Pete Townshend spoke frankly about helping invent both heavy metal and Brit pop. While publicizing the Who's self-titled Top Two new hit album, Townshend explained to The Calgary Herald, "We sort of invented heavy metal with (our first live album) Live At Leeds. We were copied by so many bands, principally by Led Zeppelin, y'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."

When pressed if the Who's influence helped invent Brit pop, Townshend admitted: "Yeah, in a sense. But that's true of punk too. We mustn't forget that the Sex Pistols were playing two or three Who songs in their set when they first broke in London. It was another echo. And then their was the mod revival started by the Jam and then as you say the Brit pop era, as you say, all the guitar based bands from that era, there was certainly a sense that they were influenced by the Who."

Pete Townshend, who wrote the majority of the Who's catalogue, told us that as an artist, both in the past and today, he depends as strongly on his audience as they do on him: "It's not that it's exalted. It's not that it's higher; it's not that I'm looking down at the world and I can observe from on high. It is that as an artist, you have a unique ability to stand away from society and trust that your audience will give you what you need to make your next piece of work."

AUDIO: PETE TOWNSHEND ON THE WHO REFLECTING THEIR AUDIENCE