50 Years Ago: The Who Have Their Van Stolen

50 Years Ago: The Who Have Their Van Stolen

On September 4, 1965 the Who encountered one of the most bizarre circumstances in their career.

It began with a van with faulty locks as Kit Lambert explained.

“Fed up with driving everyone in my Volkswagen I’d got the band a van. It wasn’t very well painted and on sunny days you could see the lettering: ‘Billiard Tables Installed on Your Own Premises,’ under the words ‘the Who.’ But we never seemed to be able to get effective locks to lock the stuff up, and it kept getting pinched.”

So Lambert and the band decided to get a dog to guard their van while it was unattended. And this is where the bizarre twist takes place. While shopping for a German Shepherd on September 4, 1965 the band came out to find that their van had actually been stolen with all their equipment. So much for a guard dog at this point, right?

As it turned out the van being stolen was a blessing in disguised. The band had no choice to replace their gear. They previously had been using Vox amps, the ones that they had been trying to protect. Having been not as impressed with the Vox amps, the Who decided to switch to Marshall instead. This switch led to the Who becoming the loudest band at the time.

“With 100-watt heads and a giant 8×12 speaker cabinet stacked on top of each other, and thus the ‘stack’ amp was born,” writes Alan. “The model proved too unwieldy for roadies, however, and evolved into two 4×12 cabs that he stacked on top of each other. It’s been said that Townshend designed the amp himself, but in actuality he just inspired the concept.”

And so 50 years ago today what began as a bad day turned out to lead the band into a much more satisfying future for The Who.


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