Who are you? The Who’s Roger Daltrey explains all in colorful memoir, ‘Mr. Kibblewhite’

If anything, Roger Daltrey can explain.

In his new memoir, “Thanks A Lot Mr. Kibblewhite” (Henry Holt, 259 pp., ★★★½ out of four), the singer tells how he rose from London’s post-World War II privation to the privilege of rock stardom. The curly-haired, microphone-swinging, full-throated frontman of The Who brings a Cockney conversationalism to the story of his life and complicated relationship with his legendary bandmates.

Daltrey was born in 1944, amid Nazi bombs over Britain. Though peacetime soon followed, the days of food rationing and limited opportunity for working-class Brits would linger.

A restless, fistfight-prone Roger was bounced from his South London grammar school at age 15, after he and a few friends disturbed the peace with their air rifles. The book’s title refers to the headmaster, Mr. Kibblewhite, who expelled him, predicting, “You’ll never make anything of your life, Daltrey.”

Wrong. Daltrey connected with genius guitarist/composer Pete Townshend, brilliant bassist John Entwistle and a propulsive drummer, Keith Moon. In the wake of Beatlemania, as London’s short-haired “mods” dictated fashion and sought musical catharsis, the quartet mastered a high-energy brand of “maximum rhythm and blues,” first as The Detours, then The High Numbers, and finally as The Who.

Central to the soundtrack of ’60s rebellion, The Who heralded a new era of performance. Townshend smashed guitars, Moon hurled drumsticks, and the adolescent angst anthems flowed – from “I Can’t Explain” and “My Generation” to the rock operatics of “Tommy” and “Quadrophenia.”

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