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You Better You Bet

“You Better You Bet” is a song by the British rock band The Who, appearing as the first track on their 1981 album Face Dances. It is sung by frontman Roger Daltrey with backing vocals from Pete Townshend and bassist John Entwistle. Townshend’s guitar part is played on a Rickenbacker 360/12.

“You Better You Bet” became a hit and one of The Who’s most recognizable songs. It was the last single by the band that reached the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100, reaching number 18. The track was at number one on the Billboard Top Tracks chart for five weeks beginning 4 April 1981.[1] It was also their last single to hit the Top Ten in the UK, peaking at number 9.

Won’t Get Fooled Again

“Won’t Get Fooled Again” is a song by the English rock band The Who, written by Pete Townshend. It was released as a single in June 1971, reaching the top 10 in the UK, while the full eight-and-a-half-minute version appears as the final track on the band’s 1971 album Who’s Next, released that August.

Townshend wrote the song as a closing number of the Lifehouse project, and the lyrics criticise revolution and power. To symbolise the spiritual connection he had found in music via the works of Meher Baba and Inayat Khan, he programmed a mixture of human traits into a synthesizer and used it as the main backing instrument throughout the song. The Who tried recording the song in New York in March 1971, but re-recorded a superior take at Stargroves the next month using the synthesizer from Townshend’s original demo. Ultimately, Lifehouse as a project was abandoned in favour of Who’s Next, a straightforward album, where it also became the closing track. The song has been performed as a staple of the band’s setlist since 1971, often as the set closer, and was the last track drummer Keith Moon played live with the band.

As well as a hit, the song has achieved critical praise, appearing as one of Rolling Stone’s The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It has been covered by several artists, such as Van Halen who took their version to No. 1 on the Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart. It has been used for several TV shows and films, and in some political campaigns.

Who Are You (song)

“Who Are You”, composed by Pete Townshend, is the title track on The Who’s 1978 album, Who Are You, the last album released before drummer Keith Moon’s death in September 1978. It was released as a double-A sided single with the John Entwistle composition “Had Enough”, also featured on the album. The song became one of the band’s biggest hits in North America, peaking at number 7 in Canada and at number 14 in the US. The keyboard pieces on the track are played by Rod Argent.

Waspman

“Waspman” is a mainly instrumental song by The Who, credited to their drummer Keith Moon. The song is the B-side to The Who’s single “Relay” (entitled “The Relay” in the United States).

The song is supposedly a tribute to Link Wray, who became famous for his 1958 instrumental hit “Rumble” by Link Wray and his Ray Men. He introduced “the power chord, the major modus operandi of modern rock guitarists” such as Pete Townshend of The Who.[2]

It is thought that John Entwistle wrote the song but gave the credit to Moon, as all members of The Who were supposed to write at least two B-sides, although Roger Daltrey only wrote one, “Here for More”, the B-side for “The Seeker” in 1970.

The Who only performed the song live once (June 10, 1974 at New York’s Madison Square Garden). The Who – My Generation/Waspman – New York 1974 (17, 18)

Trick of the Light (The Who song)

“Trick of the Light” is a song written by bassist John Entwistle for The Who’s eighth studio album, Who Are You. It was released as the second single from the album, atypically with another Entwistle song, “905” on the B-side, but did not chart.[2]

The lyrics describe fear of being sexually inadequate in the face of a prostitute.[3][4] The singer wants to have an emotional connection with the prostitute but she only sees him as dehumanized and recognizes his sexual insecurity.[2] He is concerned that he didn’t bring her “to the height of ecstasy.”[5] It features a guitar-like assault throughout the song, described by Pete Townshend as sounding like “a musical Mack truck”[1] and is actually Entwistle’s heavily distorted eight-string Alembic bass.[2][4] Chris Charlesworth feels that the bass dominates the song to an extent that none of the other elements of the song matter.[4] Who biographer John Atkins says the song has a “muscular texture” and is “fully realized” but that it represents an “orthodox heavy rock format” that the band usually shunned.[2] The Who FAQ author Mike Segretto considers it one of Entwistle’s “catchier songs,” attributing its lack of chart success to its being “too heavy” and “too mean” for the 1977 singles chart.[5] Segretto considers the song to be underrated, finding humor in the situation but stating that “genuine vulnerability makes the song more than a good giggle and undercuts the performance’s cock-rock attitude.”[5] But it was not a favorite of Who lead singer Roger Daltrey, who complained that it went “on and on and on and on.”[5]

It was performed occasionally on The Who’s 1979 tour with Entwistle on eight-string and Townshend playing one of Entwistle’s Alembic basses used on the 1975-1976 tours. It made its return to the setlist in 1989, with Townshend originally on electric guitar on the two Toronto dates in June and acoustic guitar for the rest of the tour. It was disliked by Roger Daltrey, who thought that although it had clever lyrics, it was too long.[1] On the original recording and in its 1979/1980 performances, Daltrey sang the lead vocal; in 1989 Entwistle sang it. “Trick of the Light” was included in the two-disc edition of The Who Hits 50!.

Tattoo (The Who song)

“Tattoo” is a song written by Pete Townshend that was first released by The Who on their 1967 album The Who Sell Out. A “rite of passage” song, “Tattoo” tells the story of two teenaged brothers who decide to get tattoos in their attempts to become men. Themes of the song include peer pressure to conform and young men’s insecurity about their manhood. The song has been heavily praised by critics and has appeared on several of The Who’s live and compilation albums. It has also been covered by Tommy Keene and Petra Haden.

Substitute (The Who song)

“Substitute” is a song by the English rock band The Who, written by Pete Townshend. Released in March 1966, the single reached number five in the UK and was later included on the compilation album Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy in 1971.[4] In 2006, Pitchfork ranked “Substitute” at number ninety-one on the “200 Greatest Songs of the 1960s”.[5]

“Substitute” was primarily inspired by the 1965 soul single “The Tracks of My Tears” by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. Pete Townshend became obsessed, particularly, with the line, “Although she may be cute/She’s just a substitute.” This had then led Townshend “to celebrate the word with a song all its own.”[6]

For the American single, released in April 1966, the line in the chorus “I look all white but my dad was black” was amended to “I try walking forward but my feet walk back.”[4] The complete second verse and chorus were also erased from the US release, reducing the track’s length to two minutes and fifty-nine seconds.[7]

Squeeze Box (song)

“Squeeze Box” is a song by The Who from their album The Who by Numbers. Written by Pete Townshend, the lyrics are couched in sexual double entendres. Unlike many of the band’s other hits, the song features country-like elements, seen in Townshend’s guitar finger picking.

“Squeeze Box” was a commercial success, peaking at number 10 on the UK Singles Chart and number 16 in the US Billboard Hot 100. The song is also their only international number-one hit, reaching number one in Canada, and reached number two on the Irish singles chart.

So Sad About Us

“So Sad About Us” is a 1966 song by British rock band The Who, first released on the band’s second album A Quick One. Originally written for The Merseys, “So Sad About Us” has likely been covered more frequently than any other song on the album; according to the All Music Guide, it is “one of the Who’s most covered songs”.[1] Shaun Cassidy, Primal Scream, The Breeders, and most notably The Jam and Dexter Romweber Duo (with backup vocal by Mary Huff of Southern Culture on the Skids) are among the many artists who have recorded studio versions of the song.

