Original Who Drummer Doug Sandom Dies at 89

Original Who Drummer Doug Sandom Dies at 89
Doug Sandom pictured second from left with an early version of the Who, then known as the Detours.
Doug Sandom — an early member of the Who who played drums prior to Keith Moon — has died. The news was confirmed by Who guitarist Pete Townshend, who revealed the drummer passed away yesterday (February 27). Sandom was 89.

Sandom joined the Who in 1962 when the group were known as the Detours, lining up alongside teenagers Townshend, vocalist Roger Daltrey and bassist John Entwistle. A brick layer by trade, Sandom was in his early 30s and had already been playing music semi-professionally upon joining the group.

After changing their name to the Who in 1964, an audition with Fontana Records led to label producer Chris Parmeinter recommending they find a new member to man the drum kit. Sandom left the group in April of that year, with Moon joining the fold within a month. No recordings featuring Sandom's work were ever released.

"I wasn't so ambitious as the rest of them," Sandom later said of his time in the band. "I'd done it longer than what they had. Of course, I loved it. It was very nice to be part of a band that people followed, it was great. But I didn't get on well with Peter Townshend. I was a few years older than he was, and he thought I should pack it in more or less because of that. I thought I was doing all right with the band, we never got slung out of nowhere, we always passed our auditions."

In a statement on the band's website, Townshend recalled, "If you have read my book Who I Am you will know how kind Doug was to me, and how clumsily I dealt with his leaving the band to be replaced eventually by Keith Moon... Doug was an excellent drummer but was considered by our first record label to be too old for us. It was his age and his wisdom that made him important to me."

Townshend continued, "He never sneered at my aspirations the way some of my peers tended to do (I was a bit of an egoistic handful sometimes). He encouraged me — as did my best friend in those days Richard Barnes. Doug took a while to forgive me, but did so in the end, and although I didn't see much of him we remained friends. He would almost certainly have tried to visit with Roger and me at Wembley Stadium this year, and we will both miss seeing him."

The Who are set to begin their "Moving On!" symphony tour this May and have also teased a new album that is expected to arrive this year.