The Day The Who Became The World's Loudest Band

(Gibson) On this day in 1976, The Who gave themselves a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the loudest performance of a rock band at 120 decibels, when they played at Charlton Athletic Football ground. Gibson looks back:

It's May 31, 1976, and it's a typically wet rainy night in London, England at the Charlton Athletic Football Stadium. The 60,000 people have been there all day watching the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Little Feat, The Outlaws, Streetwalkers and Widowmaker battle the elements. How many were there for Little Feat or Alex Harvey can't be clear but the excitement grew tangible as the audience waited for the headlining act. As several tried to climb floodlight towers for a better vantage point, it was obvious that most were there to see one of the greatest live bands of all time, The Who.

The band were still on their '70s creativity high, still pushing the boundaries of rock and roll performance. The Who by Numbers was just out and "Squeeze Box" had given them their first hit single in a while. Tommy would feature heavily in the set (which included "I Can't Explain," "Substitute," "My Wife," "Baba O'Riley," "Squeeze Box," "Behind Blue Eyes," "Dreaming from the Waist," "Magic Bus," "Amazing Journey," "Sparks," "The Acid Queen," "Fiddle About," "Pinball Wizard," "I'm Free, "Tommy's Holiday Camp," "We're Not Gonna Take It," "Summertime Blues," "My Generation," "Won't Get Fooled Again") partly because the Ken Russell movie was released the previous year. And they'd just set the record for the largest indoor arena attendance with 75,962 at the Pontiac Silverdome the previous December.

They were about to break another record.

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