Beyond the sheer number of covers, it is also one of The Who’s most frequently imitated songs. As the aforementioned AMG put it, it is “an archetypal early Who song” and “hundreds of bands have based their entire careers on this one song”. With its ringing guitars, Beach Boys-styled harmonies, crashing drums, and lovelorn lyrics, it is one of the early forebears of the power pop genre, along with other early Who staples such as “I Can’t Explain” and “The Kids Are Alright”.

Love, Reign o’er Me

“Love, Reign o’er Me” (where the synth strings were heard), subtitled “Pete’s Theme”, is a song by English rock band The Who. Written and composed by guitarist and songwriter Pete Townshend, it was released on 27 October 1973 as the second single from the band’s sixth studio album and second rock opera, Quadrophenia. It is the final song on the album, and has been a concert staple for years. The song peaked at number 76 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 54 on Cash Box.[1]

Pictures of Lily

“Pictures of Lily” is a single by the British rock band The Who, written by guitarist and primary songwriter Pete Townshend. It was released in 1967 as a single, and made the top five in the UK, but failed to break into the top 50 in the United States. In 1971, “Pictures of Lily” was included in the Who album Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy, a compilation of previously released singles.

Townshend coined the term “power pop” when he used it to describe the song in a May 1967 interview with NME.[2]

Pinball Wizard

“Pinball Wizard” is a song written by Pete Townshend and performed by the English rock band The Who, and featured on their 1969 rock opera album Tommy. The original recording was released as a single in 1969 and reached No. 4 in the UK charts and No. 19 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

The B-side of the “Pinball Wizard” single is an instrumental credited to Keith Moon, titled “Dogs (Part Two)”. Despite similar titles it has no musical connection to The Who’s 1968 UK single “Dogs”.

Postcard (The Who song)

“Postcard” is a song by the Who, written by the band’s bassist John Entwistle. It appears on the Who’s album Odds & Sods.

Released as a single, in the United States, it reached the Cash Box charts on November 23, 1974, peaking at No. 64.[citation needed] It was the first song written by Entwistle that was released as the A-side of a Who single.[1]

John Entwistle said about the album:

“We thought we’d just have a go at some of these bootlegs. They release really bad bootlegs of these songs all the time. I’ve heard three of them which were made in the States and they’re really bad quality. They obviously will last only about three plays before the acetate disintegrates. We thought it was about time we released a bootleg of our own. I tried to arrange it like a parallel sort of Who career — what singles we might have released and what album tracks we might have released.”[citation needed]

Pete Townshend said about the song:

“‘Postcard is a John Entwistle song about touring on the road. He describes in luscious detail the joys and delights of such romantic venues as Australia (pause to fight off temporary attack of nausea), America (pause to count the money) and, of course, that country of the mysterious and doubting customs official, Germany (pause, whether they like it or not, for ‘God Save The Queen’). Listen out for the field sound effects ACTUALLY RECORDED IN THE COUNTRIES WE TOURED. ‘Postcard’ was originally recorded in my house for a maxi single. They were EPs that only cost as much as a single. Ours unfortunately never got released.

I engineered this one with one hand on the controls and the other on the guitar. That’s why I only play one chord throughout the whole song.”[2]

The Who FAQ author Mike Segretto describes it as “a fun travelogue of the Who’s roadwork, penned with the droll wit we’ve come to expect from John Entwistle.”[1] The lyrics tell the various countries the band had visited on tour.[3] Chris Charlesworth describes the song as having an “up tempo rock rhythm.”[3]

“Postcard” was originally recorded for potential release on a maxi single in 1970, but that version only ended up being released in Japan.[1][3] For the version released on Odds & Sods, Entwistle remixed the song and recorded a new bass guitar part.[1]

See Me, Feel Me

“See Me, Feel Me” is a single from The Who’s 1969 album Tommy. It consists of two overture parts from Tommy, the second and third parts of the album’s final song “We’re Not Gonna Take It”: “See Me, Feel Me” and “Listening To You”. It was released as a single in September 1970. The single isn’t identified as a separate track on the 1969 studio version of the album.

The Who performed “See Me, Feel Me”, followed by the refrain of “Listening To You”, at the 1969 Woodstock Festival. This was captured on film in Woodstock (1970) and The Kids Are Alright (1979). “See Me, Feel Me” was also released as a single in the United States to capitalise on its appearance in the Woodstock film.[1] Entering the charts on 23 September 1970, it reached number 12 on the Pop Singles Chart.[2] It was also released in the United Kingdom but did not chart there.

The band performed this song at the Closing Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games in London on Sunday 12 August 2012, along with “Baba O’Riley” and “My Generation”.

The Real Me (The Who song)

“The Real Me” is a song written by Pete Townshend on The Who’s second full-scale rock opera, Quadrophenia in 1973. This is the second track on the album, although it is the first with lyrics. It concerns a boy named Jimmy, a young English Mod with four distinct personalities. The song describes how he angrily deals with several individuals to identify “the real me”.

The song features a virtuoso bass performance by John Entwistle. According to a 1996 interview with Entwistle by Goldmine Magazine, the bass part was recorded on the first take. Entwistle claimed he was “joking around” when he played the part, but the band loved it and used it in the final version.[1]

Aside from the verses about the psychiatrist, mother and preacher, Townshend’s original demo of the song on his solo album Scoop 3 includes another verse about rock and roll in general. The arrangement of the song is also much slower than what it would end up as in Quadrophenia.

Townshend has always referred to it as “Can You See the Real Me”, rather than the more accepted abbreviated title.

Real Good Looking Boy

“Real Good Looking Boy” is a song written by the guitarist of the British rock band The Who, Pete Townshend. It was originally released in 2004 on the compilation album Then and Now, and was one of two new songs on that album, the other being “Old Red Wine”. Together, they were the first new songs released by the Who for 15 years. It was later released as an edited single backed with the aforementioned song. “Real Good Looking Boy” was later performed in the 2007 rock musical The Boy Who Heard Music.[1]

The Quiet One (The Who song)

“The Quiet One” is a song by The Who, written by bassist John Entwistle. It is one of two Entwistle contributions to The Who’s first album without Keith Moon, Face Dances. Entwistle’s other contribution to Face Dances is “You”, with Roger Daltrey on lead vocals.

“The Quiet One” is also a B-side for the first single from Face Dances, “You Better You Bet”.

“You Better You Bet” reached number 18 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 1 on the Billboard Top (Rock) Tracks, and number 9 in the UK.[1]

The song was written by John Entwistle to replace his song “My Wife” (from Who’s Next) on tour, and he did so for the years of 1981 and The Who’s Tour of 1982. However, in following tours, this song was never played again; “My Wife” was brought back.

