FOXBOROUGH, MASS. — The Who's beginnings date back to 1959 London, when Pete Townshend, an art school student, and John Entwistle, a clerk in a tax collection office, were members of a Dixieland jazz group, with Townshend on banjo and Entwistle on trumpet. Roger Daltrey, a sheet-metal worker, joined them as lead vocalist. They named themselves Direct Route, then the High Numbers. When Keith Moon joined them as drummer in 1964, they became the Who. They didn't make it big in the US, however, where crowds didn't know what to make of it when the band smashed their instruments at the end of the show or made esoteric references to British life. Their first cross-country tour of America was in 1967, when they opened for a British pop band, Herman's Hermits.
Their first gold-album in America was ``Tommy'' in 1969, with the hit single ``Pinball Wizard,'' which took the band to the top.
``Who's Better, Who's Best'' is a tribute to the band on its 25th anniversary. In conjunction, a 60-minute video has been issued, full of rare film from early British TV performances.
The band is supposedly at work on an album of new material. Townshend's solo album, ``The Iron Man,'' is just out from Atlantic Records.
Among the Who's best albums: 1967 - ``The Who Sell Out'' (a parody of pop radio, with comical commercial jingles written by the band) 1969 - ``Tommy'' 1970 - ``Live at Leeds'' 1971 - ``Who's Next'' 1973 - ``Quadrophenia'' 1974 - ``Odds and Sods'' 1975 - ``The Who by Numbers'' 1978 - ``Who Are You?'' (last album with drummer Moon)