Queen’s Brian May Claims Pete Townshend ‘Basically Invented’ Rock Guitar


In a post on social media, Queen’s Brian May has credited Pete Townshend with “basically” inventing rock guitar.

May stated this on Instagram along with a photo of himself with The Who co founder and a past quote he had previously opined about Townshend, where he described him as “the master of mood change, a master of the suspended chord”.

The quote also adds: “Pete Townshend’s a god of guitar and always will be! I’d seen him stand there and let the guitar explode into life on its own”. 

“basically invented it”

On social media, Brian May doubled down on these comments, posting the following statement.

“I’m glad I said this – I probably don’t say it enough”, he wrote.  “I can’t imagine Rock Guitar without Pete Townshend. Looking back, it seems to me he basically invented it!”. 

“I was lucky enough to be there watching. My playing owes so much to him. I’m not talking about the blues-influenced playing which also underpinned the evolution of 70s and 80s rock music – Townshend brought to the scene a blistering clang of super-amplified but not over-saturated chords – razor-edged monoliths crashing angrily through our brains, biting rhythmic hammer blows which would change the likes of me forever”, he continued.

May added, “If you want to feel what I’m talking about – put on ‘My Generation’ at full volume on your home system – and gasp in wonder!!! Keith Moon drumming insanely, John Entwistle thundering a massive bass with the sonic breadth of a full orchestra – and an aggressive young Shepherds Bush rebel Roger Daltrey – a punk icon long before the invention of ‘Punk Rock’. Completely Awesome”. 

“How did Townshend invent that”

Brian May also called on his fans to “listen to those suspended chords in ‘I’m A Boy’”, adding: “How did Townshend invent that?”.

Before signing off, May stated: “Listen to ‘Substitute’ for a tour de force of gigantic rhythm playing and a lyric ten times as deep as anything out there. Finally listen to the Who’s first chart smash – ‘[I] Can’t Explain’ – along with their version of the classic ‘Summertime Blues’ it transformed Rock and Roll into ROCK!!!”.

“Good Morning folks !! You have your assignment for the day! 😊”. 

Check out the post in full here.

Back in March, Pete Townshend also hinted that The Who may return for a final tour. More on that story here.