Entwistle said about the song:

“It’s me trying to explain that I’m not really quiet. I started off being quiet and that’s the pigeon hole I’ve been stuck in all these years. It started when I heard Kenney playing a drum riff and I thought ‘that would be really great for a song and give Kenney a chance to play that on stage.’ So I got Kenney to put down about three minutes of that and I worked along with it and came up with the chorus of ‘A Quiet One.’ I wrote ‘Quiet One’ especially to replace ‘My Wife’ onstage. I had gotten tired of singing that and ‘Boris The Spider.'”[2]

 

The Ox (instrumental)

“The Ox” is an instrumental piece by The Who. It was on their debut album My Generation. It was improvised by Pete Townshend, John Entwistle, Keith Moon and keyboardist Nicky Hopkins. This track appears as the b-side of “The Kids Are Alright” on the single’s UK release. The song was also on the compilation album Thirty Years of Maximum R&B. A jingle based on this song exists, and was released as “Top Gear” on both reissues of The Who Sell Out.[3]

The song was very rarely played live by The Who. The band may have played it in 1965 and 1966 while the album was still fresh, though no live recordings of the song are known to exist. The only known live appearance of this song was in a medley of “My Generation” at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Netherlands on 29 September 1969, part of the Tommy tour.

Rolling Stone Magazine’s John Swenson described “The Ox” and “My Generation” to be “sonic marvels of the time” due to Townshend’s feedback technique on these songs.[4]

Overture (The Who song)

“Overture” is a song by English rock band The Who, written by Pete Townshend. The track is one of three instrumental tracks released on Tommy, although it does feature some lyrics towards the end; the other two being “Underture” and “Sparks”.

On 9 October 1970 song was released as the b-side of “See Me, Feel Me” – which did not chart – and was titled “Overture from Tommy”.[1]

Real Good Looking Boy

“Real Good Looking Boy” is a song written by the guitarist of the British rock band The Who, Pete Townshend. It was originally released in 2004 on the compilation album Then and Now, and was one of two new songs on that album, the other being “Old Red Wine”. Together, they were the first new songs released by the Who for 15 years. It was later released as an edited single backed with the aforementioned song. “Real Good Looking Boy” was later performed in the 2007 rock musical The Boy Who Heard Music.[1]

Mary Anne with the Shaky Hand

“Mary Anne with the Shaky Hand” is a song written by Pete Townshend and first released on The Who’s 1967 album The Who Sell Out. Four different recordings have been released by The Who. The best known version of the song has acoustic guitar and an arrangement using Latin percussion instruments. The song has ambiguous lyrics that have been subject to a variety of interpretations. It was later performed by a number of other artists.

Let’s See Action

“Let’s See Action” is a song written and composed by Pete Townshend and recorded by The Who. It was released as a single in the UK in 1971 and reached #16 in the charts.

The song is one of many tributes by Pete Townshend to Meher Baba, others being “Baba O’Riley” and “Don’t Let Go the Coat”.[citation needed]

The song is the first of three non-album singles by the The Who,[1] and came from the abortive Lifehouse project.[2] Pete Townshend’s demo version, which appears on his first major label solo album Who Came First as “Nothing Is Everything (Let’s See Action)”, is longer than the version on the single and contains the additional lines, “Rumor has it minds are open. Then rumors fill them up with lies.”[3] The band’s bassist, John Entwistle, said that the track was Pete Townshend “Trying to talk to the kids in general.”[1] According to The Who’s biographer John Atkins, the song takes ideas from the teachings of Meher Baba, encompassing “Soul searching and the utilization of positive impulses from within.”[4]

My Generation (album)

My Generation is the debut studio album by the English rock band The Who, released by Brunswick Records in the United Kingdom on 3 December 1965. In the United States, it was released by Decca Records as The Who Sings My Generation in April 1966, with a different cover and a slightly altered track listing.[1]

The album was made immediately after the Who got their first singles on the charts and according to the booklet in the Deluxe Edition, it was later dismissed by the band as something of a rush job that did not accurately represent their stage performance of the time. On the other hand, critics often rate it as one of the best rock albums of all time.

It’s Hard (song)

“It’s Hard” is a song written by Pete Townshend that featured on British rock band The Who’s tenth album, It’s Hard, of which it was the title track. It was released as the third and final vinyl single from the album in 1983, backed with the John Entwistle written song “Dangerous”, but failed to chart, although it reached number 39 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks.[2] This would become the last Who single of new material until “Real Good Looking Boy” in 2004, and the last album single by them until “Black Widow’s Eyes”, two years later.

I’m Free (The Who song)

“I’m Free” is a song written by Pete Townshend and performed by The Who on the album Tommy. The song has since been released as a single, becoming one of the best known tracks from Tommy.

Pete Townshend has claimed that the song was partly inspired by the song “Street Fighting Man” by The Rolling Stones.

‘I’m Free’ came from ‘Street Fighting Man.’ This has a weird time/shape and when I finally discovered how it went, I thought ‘well blimey, it can’t be that simple,’ but it was and it was a gas and I wanted to do it myself.

— Pete Townshend[3][4]

On “I’m Free,” drummer Keith Moon only played on the breaks of the song. According to bassist John Entwistle, Moon was unable to perform the intro the way Townshend wanted, resulting in Townshend and Entwistle having to perform part of the drums. During live performances, Townshend and Entwistle were forced to signal Moon to play the song by making giant steps.

On ‘I’m Free’, me and Pete had to play the drums and Keith played the breaks because he couldn’t get the intro. He was hearing it differently from how we were, and he couldn’t shake it off. So we put down the snare, the hi-hat and the tambourine part and he came in and added all the breaks. When we did it live, the only way to bring him in was for Pete and I to go like this [makes an exaggerated step], which must have looked completely nuts.

— John Entwistle[4]

Within the plot of the album, “I’m Free” tells of Tommy’s vision to spiritually enlighten others due to his sudden and immense popularity. The “Pinball Wizard” riff (earlier on the album) appears at the end of the song during the “How can we follow?” part. Townshend has since noted “I’m Free” and “Pinball Wizard” as “songs of the quiet explosion of divinity. They just rolled off the pen.”[4]

“I’m Free” was later released as a single in most of Europe (backed with “Tommy, Can You Hear Me?”) as well as America (where it was backed with “We’re Not Gonna Take It”). The single reached number 37 in the US on the Billboard Hot 100.[5] It also reached number 20 in the Netherlands.[6]

I’m One

“I’m One” is a song by The Who. It was released on the group’s 1973 rock opera album Quadrophenia. Written and sung by Pete Townshend, the song has since become a fan favorite.[1]

“I’m One” is one of the main moments of introspection spread throughout the narrative and also a sign that Jimmy may not be as Mod as he appears, given the way he asks a fellow Mod where he got his clothes. (Mods would lose face asking another Mod where he got his clothes.) Pete Townshend said of the song’s lyrical inspiration:

When I was a nipper I felt that the guitar was all I had. I wasn’t tough enough to be in a gang, I wasn’t good looking enough to be in with the birds, not clever enough to make it at school, not good enough on my feet to be good football player, I was a fucking loser. I think everyone feels that way at some point. And somehow being a Mod – even though I was too old to be a Mod really – I wrote this song with that in mind. Jimmy, the hero of the story, is kinda thinking he hasn’t got much going for him but at least he’s one.[2]

The song features an acoustic opening followed by the rest of the band (excluding singer Roger Daltrey) joining in.

