Pete Townshend
Guitarist Pete Townshend performing with The Who, in Felixstowe, Suffolk, 9th September 1966. (Chris Morphet/Redferns/Getty Images) **MAY 19 is The Who's Pete Townshend's birthday AND the day when he wrote 'My Generation.'** *** Local Caption *** Pete Townshend
Pete Townshend
Guitarist Pete Townshend performing with English rock group The Who, in Felixstowe, Suffolk, September 9, 1966. (Chris Morphet/Redferns/Getty Images)

Today, Pete Townshend, the windmilling lead guitarist and primary songsmith for British rock band The Who, turns 71. Among other things, you can thank Townshend for inventing the “rock opera,” with the release of albums like Tommy and Quadrophenia; as well as his aborted one in 1971, Who’s Next, which ended up reaching No. 4 on the Billboard charts anyway. But maybe Townshend’s most enduring rock song is “My Generation,” which he penned on his 20th birthday. Below, watch the band play an extended version live at Woodstock 1969.