R.I.P. Doug Sandom, early drummer for The Who has died at 89

Sandom played in the band from 1962-1964, preceding Keith Moon

The Who with Doug Sandom
The Who with Doug Sandom (picture second to left)

Doug Sandom, an early member of The Who who preceded Keith Moon as the band’s drummer, has died at the age of 89.

In 1962, Sandom was hired by Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, and John Entwistle to play in their band The Detours. Though he was considerably older than the rest of the band’s members (who were then in their late teens), Sandom was a proficient drummer with several years of experience and professional credits to his name.

In early 1964, after changing their name to The Who, the band auditioned for Fontana Records. The label’s producer, Chris Parmeinter, recommended that they find a new drummer, which led Townshend to fire Sandom in favor of Moon.

“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,” Sandom later said of his time in The Who. “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.”

Sandom and Townshend did not speak for nearly 20 years, but later reconciled and became close friends. Townshend was the one who announced Sandom’s death on the band’s website, penning a heartfelt tribute.

“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.”