“I’m One” was one of the ten original Quadrophenia tracks to appear in remixed form on the soundtrack to the Who’s 1979 film Quadrophenia, which was based on the original rock opera. This version of the song also saw single release as the B-side to the 1979 remixed single release of “5.15.”

The song is featured on the soundtrack for Freaks and Geeks in the episode Dead Dogs and Gym Teachers, which featured many of the Who’s songs.

This song was performed first on the band’s original 1973-1974 Quadrophenia Tour, but it was never performed with Moon again afterwards. It made sporadic appearances in the 1981 (only once), 1982 (only the first verse; as an intro to “The Punk and the Godfather”) and 1989 tours as well. It was then brought back for every concert on the 1996-1997 Quadrophenia Tour. Performances after that, from 2000 onward, were often performed by Pete Townshend alone on stage (although some feature the full band).

I’m a Boy

“I’m a Boy” is a 1966 rock song written by Pete Townshend for The Who. The song, like other early recordings by the band, such as “I Can’t Explain”, “The Kids Are Alright” and “Happy Jack”, centers on the early power pop genre. The song was originally intended to be a part of a rock opera called ‘Quads’ which was to be set in the future where parents can choose the sex of their children. The idea was later scrapped, but this song survived and was later released as a single.

The song is about a family who “order” four girls, but a mistake is made and three girls and one boy are delivered instead. The boy dreams of partaking in sports and other boy-type activities, but his mother forces him to act like his sisters and refuses to believe the truth (“I’m a boy, I’m a boy, but my Mum won’t admit it”). The track was produced by Kit Lambert at IBC Studios around 31 July – 1 August 1966 and released just over three weeks later on 26 August 1966 with “In the City” as the B-side. The single was successful, reaching number 2 in the UK singles chart. It failed to repeat that success in the US.

The original recording (released as a single) which features John Entwistle’s French horn arrangement prominently in the mix is available on the album Who’s Missing.[1] The version included on most compilations, since the 1966 release, is exactly the same recording, with French horns removed.

A different, slower version was recorded in London in the week of 3 October 1966 and was intended for an early version of A Quick One titled Jigsaw Puzzle but was later released on Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy in 1971. Another similar version was released on a bonus disc of The Ultimate Collection in 2002 and is unique to that album.

The song was performed at The Who’s legendary concert at Leeds, released in album format as Live at Leeds. On the Live at Leeds album, Pete Townshend comments on the song by saying:

“              We’d like to play three selected hit singles–three easiest…and “I’m a Boy” which according to the, (crowd cheers) thank you, according to the Melody Maker was our first number one in England I think for about a half an hour (crowd laughs).                ”

The single’s B-side, “In the City”, inspired The Jam’s song of the same name. The latter borrows its chord progression and a part of its lyrics from the Who song.

The Who by Numbers

The Who by Numbers is the seventh studio album by the English rock band The Who, released on 3 October 1975 in the United Kingdom through Polydor Records, and on 6 October 1975 in the United States by MCA Records. It was named the tenth-best album of the year in The Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics poll.[1]

Pete Townshend has claimed that the band recorded practically every song he had written for The Who by Numbers, partially due to a writer’s block that he was experiencing at the time.[2] The songs on the album were, for the most part, more introspective and personal than many other songs that the band had released. Townshend had his 30th birthday in May 1975 and was struggling with the idea of being too old to play rock-and-roll and that the band were losing their relevance.[3] He began to feel disenchanted with the music industry, a feeling that he carried into his songs. He said of the songs on the album:

[The songs] were written with me stoned out of my brain in my living room, crying my eyes out… detached from my own work and from the whole project… I felt empty.[3]

After concluding the album tour for Quadrophenia in June 1974, The Who took an extended hiatus and did not perform live for more than a year. John Entwistle kept himself occupied by playing solo gigs. In addition, the band spent this time filming a movie based on the Tommy rock opera.

Heaven and Hell (The Who song)

“Heaven and Hell” is a song by English rock band The Who written by group bassist John Entwistle. The studio version (originally recorded for an April 1970 BBC session), which appeared on the B-side of the live “Summertime Blues” single, is currently available only on the Thirty Years of Maximum R&B boxed set, though several live versions of the song exist on official releases. The song was one of many Entwistle B-side singles and one of his live staples.

Happy Jack (song)

“Happy Jack” is a song by the British rock band The Who. It was released as a single in December 1966 in the UK, peaking at No. 3 in the charts.[1] It peaked at No. 1 in Canada. It was also their first top 40 hit in the United States, where it was released in March 1967 and peaked at No. 24.[1] It was included on the American version of their second album, Happy Jack, originally titled A Quick One in the UK.

The song features Roger Daltrey on lead vocals with John Entwistle singing the first verse, making it one of the few songs composed by Pete Townshend to feature Entwistle on lead vocals. Author Mike Segretto describes Daltrey’s vocal as “imitating Burl Ives.”[2] At the tail end of “Happy Jack”, Townshend can be heard shouting “I saw you!”, and it is said that he was noticing drummer Keith Moon trying to join in surreptitiously to add his voice to the recording, something the rest of the band disliked.[3][4] Rolling Stone Magazine critic Dave Marsh calls this line “the hippest thing” about the song.[4]

According to some sources, Townshend reported the song is about a man who slept on the beach near where Townshend vacationed as a child. Children on the beach would laugh at the man and once buried him in the sand. However, the man never seemed to mind and only smiled in response. According to Marsh, “the lyric is basically a fairy tale, not surprisingly, given the link’s to Pete’s childhood.[4]

Greg Littmann interprets the song as a possible reaction to alienation, as Jack allows “the cruelty of other people slide off his back.”[5]

Despite its chart success, Who biographer Greg Atkins describes the song as being the band’s weakest single to that point.[1] Daltrey reportedly thought the song sounded like a “German oompah song.”[2] But Chris Charlesworth praised the “high harmonies, quirky subject matter” and “fat bass and drums that suspend belief.[3] Charlesworth particularly praised Moon’s drumming for carrying not just the beat, but also the melody itself, in what he calls “startlingly original fashion.”[3] Marsh states that although the song contained little that the band had not done before, it did “what the band did well,” giving the “soaring harmonies, enormously fat bass notes, thunderous drumming” and the guitar riffs as examples.[4]

Had Enough (The Who song)

“Had Enough” is a song written by The Who bassist John Entwistle, and featured on their eighth studio album, Who Are You. It was also released as a double A-sided single with “Who Are You”, making it Entwistle’s second single A-side, after “Postcard” from Odds & Sods in 1974.

