“I hope I die before I get old” – it will always be Roger Daltrey’s most memorable line.
But with The Who classics still ringing in his ears, the 72-year-old has now turned his attention towards saving lives rather than ending them.
The iconic frontman, who famously captured the spirit of his generation in that era-defining track, is putting the music to good use and making sure sick children enjoy the best years of their lives.
As the Teenage Cancer Trust’s honorary patron, Daltrey – now a CBE – has been the driving force behind almost 20 years of blockbuster fundraisers at the Royal Albert Hall in Kensington.
The money-spinning gigs have generated millions of pounds to help young people living with cancer, with Daltrey calling in favours from some of the biggest names in rock and comedy over the years.
But it will be an extra-special outing for the band in 2017 as The Who mark 100 nights of Teenage Cancer Trust shows with a one-off acoustic rendition of their classic rock opera Tommy.
A select audience will have the chance to experience the album in its entirety for the first time in almost 30 years.
“We’ve come a long way since the first fundraiser back in 2000 and I’m every bit as passionate about the work of the Teenage Cancer Trust as I was back then,” says Daltrey, who will front the band over two nights in March and April.
“There have been some incredible moments over the years – and playing Tommy, an album that we haven’t performed in full since 1989 – will be a really special way to celebrate the 100th show at the Royal Albert Hall.”
Daltrey, who was born at Hammersmith Hospital and grew up in west London, has been a champion for the cancer cause for many years.
Along with his work for the trust, he’s also popped across the pond to set up a new charity in the United States – Teen Cancer America.
Backed by fellow Who founder Pete Townshend, the pair have been supporters of the trust for more than a quarter of a century and the band famously headlined the very first TCT show at the Royal Albert Hall in 2000.
Seven-figure sums have been raised for the trust thanks to Daltrey’s graft – but the mission is far from over, with seven people aged 13 to 24 facing a diagnosis every day.
The charity needs to hit the £20 million a year mark by 2020 to be certain that every young person in the UK can access its specialist cancer care.
“These shows are all about raising money to support young people with cancer so they don’t have to face treatment alone,” says Daltrey.
“Teenage Cancer Trust is there for them before, during and after the treatment and makes sure they are young people first, cancer patients second.”
The Who will perform for the Teenage Cancer Trust at the Royal Albert Hall on March 30 and April 1.