The Who Become First Act to Land On London Music Walk Of Fame: 'May This Avenue of Stars Grow and Grow'

The Who
Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend from The Who attend the Music Walk Of Fame Founding Stone Unveiling at The Jazz Cafe on Nov. 19, 2019 in London.

LONDON — Rock legends The Who have become the first act to be honoured on London's new Music Walk Of Fame, a Hollywood Boulevard-style tourist attraction that organizers hope will become a must-see destination for music fans.

Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend attended the inaugural presentation and spoke of their pride at being immortalized on the permanent walk, located in the north London borough of Camden.

"This will be great for Camden. It'll be great for London. It'll be great for the neighbourhood and it will be great for our business, one of the biggest exports that we have in the U.K.," said Townshend at the launch.

"We've all contributed. We're all still contributing and we will go on contributing," Townshend went on to say, joking that he would have preferred the commemorative paving slab to be on Goldhawk Road in West London, where The Who started their career, "but those fuckers have got no money."

His bandmate, Daltrey, spoke of Camden's rich musical heritage and said the area remains "a great place to come for the best of the music that's out there at the moment."

"May it long reign and may this avenue of stars grow and grow because we have got the best music industry in the world," Daltrey told the audience, made up of invited guests, media and hundreds of curious bystanders lining the opposite side of the street.

The pair were introduced by Primal Scream singer and self-confessed "life-long Who freak" Bobby Gillespie, who said he first heard the group being played on the radio when he was about 15 and immediately became besotted.

"The original line-up of Roger Daltrey, Keith Moon, John Entwistle and Pete Townshend was indivisible," he said. "When they played music together an alchemical transformation took place. Four became one and they created a magical, powerful sound that spoke directly to teenager mod boys, radical hippy 1960 counterculture, acid freaks, boot boys running riot on the football terraces of the 1970s and teenage punk rockers like myself and many millions more around the world," rhapsodized Gillespie.

Ollie Millington/Redferms
 Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey of The Who at the Music Walk Of Fame for their Founding Stone Unveiling, on Camden High Street on Nov. 19, 2019 in London. 

Also present at the midday launch event was Soul II Soul founder Jazzie B, London 'Night Czar' Amy Lamé, Madness singer Suggs and Mitch Winehouse, father of Amy Winehouse, who famously lived in Camden.

The Music Walk Of Fame is the brainchild of music promoter Lee Bennett, who first came up with the idea when he was living in California and noticed the U.K. had no equivalent to Hollywood's world famous tourist attraction.

Having originally mooted the idea more than a decade ago, it took Bennett many years to make the walk of fame a reality. Having finally now done so, he plans to lay around 20 special paving stones recognizing iconic music artists and ground-breaking innovators each year.

"We had to start with a bang and they don't come much bigger than The Who," Bennett told Billboard. "I think it's an inspiration for younger artists that this is where you can end up. We pitch the walk of fame as one of the highest accolades in music. A lot of artists get lost over the years, they fall by the wayside. Having this walk of fame means you're embedded in history forever."

He said Camden, famous for its associations with Amy Winehouse, Britpop and Sixties psychedelia, was the natural home for the walk in London due to its strong musical history and the high number of venues located there - a list that includes Koko, The Roundhouse, Jazz Café, Electric Ballroom and Koko, to name just a few.

Bennett said he hope the walk would "preserve the heritage of Camden… past, present and future" and would promote the London district as a "rite of passage" for young artists to play.

Future inductees to the Music Walk of Fame will be selected by an international panel of artists, executives and journalists. The next act to be honored will be Camden band Madness in early 2020.