Like “905”, “Had Enough” was planned to feature on a rock opera in the process of being written by Entwistle, but was never finished. It was written a long time before work was started on Who Are You. The lyrics describe the main character of the failed rock opera, 905, finally snapping under the pressure and stress of his life.[2]

“Had Enough” saw single release as a double-A side single with “Who Are You” in 1978 prior to the Who Are You album’s release. Despite this, “Had Enough” received far less radio airplay than “Who Are You.” Entwistle later joked that most people probably thought the song was a B-side because it said “Entwistle” on it.[3] It was never performed live by the Who, although it featured in many of Entwistle’s solo concerts.[4]

My Generation (album)

My Generation is the debut studio album by the English rock band The Who, released by Brunswick Records in the United Kingdom on 3 December 1965. In the United States, it was released by Decca Records as The Who Sings My Generation in April 1966, with a different cover and a slightly altered track listing.[1]

The album was made immediately after the Who got their first singles on the charts and according to the booklet in the Deluxe Edition, it was later dismissed by the band as something of a rush job that did not accurately represent their stage performance of the time. On the other hand, critics often rate it as one of the best rock albums of all time.

Going Mobile

“Going Mobile” is a song written by Pete Townshend and originally released by The Who on their 1971 album Who’s Next. It was originally written for Townshend’s abandoned Lifehouse project, with lyrics celebrating the joy of having a mobile home and being able to travel the open road. The Who’s lead singer Roger Daltrey did not take part in the recording of the song, leaving the rest of the band to record it as a power trio; Townshend handles the lead vocals, guitars, and synthesizers, with John Entwistle on bass and Keith Moon on drums. The song has attracted mixed reviews from music critics.

Getting in Tune

“Getting in Tune” is a song written by Pete Townshend and originally released by The Who on their 1971 album Who’s Next. It was originally written as part of Townshend’s abandoned Lifehouse project. Its lyrics describe the power of music, as well as reflect the inner contradictions Townshend was feeling at the time between his spiritual needs and his persona as a rock star. The music incorporates a number of changes in tempo and has been praised by critics for its use of dynamics.

Eminence Front

“Eminence Front” is a song written and sung by Pete Townshend of The Who. It appears as the sixth track on the group’s 1982 studio album, It’s Hard. The single reached number 68 on the Billboard Hot 100.[1] It is the only song from the album that the band has opted to play live after the initial post-release tours. Lead singer Roger Daltrey, vocally critical of the album, described “Eminence Front” as the only song on it that he felt was worthy of being released.[2]

Dreaming from the Waist

“Dreaming from the Waist” is a song by The Who, written by Pete Townshend and released on the group’s 1975 album The Who by Numbers (reissued in 1996); it also served as the B-side of the “Slip Kid” single, released in 1976 in the United States. The track’s lyrics deal with sexual frustration and the restlessness associated with getting older (Townshend had turned 30 in 1975), while the music features a bass solo from John Entwistle.

A live version recorded in Swansea, Wales on 12 June 1976 appears on the The Who by Numbers reissue and the Thirty Years of Maximum R&B box set, while the 9 December 1975 version from Cleveland was included in the Thirty Years of Maximum R&B Live video and DVD. In an interview from Thirty Years of Maximum R&B Live, Townshend declared “Dreaming from the Waist” as one of his least favorite songs to play onstage (referring to it as a “fresh turd” at the conclusion of song’s performance at the band’s one-off show at Kilburn in December 1977); in humorous contrast, John Entwistle, claimed in the same series of interviews that “Dreaming from the Waist” was one of his favorite songs to perform.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (The Who song)

“Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” is a song by English rock band, The Who. It was written by the band’s bassist, John Entwistle.

The song was about drummer Keith Moon’s drinking problems. This would be the first of two songs from The Who written about Keith Moon, the second being “Doctor Jimmy” from the album Quadrophenia. Who biographer John Atkins calls it “a macabre tribute to Keith Moon.”[1]

“Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” has been compared to a Hammer horror film.[2][1] The lyrics describe the good and evil elements within a single character, as in Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” story.[1] The music incorporates a “scarey opening” and has a melody led by Entwistle’s bass guitar line, which Chris Charlesworth describes as “menacing” and Atkins describes as “grinding.”[2][1] It also contains a French horn solo that Charlesworth describes as “spooky.”[2] Atkins describes the melody as being “strongly inventive.”[1]

“Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” had been considered as a possible single release, along with “Call Me Lightning,” but it was released the B-side of “Call Me Lightning” instead.[1] Atkins laments this decision, stating that although its horror film imagery was not ideal for a single, it was far better than “Call Me Lightning.”[1] He considers it one of Entwistle’s best songs, saying that the “music and performance combine to create a perfectly chilling horror-comic Gothic mood piece.”[1] Charlesworth states that the song “succeeds admirably.”[2]

Two very different versions of this song exist.[3] The first one, running 2:24, is the B-Side to the US single “Call Me Lightning”. It is still available on the 1968 compilation album Magic Bus: The Who on Tour. The second version, which exceeds the former’s length by 14 seconds, was the B-Side to the UK single “Magic Bus”. This version has a more prominent guitar line, as well as spooky “Mr. Hyde” effects (the voice John Entwistle had used in chorus of the song “Boris the Spider”) and can be found on the Japanese release of the Who’s Missing/Two’s Missing compilation released in 2011.

This song, as well as “Boris the Spider” and “Silas Stingy” all had lyrics that suited children.

Kit Lambert had the idea of making a kids’ album composed entirely of songs like these, but it never saw the light of day.

Don’t Let Go the Coat

“Don’t Let Go the Coat” is a song written by Pete Townshend and first released on The Who’s 1981 album Face Dances.

It was released as a single following up on the first single from Face Dances, “You Better You Bet”, but did not achieve the same success, reaching number 47 in the UK and number 84 in the US.[2][3][4] It has also been released on several compilation albums, and Pete Townshend himself released an alternate version of the song on his album Another Scoop.[5][6]

Dogs (The Who song)

“Dogs” is a UK single released by The Who in June 1968.[1] It reached number 25 on the UK singles chart, lower than any single the band had released in several years.[2][3] The B-side of the UK single was “Call Me Lightning”. Both songs were originally released mixed in mono only, as they were not intended for album release.

The lyrics of “Dogs” were inspired by Townshend’s friend Chris Morphet who had a fascination with greyhound racing. Morphet contributes harmonica and backing vocals. It was recorded at London’s Advision Studios in May 1968. Townshend booked this studio as it was the first in the UK to install professional reel-to-reel eight-track equipment. Prior to this The Who had only recorded in the U.K. at studios with a maximum of four tracks.

Uncut magazine describes the song as “mockney music-hall.”[4] The lyrics describe a love story set at a dog rate track and deal with such working-class activities as gambling, drinking beer and eating meat pies.[4][3] Uncut praised its whimsy, imaginative arrangement and “tumultuous rhythm.”[4] Who biographer John Atkins praises its “soaring melodies, interesting chord changes and irresistible hook lines” and particularly praises “one really tremendous descending melody” at the 2:28 mark.[3] Atkins claims that it is “probably the most underrated song ever released by The Who” and goes so far as to state that it “can be seen as a masterpiece of 1960s pop.”[3] On the contrary, author Mat Snow described the song as “amusing and zany but melodically unfocused.”[2]

The song was not a major commercial success at the time of its release, perhaps because of its rather bizarre and campy style. Several commentators have suggested that the song was influenced by the music of the Small Faces, particularly their song “Lazy Sunday,” which had been a recent hit.[4][3] Entwistle later said that it sounded much more like the Small Faces and suggested that it would have perhaps been better for both groups if they had recorded it instead. Roger Daltrey concurred, stating that the song was Pete Townshend’s “tribute to Ronnie Lane” and that “it’d have been better if Pete had just given the song to Ronnie in the first place. As a Who record, it was all a bit frivolous for me.”[4] Pete said in the notes to the 1974 LP Odds & Sods that this was one of the songs recorded during a period when the group went “slightly mad.” The song contains both singing and spoken sections and has vocal contributions from three members of the group, Roger, Pete and John. It includes the memorable closing phrase, “Nice dog, yes, lovely form, lovely buttocks”, spoken by Pete.

