Why Roger Daltrey Must Retire ‘Even If It’s After This Tour’

Roger Daltrey said the distinctive requirements of singing the Who‘s songs meant he would have no choice but to retire at some point, and he was ready for it to happen at any time, even though he still loves touring.

In a new interview with Forbes, he accepted that “retirement age” was close and he’ll stop when he could no longer “sing to where it touches the audience.”

“The Who’s music is very different from most rock,” Daltrey said. “You’re dealing with words from a deep inner space within us all. They have to connect the singer to the audience. If I lose the power to do that, well, I will stop, even if it’s after this tour. I don’t want the downward slope where you’re not quite as good as you used to be.”

He cited the band’s classic song “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” which appeared in the recent movie Top Gun: Maverick. “That’s the beauty of [Pete] Townshend’s writing: You can put any kind of action film behind the pulsating music,” he said. “Then there’s my scream in that song. I can only imagine where that might be [in the movie]. … Pete had indicated a scream in that part of the song, and I thought, ‘This needs to be completely and utterly primal.’ I’ve always been into the primal shock connection to the audience that a voice can have. ‘Love Reign O’er Me’ has the same kind of thing with the last ‘love.’”

Daltrey noted that he was “lucky enough to be in that generation of bands who believes rock music can be much more than just a three-minute single appealing to teenagers. Here we are at this grand old age of 78, 79 … where people bring their grandchildren to shows, some of them 8 years old. Eight ‘til 80! To know that rock music has achieved that, and that the Who was part of it is the thing I’m most proud of.”

Even though he is aware that his career will end someday, Daltrey confirmed he was looking forward to the Who’s upcoming U.S. shows. “I sang through so much crap,” he said of the period around 2010 when he was treated for pre-cancerous growths in his throat. “I really should have stopped. I hated it – will never do it again.” He added that he believed he was currently “singing the best I have in my entire life.”

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