Doug Sandom, Early Who Drummer, Dies

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The Detours (l. to r.): John Entwistle, Doug Sandom, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend (Photo from The Who’s website)

Like the Beatles’ Pete Best, Doug Sandom missed the golden ring. The drummer for the Detours, a British band that formed in 1962, he was kicked out on the verge of the quartet’s emergence. If you haven’t heard of the Detours, no worries—you probably know them as The Who.

Sandom died yesterday (Feb. 27) at the age of 89, and was eulogized by Pete Townshend on the Who’s website. He wrote:

“Just heard from his son that Doug, drummer with the early Who, passed away yesterday at the age of 89. 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. A bricklayer by trade, 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. 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.

Pete,
28 February 2019”

Douglas Sandom was born Feb. 26, 1930, in Greenford, England, making him considerably older than Townshend, Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle, the other members of the Detours. The story goes that when the band auditioned for Fontana Records (they were not signed), Chris Parmeinter, the producer who heard them, didn’t care for Sandom’s drumming and suggested to the band that they replace him. Their manager, Helmut Gordon, gave the others the word that Sandom had to go and the drummer graciously gave a month’s notice, in which time they found and hired Keith Moon.

In February 1964, the Detours changed their name. You know the rest.

Related: Was Keith Moon rock’s greatest drummer?

In a quote attributed to Tony Fletcher’s book Moon: Life and Death of a Rock Legend, reprinted on Sandom’s Wikipedia page, the former member said, “I wasn’t so ambitious as the rest of them. 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.”

Watch: In between the Detours and the Who, they were the High Numbers

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