A subsequent song “Dogs (Part Two)” was later released as the B-side of “Pinball Wizard” in 1969.[4] Despite the titles the two songs are musically unrelated.[4] “Dogs (Part Two)” is an instrumental credited to Keith Moon. Both “Dogs” songs were included on the 1987 U.S. collection Two’s Missing. That album is out of print, but “Dogs” is available in a 1990s era stereo remix on the box set 30 Years of Maximum R&B; a stereo mix of “Dogs (Part Two)” was included on the bonus disc of the Tommy deluxe edition in 2003. It was once again released in mono as it was included in the two-disc edition of The Who Hits 50!.

Magic Bus: The Who on Tour

Magic Bus: The Who on Tour was the fourth American album by British rock band The Who, released in the US in September 1968 to capitalize on the success of their single of the same name.[1] It is a compilation album of previously released material, and was not issued in the UK, although the album was also released at approximately the same time in Canada. It peaked at #39 on the Billboard 200.[2]

The somewhat deceptive title implies that the songs were recorded live, but all recordings here are in fact studio tracks. The album’s track list duplicates a few songs from the second and third US albums, but also contains singles tracks and tracks from extended play singles that were previously unavailable on a US album. Members of the group (Pete Townshend in particular) have frequently expressed their dislike of this compilation. When the cover pictures were taken the group was not made aware by Decca that the shots would be used for a US album. Immediately following the modest success of this album, a similar but unrelated Who compilation, Direct Hits, was released in the UK by Track Records.

In 1974, the album was re-issued by MCA Records in the US and Canada as part of a budget priced double album set which also included the 1966 US debut The Who Sings My Generation. It was reissued on compact disc by MCA Records in the 1980s, but was not included among the catalogue remastering that took place in the 1990s. Though out of print in the US, the 1980s CD remains available in Canada.[citation needed]

Boris the Spider

“Boris the Spider” is a song written by The Who’s bass guitarist, John Entwistle. It appears as the second track of their 1966 album A Quick One. This song is claimed to be Entwistle’s first composition, and became a staple of live shows.[1] This song, along with “My Wife”, “Heaven and Hell” and “The Quiet One”, were Entwistle’s biggest songs to perform live. “The Quiet One” was written to replace this song and “My Wife”, which Entwistle had become quite tired of singing.[2] Though this song was popular, it was not released as a single in the US and the UK. In Japan, “Boris the Spider” was released as the B-side to “Whiskey Man” in 1967.

“Boris the Spider” was written after Entwistle had been out drinking with The Rolling Stones’ bass guitarist, Bill Wyman. They were making up funny names for animals when Entwistle came up with “Boris the Spider”. The song was written by Entwistle in six minutes and is considered a horror song.[3]

The chorus of “Boris the Spider” was sung in basso profundo by Entwistle, mimicking a popular Spike Milligan character, Throat, from The Goon Show, (which possibly helped give birth to the “death growl”), with a middle eight of “creepy crawly” sung in falsetto. These discordant passages and the black comedy of the theme made the song a stage favourite.

According to Pete Townshend in his song-by-song review of Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy for Rolling Stone, it was Jimi Hendrix’s favourite Who song.

Subsequent to A Quick One, the central riff appears again as an encore to The Who’s rendition of Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King recorded during the sessions for The Who Sell Out, but Entwistle sings “Radio London” instead. Although not released as part of the original listing of The Who Sell Out, the track appears on both the 1995 and 2009 reissues.

The Who by Numbers

The Who by Numbers is the seventh studio album by the English rock band The Who, released on 3 October 1975 in the United Kingdom through Polydor Records, and on 6 October 1975 in the United States by MCA Records. It was named the tenth-best album of the year in The Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics poll.[1]

Pete Townshend has claimed that the band recorded practically every song he had written for The Who by Numbers, partially due to a writer’s block that he was experiencing at the time.[2] The songs on the album were, for the most part, more introspective and personal than many other songs that the band had released. Townshend had his 30th birthday in May 1975 and was struggling with the idea of being too old to play rock-and-roll and that the band were losing their relevance.[3] He began to feel disenchanted with the music industry, a feeling that he carried into his songs. He said of the songs on the album:

[The songs] were written with me stoned out of my brain in my living room, crying my eyes out… detached from my own work and from the whole project… I felt empty.[3]

After concluding the album tour for Quadrophenia in June 1974, The Who took an extended hiatus and did not perform live for more than a year. John Entwistle kept himself occupied by playing solo gigs. In addition, the band spent this time filming a movie based on the Tommy rock opera.

Bell Boy (song)

“Bell Boy” is a song recorded by The Who for the 1973 album Quadrophenia and 1979 movie of the same name. It was never released as a single.

Besides the main lead vocal by frontman Roger Daltrey, the song features vocals by drummer Keith Moon (most of whose relatively few vocals for the band dated from the ’60s). Moon mostly talks (or sings) his lines in a cartoonish voice with an exaggerated Cockney accent; however the bridge and the last line are sung in his natural voice. The shouts of “Bell Boy” are the lines of Jimmy from the disgusted realization of what the Ace Face actually was, symbolic of the theme of disillusionment throughout the album.

Lyrically, this is the final straw for Jimmy, having just found out that the Ace-Face he had looked up to as a Mod was now a Bell Boy, working for everyone rather than ruling over everyone at the same Brighton hotel the Mods had smashed up back in 1963 (“I don’t suppose you would remember me/But I used to follow you back in ’63”). The previous lines (“Ain’t you the guy who used to set the paces/Riding up in front of a hundred faces”) refer to the “Hundred Faces”, a fan club set up by the Who’s managers Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp to promote the group in their early days.[2][3]

In the short story written by Townshend in the album’s libretto/liner notes, it is explained that Jimmy never thought he’d be let down by being a Mod (given everything else had let him down). Pete Townshend said of the song’s meaning:

He meets an old Ace Face who’s now a bellhop at the very hotel the Mods tore up. And he looks on Jimmy with a mixture of pity and contempt, really, and tells him, in effect, ‘Look, my job is shit and my life is a tragedy. But you – look at you, you’re dead!

— Pete Townshend[1]

Behind Blue Eyes

“Behind Blue Eyes” is a song by the English rock band The Who. It was released in October 1971 as the second single from their fifth album Who’s Next and was originally written by Pete Townshend for his Lifehouse project.[2][3] The song is one of The Who’s most well known recordings and has been covered by many artists.

