Who's The Author: The Night The Who Rocked Georgetown

By Timothy Rosenberger (C’16)

Photo of Timothy M. Gay

Photo of Timothy M. Gay

Although he wasn’t yet at Georgetown for the legendary 1969 Who concert, Tim Gay (C’76) had long been curious about how the famous and influential English rock band came to play such an unlikely venue as McDonough Arena. He was lucky to have inside information from old friends Jim Clark (C’70) and Ed Towle (C’70), respectively the student government president and entertainment committee chair back then, who were instrumental in bringing the band to campus.

Gay’s interest led him to interview the alumni who appear in this Georgetown Magazine feature on The Who—and many more.

In addition to a career in public affairs, Gay, now senior vice president at Washington, D.C.-based Levick Strategic Communications,  has written four books of history: two on important—but largely forgotten—figures in baseball history, and two about the “Greatest Generation” who served in World War II. The 2012 Assignment to Hell, which explores the stories of war correspondents covering the war in Europe, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. His latest work, Savage Will, is the true story of American medics and nurses trapped for two blizzard-plagued months in Nazi-controlled Albania. He was also consultant and commentator in a 2013 PBS documentary on Walter Cronkite’s coverage of President Kennedy’s assassination, as well as this year’s PBS film on civil rights, JFK & LBJ: A Time for Greatness.

Gay has other memorable stories about Georgetown’s music scene, including a performance by the then-largely unknown Bruce Springsteen, who played Gaston Hall in 1973. Springsteen was so early in his career that he loaded his own music equipment into Gaston with the help of a few students.

“I don’t think anyone had heard of Springsteen before the concert,” Gay recalls. “But he created a lot of buzz on campus about how great his show had been.”

Gay is still an avid Who fan whose favorite song by the band is “Baba O’Riley.”

Learn more about Timothy Gay’s work at www.timothymgay.com.