The Who’s Pete Townshend will receive the Les Paul Award at the 28th annual Technical Excellence & Creativity (TEC) Awards, scheduled to take place on January 25th in Anaheim, California. Townshend will be presented with the prize by Paul’s son, Russ, on behalf of the award’s sponsor, the Les Paul Foundation. The award is presented annually to honor individuals or institutions that have set the highest standards of excellence in the creative application of audio and music technology. Previous honorees include Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Brian Wilson, Neil Young, Sting, Al Kooper and Stevie Wonder.

Les Paul Foundation executive Michael Braunstein says in a statement, “Following in Les’ footsteps, Pete Townshend personifies both guitar wizardry and technical prowess in both studio and live music performance. He is a true original and a natural choice for the Les Paul Award honor.”

One of the most influential rock bands of all time, The Who set the gold standard for rock and roll. Starting in the mid-1960s, Pete Townshend was at the helm, larger than life on stage and living out the angst of a generation in his music. Classics like My Generation, The Kids Are Alright, I Can See for Miles, Pinball Wizard, and Won’t Get Fooled Again spoke from the heart for a youthful audience trying to make sense of the world. Townshend wrapped these powerful songs with incendiary guitar technique and band arrangements that spanned from elegant to bombastic, usually both simultaneously.

Townshend is responsible for having written over 100 songs and rock operas in the band’s important catalog. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. He resides in West London, where he was raised, and is currently on a world tour with The Who performing their groundbreaking rock opera, Quadrophenia, for its 40th Anniversary.

The TEC Awards will be held on the second night of the NAMM Show and is expected to attract more than 1,000 audio and music professionals from around the world. Proceeds of the ceremony provide scholarships for students of the audio arts and sciences, and support programs promoting safe hearing in the music environment, an issue of special importance to Townshend.