“Behind Blue Eyes” originated after a Who concert in Denver on June 9th, 1970.[4] Following the performance, Townshend became tempted by a female groupie, but he instead went back to his room alone, possibly as a result of the teachings of his spiritual leader, Meher Baba.[5] Upon reaching his room, he began writing a prayer, the first words being “When my fist clenches, crack it open…” These words later appeared as lyrics in the “climactic rocking section” of “Behind Blue Eyes.”[5]

When “Behind Blue Eyes” was to be released as part of the aborted Lifehouse project, the song was sung from the point of view of the main villain, Jumbo. The lyrics are a first-person lament from Jumbo, who is always angry and full of angst because of all the pressure and temptation that surrounds him, and the song was intended to be his “theme song” had the project been successful. Pete Townshend said of the song’s lyrics:

Be Lucky

“Be Lucky” is a song by The Who, written by Pete Townshend and recorded for the band’s compilation album The Who Hits 50! released in 2014. The song is the first new material released by The Who in the eight years since their 2006 studio album Endless Wire. The royalties from “Be Lucky” benefited Teen Cancer America, a US outgrowth of Roger Daltrey’s successful UK charity, the Teenage Cancer Trust.[1]

Bargain (song)

“Bargain” is a song written by Pete Townshend that was first released by The Who on their 1971 album Who’s Next. It is a love song, although the intended subject of the song is God rather than a woman. The song has been included on several compilation and live albums. It was also included on several of Townshend’s solo projects. Critics have praised the song’s lyricism and power, as well as the performance of the band on the song. Townshend acknowledged during the Who’s concert at the Prudential Center in Newark on March 19, 2016 that this is his favorite song on this album.

Baba O’Riley

“Baba O’Riley” (sometimes mistakenly known as “Teenage Wasteland”) is a song by the English rock band The Who. It is the opening track to the band’s studio album Who’s Next, and was issued in Europe as a single on 23 October 1971, coupled with “My Wife”.

Roger Daltrey sings most of the song, with Pete Townshend singing the middle eight: “Don’t cry/don’t raise your eye/it’s only teenage wasteland”. The song’s title is a combination of the names of two of Townshend’s philosophical and musical influences, Meher Baba and Terry Riley.

“Baba O’Riley” was included in Time magazine’s list of the All-Time 100 Songs, Rolling Stone’s list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll. It has appeared in a number of films and television shows, including CSI: NY, Miami Vice, House MD and The Peanuts Movie in 2015.

Athena (song)

“Athena” (the working title being “Theresa”) is a song written by Pete Townshend and recorded by The Who. It appears as the first track on the group’s tenth album It’s Hard, released in 1982. Written for actress Theresa Russell, the song was the first single from It’s Hard. The single was a moderate success reaching the Top 40 in both Britain and America.

“Athena” was released as the first single from It’s Hard, backed with “A Man Is a Man” in Britain and “It’s Your Turn” in America. The single achieved moderate chart success, reaching number 28 on the US Billboard Hot 100, but received good airplay on album-oriented rock and later classic rock radio formats. “Athena” also reached number 40 on the UK Singles Chart, making it both the band’s last UK and US Top 40 single.[2] The single also reached #5 in Canada.
In addition to appearing on It’s Hard, “Athena” also was released on both the The Ultimate Collection and the deluxe edition of The Who Hits 50! compilation albums.

Despite this being the first single from the album and well-received on rock radio, The Who only played “Athena” a total of ten times on the band’s 1982 tour, and has not played the song again ever since.

Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere

“Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere” was a single released by The Who in 1965. It features call-and-response lyrics (especially common in Who lyrics at this time) and some of the first ever recorded guitar feedback. The song was composed by lead singer Roger Daltrey and guitarist Pete Townshend, the only time they wrote together. The guitar feedback, although not the first to be heard on a record (see The Beatles’ “I Feel Fine”), is thought to be the first solo with feedback. This is the first Who release with Nicky Hopkins playing piano.

Townshend said of the song:

I wrote the first verse and Roger helped me with the rest. I was inspired by listening to Charlie Parker, feeling that this was really a free spirit, and whatever he’d done with drugs and booze and everything else, that his playing released him and freed his spirit, and I wanted us to be like that, and I wanted to write a song about that, a spiritual song.

The song was rarely played live for most of The Who’s career, but since 1999 has become a staple for their live shows; it appears on the album Live at the Royal Albert Hall. It can also be found on BBC Sessions and The Kids Are Alright.

Another Tricky Day

“Another Tricky Day” is the ninth track on The Who’s album Face Dances, written by Who guitarist Pete Townshend.

According to Townshend, keyboardist John Bundrick, who was playing with the Who on tour, inspired the song.[1][2] The lyrics of the track claim that there is “no social crisis”, saying that this so-called dilemma is “just another tricky day”. Steve Grantley and Alan Parker, authors of the book The Who by Numbers: The Story of The Who Through Their Music, compare the track’s lyrical content to the Rolling Stones’ track, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”. They also say that the track is “still a pragmatic and optimistic note on which to end [Face Dances].”[3] The editors of Rolling Stone Magazine described the song as “a defiant yet complex tune about music’s power amid life’s problems.”[1] Author Chris Charlesworth described the lyrics as “pessimistic” while acknowledging that the song was “more interesting that most on Face Dances.”[4] In 2015, the editors of Rolling Stone Magazine rated “Another Tricky Day” as the Who’s 48th all-time greatest song.[1]

“Another Tricky Day” generally has received positive reviews. Rolling Stone Magazine’s Tom Carson said “In ‘Another Tricky Day,’ the constant shifts of melodic focus – a rhythm guitar unraveling here; a rumble of bass, a quick harmony or swatch of rippling keyboards there – express the song’s life-goes-on theme. The changes of mood from line to line – rebellious, fatalistic, confident, worried – are all held together by the chorus: ‘This is no social crisis. . . Just gotta get used to it. With its carefully modulated dynamics and Daltrey’s finest singing, “Another Tricky Day” approaches perfection, effortlessly achteving (sic.) the calm within the storm that most of the record strains for.”[5] Grantley and Parker said that the track “is the real high point of Face Dances” and that “the band have regained much of the swagger of old… just in time”.[3]

“Another Tricky Day” was included on the UK version of the compilation album The Ultimate Collection.[2][6]

A video in the same style as the videos for “You Better You Bet” and “Don’t Let Go the Coat” was made at the same session as the videos for the singles, even though the song was not released as a single.[2][7]

Tommy (album)

Tommy is the fourth studio album by the English rock band The Who, a double album first released in May 1969. The album was mostly composed by guitarist Pete Townshend as a rock opera that tells the story about a deaf, dumb and blind boy, including his experiences with life and his relationship with his family.

