They rival The Beatles when it comes to progression. They started as an R&B cover band, catering to their mod
audience. From there, they produced angst-ridden singles like I Can't Explain and My Generation.
They might be best known for their rock opera Tommy, about a deaf dumb and blind boy who becomes a pinball champion and a spiritual leader.
Quadrophenia, another rock opera by The Who, is musically superior to Tommy but lesser known by the general public. It tells the story of a mod named Jimmy who struggles to find his identity and find happiness. I wouldn't be surprised if it strongly influenced American Idiot
Between the two rock operas, they produced Who's Next, known for Baba O'Riley (aka "Teenage Wasteland), Behind Blue Eyes, and Won't Get Fooled Again.
During their early years, guitarist Pete Townshend and drummer Keith Moon would smash their equipment at the end of their gigs. Good way to get out of doing an encore!