A view from Dave Trott

A view from Dave Trott

In 1963, Kit Lambert was a posh young chap making films.

He was particularly taken with French New Wave cinema.

He wanted to make films like that.

Films that weren’t just a dull, plodding, straight-line narrative.

He wanted to make dangerous films with on-screen montages that exploded over the audience.

He’d graduated from Oxford and was working at Shepperton.

But the sort of films he was working on were exactly the sort of films he didn’t want to make.

And then he met someone who felt the same way he did.

Chris Stamp came from a totally opposite background – the East End – and he also wanted to make dangerous films.

They decided a good place to start was with a rock ’n’roll group.

Chris said: "Our idea was to find a group that would be rebellious, anarchistic and uniquely different from the established music scene."

So they looked all over London for a dangerous band.

And eventually they found four unknown youngsters playing at The Railway Hotel in Harrow.

And Kit and Chris began shooting their film.

But they started having ideas about how the band could be even more dangerous.

And the more unconventional the ideas, the better they worked.

Kit suggested the lead guitarist should swing his arm like a windmill and bash the guitar instead of just strumming it.

It was unconventional but it looked spectacular.

Kit suggested they should smash up their instruments on stage.

It was barmy, outrageous, wasteful.

But it drove the audience wild; they couldn’t get enough.

The group was so successful, Kit and Chris dropped the idea of making a film and just began managing them.

And the more dangerous they were, the more famous they became.

Because they were so different to everyone else around.

The more dangerous they were, the more famous they became. Because they were so different to everyone else around

Eventually, Kit came up with his craziest idea of all.

The guitarist should write an opera.

An opera, for a rock ’n’ roll band – what kind of a barmy idea was that?

No-one would buy music like that.

But the lead singer said: "We thought, at least it’s dangerous.

"Kit and Chris made us believe that if we made it dangerous, anything would work."

So they wrote the first rock ’n’ roll opera.

The lead singer was Roger Daltrey.

The guitarist who wrote the opera was Pete Townshend.

The opera was Tommy.

The band, of course, was The Who.

The album of Tommy went on to sell 20 million copies worldwide.

It became a film, directed by Ken Russell and starring Elton John, Jack Nicholson, Eric Clapton and Tina Turner.

After Tommy, The Who became one of the three biggest rock ’n’ roll bands of all time.

And it all started by wanting to be dangerous.

Dangerous is another way of saying it hasn’t been done before.

It hasn’t been done because it’s a big risk.

And risks are dangerous.

It feels dangerous because you’re out of your comfort zone.

You stand out, you’re different to everyone else.

And it’s always more comfortable to do what everyone else
is doing.

Dave Trott’s next book, One Plus One Equals Three, is published on 4 June