40 years on from the tragic incident that shook the very foundation of rock music, members of The Who have spoken on camera about the infamous crowd crush disaster of 1979.

Back in 1979, The Who were still very much one of the biggest and wildest bands on the planet. Having not toured since 1976, the group were a bit worse for wear considering the recent passing of drummer Keith Moon, but fans were keen to see the group hit the live stage once again.

Touring in support of their The Kids Are Alright and Quadrophenia films, the band hit the road in London in early May, before the rest of the year saw tour dates in the rest of Europe and the United States.

On December 3rd, 1979 though, the group took to the stage at the Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati, Ohio for what should have been a regular performance. Unfortunately though, this show would end in tragedy with 11 fans being pronounced dead, and 26 receiving injuries, due to injuries sustained prior to the gig.

With over 18,000 tickets sold, a massive crowd had gathered to fill the GA section and catch the band performing live that evening, and when doors were not open past the reported time, some began to get a little bit anxious.

While some fans found themselves entering through a single set of doors, conflicting reports say either the band took to the stage for a late soundcheck, or that the Quadrophenia film had begun to play.

Whatever the case, an eager crowd soon surged forward, ultimately crushing many in attendance and leaving almost a dozen people between the ages of 15 and 27 dead.

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Check out ‘Substitute’ by The Who:

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“This is something I will surely remember on my death bed,” explained The Who guitarist Pete Townshend in The Night That Changed Rock, a new documentary that aired on Cincinnati TV on Tuesday night (via ABC News Radio).

“At 74, people are starting to die faster in my life now … I’ve only maybe got 20, 30, 40 people that I remember who’ve passed in my life I really care about, but you know, the 11 of Cincinnati are part of that number.

“It’s a weird thing to have in your autobiography that, you know, 11 kids died at one of your concerts. It’s a strange, disturbing, heavy load to carry.”

“That dreadful night of the third of December became one of the worst dreams I’ve had in my life,” adds vocalist Roger Daltrey.

Manager Bill Curbishley, who was at the event and did not tell the band about the incident until after the show, explained that the even still weighs on him.

“Despite everything, I still feel inadequate,” he explained. “I don’t know about the guys, but for me, I left a little bit of my soul in Cincinnati.”

“It was like being just hit with a bat,” Daltrey added. “We come off stage and we had done a wonderful show. It was a great show. One of the best we played on the tour.

“The crowd were incredible and then we were told what had happened before the show started. And that was like being whacked with a baseball bat around the head.”

A companion podcast to the documentary is also set to be released at some point today, and will feature interviews with survivors of the crowd crush along with band members.

Check out a trailer for the documentary about the incident:

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