If somebody asked you to name the best drummers, Keith Moon would be on the list. If someone asked you to name the best singers, Roger Daltrey would be on the list. If someone asked you to name the best bassist, John Entwistle would be on the list. If someone asked you to name the greatest songwriters and guitarists of all time , Pete Townshend would be on the list. Name ANY other band that can compare. There are none. Long live rock...long live the Who
As much as I love Zep and The Stones, I would put The Who above those two acts. The Who are the greatest band ever. The Beatles were a bit more pioneering in the studio, but The Who was the best live band ever. They were the most exciting live band ever. Their music was more challenging to play (Entwistle's basslines are still killer) than any of the other (first wave) British Invasion groups.
I also like U2. Their stuff from the 1980s is great. Not as good as The Who, but still good. My list is this - 1A - The Who; 1B - The Beatles; 1C - Pink Floyd. U2 is the last of the truly great, epic rock bands. (Coldplay could pick up the mantle, if they play their cards right in the coming years.)
I've loved The Who ever since the first time I heard "My Generation".They were always a great live band and I was more sad when I heard of Keith's death than I would have ever believed I could be.As much as I like Roger's singing,I don't really consider him a 'great singer'.His range is pretty limited,except for Rock singers,and his vocal quality is not always the best.Having said that,he is one of the better pure Rock singers around,even in 2008.As for Pete,he is and was an underrated guitarist and is probably the best writer of Rock songs next to Lennon/McCartney.The Ox was a great bass player and right up there with Paul McCartney as an innovator in bass playing in Rock bands.Paul's bass playing was innovative in that he brought a guitarist's sensibilities to the bass.John's was innovative simply because he had more imagination and better chops than almost any other Rock bassist.
The Who is certainly better than the Stones or Zeppelin. John Entwistle and Keith Moon were the best rhythm section a rock band ever had, and Pete Townshend is one of the ten best rock guitarists ever and a world-class songwriter. And live, they can still outsmoke everyone EXCEPT Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band.
The Beatles, however, remain the best STUDIO band of all time (certainly not live).