Smith explores Pete Townshend's artistic struggle between his
own creative impulses and those of the commercial public. Faced
with a modern version of the minstrel's dilemma, Townshend, early
in his career, ignored his creative instincts to satisfy commercial
agendas. After his success, he slowly withdrew to resolve his
conflict between creativity and commercialism. Townshend's creative
vision unfolds against the conflicts and compromises battled with
the entertainment industry. A common theme, that of the seeker,
weaves throughout the various phases of Townshend's career and
highlights his own quest for complete artistic expression free from
In "The Minstrel's Dilemma," Townshend is shown as a musician
confronting the same battles begun by early minstrels and later
fought by composers such as Beethoven and Mozart. He is referred to
as a rock auteur, creating music that reflects his personal
experiences and creative views. He is called a seeker, in search of
artistic freedom toward personal expression. And at the end of his
thirty-year struggle he is a true artist, able to live up to
audience expectation while attending to his own artistic
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