Townshend came up with the concept of Tommy after being introduced to the work of Meher Baba, and attempted to translate Baba’s teachings into music. Recording on the album began in September 1968, but took six months to complete as material needed to be arranged and re-recorded in the studio. Tommy was acclaimed upon its release by critics, who hailed it as the Who’s breakthrough. Its critical standing diminished slightly in later years; nonetheless, several writers view it as an important and influential album in the history of rock music. The Who promoted the album’s release with an extensive tour, including a live version of Tommy, which lasted throughout 1969 and 1970. Key gigs from the tour included appearances at Woodstock, the 1969 Isle of Wight Festival, the University of Leeds, the Metropolitan Opera House and the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival. The live performances of Tommy drew critical praise and rejuvenated the band’s career.

Subsequently, the rock opera developed into other media, including a Seattle Opera production in 1971, an orchestral version by Lou Reizner in 1972, a film in 1975, and a Broadway musical in 1992. The original album has sold 20 million copies and has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. It has been reissued several times on CD, including a remix by Jon Astley in 1996, a deluxe Super Audio CD in 2003, and a super deluxe box set in 2013, including previously unreleased demos and live material.

The Acid Queen

“The Acid Queen” is a song written by Pete Townshend and is the ninth song on The Who’s rock opera album Tommy. Townshend also sings the lead vocals. The song tells the attempts of Tommy’s parents to try to cure him. They leave him with a gypsy, a self-proclaimed “Acid Queen”. She feeds Tommy various hallucinogenic drugs.

“The Acid Queen” is often grouped with the album’s next track, “Underture”, a lengthy instrumental which deals with Tommy’s hallucinations and his experience with acid. The one cover song on Tommy, “Eyesight to the Blind,” may have been included to introduce the character of the acid queen.[1] Tommy’s parents take Tommy to the Acid Queen to see if her “lascivious attentions” can cure Tommy of his ills.[2] However, she is unsuccessful in awakening him.[2]

Several notable singers have performed the song including Merry Clayton, Patti LaBelle, Bette Midler and Tina Turner.

Pete Townshend used Tommy’s blindness to represent our “…blindness to reality.” The Acid Queen symbolized mindless self-indulgence, and attempted to use drugs to cure Tommy’s ailments: deafness, muteness and blindness.” Townshend has also said that “The song’s not just about acid: it’s the whole drug thing, the drink thing, the sex thing wrapped into one big ball. It’s about how you get it laid on you that if you haven’t fucked forty birds, taken sixty trips, drunk fourteen pints or whatever…society – people – force it on you. She represents this force.”[3][2]

Who biographer John Atkins describes the song as “a distinctive and fully matured song in which Pete’s vocals give a fine sense of urgency, suggesting that a sexual as well as drug initiation is being offered by the character.[1] Chris Charlesworth calls it “one of the best songs on Tommy.”[3]

A Quick One, While He’s Away

“A Quick One, While He’s Away” is a 1966 medley written by Pete Townshend and recorded by The Who for their second album A Quick One. The song also appears on the album BBC Sessions. In the performance on their Live at Leeds album Townshend calls the nine-minute “epic” track a “mini-opera” and introduces it as “Tommy’s parents”.
The song tells the story of an unnamed girl whose lover has been gone “for nigh on a year”. Her friends inform her that they “have a remedy”; the remedy comes in the form of Ivor the Engine Driver. When the lover returns, the girl confesses her infidelity, and she is ultimately forgiven.

A Legal Matter

“A Legal Matter” is a song written by Pete Townshend and recorded by The Who for their debut album My Generation. It was recorded on 12 October 1965 at IBC Studios, and released as the B-side to “The Kids Are Alright” in the U.S. The single was released by producer Shel Talmy without the permission of The Who and reached number 32.[1][2] This was an attempt to sabotage the release of the band’s chosen single “Substitute” which reached number 5, as a result of a legal dispute between Talmy and the band at the time.[3]

The subject of the song is divorce and it marks the first time Townshend sang lead vocals, rather than Roger Daltrey, possibly because the song was too close to home for Daltrey who was divorcing his wife at the time.[1] Who biographer John Atkins describes Townshend’s voice on the song as being higher and less abrasive than Daltry’s.[3] But Rolling Stone Magazine critic Dave Marsh thinks that the although the vocal has some charm, it does not suggest that Townshend’s voice would be good enough to be the band’s full-time lead singer.[2] Author Mike Segretto describes the vocal as a “noncommercial adenoidal croon.”[4] According to Allmusic critic Stewart Mason, “adenoidal whine actually makes the singer sound like he’s sneaking out in the dead of night, scared to death that his wife’s going to catch him.”[5]

Atkins describes the two note guitar figure used in the introduction to the song as being “memorable and catchy.”[3] He states that the song incorporates a “short, jolting rhythm” similar to that on their more famous song “My Generation.”[3] Steve Grantley and Alan G. Parker state that “the band sound like they have been let off the leash and really let rip to create another early classic.”[6] Segretto describes the melody as being “excellent.”[4] Nicky Hopkins joins the band on piano, and Segretto claims that his “hyper piano runs contribute much amphetamine fuel to the song.[3][4]

Atkins also notes the “ironic humour” of the song.[3] Mason also finds the song “funny.”[5] Segretto points out that the lyrics are surprisingly misogynistic coming from Townshend, but that is softened by the “playful tone and cute lines like ‘Just wanna keep on doing all the dirty little things I do.”[4] According to Townshend the song “is about a guy on the run from a chick about to pin him down for breach of contract. What this song was screaming from behind lines like ‘It’s a legal matter, baby, marrying’s no fun/It’s a legal matter, baby, you got me on the run’ was, “I’m lonely, I’m hungry, the bed needs making.’ I wanted a maid, I suppose.”[2] Marsh suggests that the protagonist really doesn’t want to marry because “he’s terrified of discovering who he really is (boring, middle-class and conventional.)”[2]

Several commentators noted an influence from the Rolling Stones on this song, particularly their song “The Last Time.”[1][3][5][6] For example, Segretto states “A Legal Matter” has “a nagging, droning riff that may share DNA with ‘The Last Time.'”[4] Mason states that the song “proves conclusively that Pete Townshend was working on a different plane than just about every other songwriter in London in 1965.”[5]

Who Are You

Who Are You is the eighth studio album by English rock band The Who, released by Polydor Records in the United Kingdom and MCA Records in the United States. The album received mixed reviews from critics, though it was a commercial success, peaking at number 2 on the US charts and number 6 on the UK charts.[1]

Who Are You was The Who’s last album to feature Keith Moon as drummer; Moon died three weeks following the album’s release. The paradoxical nature of the text “Not To Be Taken Away” that was written on Moon’s chair on the album cover was noted by some critics.[2] Moon’s death brought concerns that the group would have to fold; he was ultimately replaced as drummer by Kenney Jones.

5.15

“5:15” (sometimes written “5.15” or “5’15”) is a song written by Pete Townshend of British rock band The Who. Part of the band’s second rock opera, Quadrophenia (1973), the song was also released as a single and reached No. 20 on the UK Singles Chart,[1] while the 1979 re-release (accompanying the film and soundtrack album) reached No. 45 on the Billboard Hot 100.[2]

Although written as “5.15” on the single cover, on the back cover of Quadrophenia (the album from which the song is taken) it is written as “5:15”.

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