5 Roger Daltrey Solo Highlights in Honor of The Who Frontman

Roger Daltrey, the powerhouse lead singer of legendary British band The Who, celebrates his 80th birthday on March 1. With The Who, Daltrey established himself as one of the world’s premier rock vocalists, while guitarist Pete Townshend became the group’s main songwriter.

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Daltrey eventually launched a side career as a solo artist in the 1970s, although The Who has always remained his main creative outlet. That being said, the singer’s solo work has featured a plethora of highlights. Here are five standout songs from Daltrey’s solo career:

“Giving It All Away” (1973)

Daltrey kicked off his solo career in 1973 with the Daltrey album. Almost the entire album was co-written by singer/songwriter Leo Sayer and songwriter/producer David Courtney, including the lead single, “Giving It All Away.”

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The melodic ballad allowed Daltrey to showcase the sensitive and emotive aspects of his voice. The song became a No. 5 hit in the U.K., Roger’s most successful solo single to date.

“Free Me” (1980)

In 1980, Daltrey starred in McVicar, a biographical film about John McVicar, a convicted British bank robber who later became an author and a journalist. Daltrey also recorded a soundtrack for the movie, and the album featured the chart hits “Free Me” and “Without Your Love.”

“Free Me” was a gritty, bluesy rocker written by hit-making songwriter Russ Ballard. The song featured lyrics that seemed to echo McVicar’s own plight as an imprisoned criminal, with Daltrey belting out, “Free me, from this pain and misery.”

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“Free Me” peaked at reached No. 39 on the U.K. Singles Chart and No. 53 on the Billboard Hot 100.

“Under a Raging Moon” (1985)

The title track of Daltrey’s 1985 solo album, “Under a Raging Moon” was a dramatic and dynamic tribute to late Who drummer Keith Moon. The song was co-written by British rocker John Parr, with songwriter/producer Julia Downes.

Daltrey’s power and passion shine throughout his vocal performance. Seven well-known drummers contributed to the Moon homage, including The Pretenders’ Martin Chambers, Queen’s Roger Taylor, The Police’s Stewart Copeland, Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s Carl Palmer, and Who touring drummer Zak Starkey.

“Under a Raging Moon” reached No. 43 on the U.K. singles chart and No. 10 on Billboard’s Top Tracks (Mainstream Rock) tally.

“Going Back Home” – Roger Daltrey with Wilko Johnson (2014)

In 2014, Daltrey teamed up with former Dr. Feelgood guitarist Wilko Johnson for the collaborative album Going Back Home. The album was made up mainly of new versions of songs Johnson had written or co-written for Dr. Feelgood. Daltrey had promised to do the project after the guitarist was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer.

The title track, a song first released by Dr. Feelgood in 1976, was among the many highlights from Going Back Home. The brooding, mid-tempo blues-rock tune features Daltrey digging into his lower register to deliver a gravelly great vocal performance.

Going Back Home became Daltrey’s most successful non-Who album in his U.K. homeland, reaching No. 3 on the chart.

“As Long as I Have You” (2018)

Daltrey’s most recent solo studio album, As Long as I Have You, was released in 2018, and found the Who frontman celebrating soul music, as well as some of his favorite singer/songwriters.

The album’s title track is a cover a song co-written by Jerry Ragovoy and Bob Elgin, and first recorded by soul singer Garnet Mimms in 1964. Daltrey’s version captures Roger at his soulful, infusing the grooving, horn-driven tune with power and grit.

Townshend is featured on guitar on this track, as well as six others on the album. The song also features keyboards from former Style Council member Mick Talbot.

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