, while playing rock & roll badly is a brutal test of faith.

Townshend has been in a near-continuous state of spiritual crisis since Tommy, and you'd...

(The entire section is 1042 words.)