Pete Townshend, legendary guitarist of The Who, has claimed that the band invented heavy metal music on their 1970 album Live At Leeds. In a recent interview with the Toronto Sun, Townshend said that The Who were the earliest band to adopt the riff-heavy style, even claiming that Led Zeppelin copied their sound.
“We sort of invented heavy metal with [our first live album] Live At Leeds,” Townshend said.
“We were copied by so many bands, principally by Led Zeppelin — you know, heavy drums, heavy bass, heavy lead guitar and some of those bands, like Jimi Hendrix for example, did it far better than we did.
“Cream, with Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, they came along in ’67, same year as Jimi Hendrix, and they kind of stole our mantle in a sense.
“So people who want to hear that old heavy metal sound, there are plenty of bands that can provide it. So it’s not really what we can actually do today. Even if we wanted to, it was never high on my list of wishes.”
What do you reckon? Were The Who making heavy metal music before heavy metal music was even a thing?