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Pete Townshend said in a new interview that The Beatles copied The Who on their landmark album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Speaking to Rolling Stone, Townshend was asked, “The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper at the beginning of the Who Sell Out era. Did that inspire you at all? They framed their songs around the Sgt. Pepper idea and you framed yours around a pirate radio station.”

Townshend, never one to hold back, responded, “No, no. Come on. The Beatles copied us!”

He continued, “Paul McCartney came up to me at the Bag O’Nails [music club], which we mention in the album artwork. He was always very, very sweet to me. I should say that first. But he said to me that he really loved our mini-opera, which was called ‘A Quick One, While He’s Away.’ That was on the album that preceded ‘The Who Sell Out.’ And he told me they were thinking about doing similar things.”

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Townshend added, “I think anybody that was even a little bit art school back then, a little bit adventurous — and, of course, the Beatles were encouraged to experiment to the max in the studio — would have thought about doing something which was a concept. In this case, of course, it wasn’t a concept. [Laughs] It wasn’t a concept until the day that we walked in to get photographed in tubs of baked beans. It was only at that photo session that we learned that the name of the album was going to be ‘The Who Sell Out,’ which is a brilliant title, of course.”

He concluded,  “…But getting back to ‘Sgt. Pepper,’ there isn’t much of a concept to that record. But to this day, whenever I sit down and get the vinyl out, stick it on, something always leaps out that I’ve never noticed before. I think the same is true with ‘Pet Sounds.’ Those two albums are seminal changes in what we all believed was going to be possible if you were in a band making records, just extraordinary leaps of faith that the audience would accept it.”

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Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock news blogger who's well versed in etiquette and extraordinarily nice.