Who – Sally Simpson

This song is one of my favorite songs off the 1969 Tommy album along with the song Christmas. I never thought Tommy was their best album by any means but it is the one that broke them to a mass audience.

While Townshend was backstage at a Door’s concert, a security guard roughly handled a girl who was attempting to touch Jim Morrison, just as Sally was attempting to touch Tommy. There is a video of the real “Sally Simpson” back stage and Jim Morrison is trying to help her. I have the video at the bottom. I never knew a video existed of this until recently. 

The song was never released as a single but is a great section of the story of Tommy. In Baba O’Riley there is a lyric that mentions Sally or a different Sally. “Sally, take my hand we’ll travel south ‘cross land”…could it be? I doubt it but you never know. 

The Who during this time were touring and including opera houses. They were as tight as a band can be…it was soon after that they released what I think is the greatest live album ever…Live At Leeds. 

Here is video of Jim Morrison tending to “Sally” backstage. Yep, real footage of the girl that inspired Pete to write Sally Simpson.

 

Sally Simpson

Outside the house Mr. Simpson announced
that Sally couldn’t go to the meeting.
He went on cleaning his blue Rolls Royce
and she ran inside weeping.
She got to her room and tears splashed the picture
of the new Messiah.
She picked up a book of her fathers life
and threw it on the fire!

She knew from the start
Deep down in her heart
That she and Tommy were worlds apart,
But her Mother said never mind your part…
Is to be what you’ll be.

The theme of the sermon was come unto me,
Love will find a way,
So Sally decided to ignore her dad,
and sneak out anyway!
She spent all afternoon getting ready,
and decided she’d try to touch him,
Maybe he’d see that she was free
and talk to her this Sunday.

She knew from the start
Deep down in her heart
That she and Tommy were worlds apart,
But her Mother said never mind your part…
Is to be what you’ll be.

She arrived at six and the place was swinging
to gospel music by nine.
Group after group appeared on the stage
and Sally just sat there crying.
She bit her nails looking pretty as a picture
right in the very front row
And then a DJ wearing a blazer with a badge
ran on and said ‘here we go!’

The crowd went crazy
As Tommy hit the stage!
Little Sally got lost as the police bossed
The crowd back in a rage!

But soon the atmosphere was cooler
as Tommy gave a lesson.
Sally just had to let him know she loved him
and leapt up on the rostrum!
She ran cross stage to the spotlit figure
and touched him on the face
Tommy whirled around as a uniformed man,
threw her of the stage.

She knew from the start
Deep down in her heart
That she and Tommy were worlds apart,
But her Mother said never mind your part…
Is to be what you’ll be.
Her cheek hit a chair and blood trickled down,
mingling with her tears,
Tommy carried on preaching
and his voice filled Sally’s ear
She caught his eye she had to try
but couldn’t see through the lights
Her face was gashed and the ambulance men
had to carry her out that night.

The crowd went crazy
As Tommy left the stage!
Little Sally was lost for the price of a touch
And a gash across her face! OOoooh.

Sixteen stitches put her right and her Dad said
‘don’t say I didn’t warn yer’.
Sally got married to a rock musician
she met in California
Tommy always talks about the day
the disciples all went wild!
Sally still carries a scar on her cheek
to remind her of his smile.

She knew from the start
Deep down in her heart
That she and Tommy were worlds apart,
But her Mother said never mind your part…
Is to be what you’ll be.

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

42 thoughts on “Who – Sally Simpson”

    1. I would love to know that but I never saw anything about it. I never knew the video existed until I wrote it…I knew the story but not the person.

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    1. I’ve heard the story but never knew the video existed. Seeing Morrison that way is not the typical story we heard about him.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Bruce…did you ever listen to the Who’s album Tommy? I thought it might resonate with you. While it is certainly not a true opera…the story fits together.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m not a Who expert, but when I hear this I notice how effin great the harmonies and the drumming are. Fabulous find on the Morrison clip! His little girlfriend was getting jealous of his tending to the victim of police brutality.

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    1. I love this song…but yea it’s nice to see another side to Morrison…quite different than what we heard. I knew this story and was astonished that it was a video to this event.

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    1. Have you listened to Tommy all the way through? It’s worth a listen Christian…the songs connect together rather well. It’s not their best album in my opinion but it’s at least their third best behind Who’s Next and Quadrophenia… Some would say The Who Sell Out would be in there also.

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      1. Take a listen to a song named Christmas…it’s part of the story also. If you like Sally Simpson and Christmas I think you would like the album….of course you know the well known songs off of it.

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      2. I have that problem also….that is why I take a little while on your new releases sometimes…having quiet time so I can pay attention. I do the same for Jeff’s blog because he posts new music I never heard and I want to concentrate and hear it without distraction.

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      3. That’s a good approach, Max. Feeling the urge to catch up, I’ve certainly fallen into the trap of trying to listen to too many things within too short of a timespan. But the reality is there’s only so much one can process. Oftentimes, less is more!

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      4. It’s not fair to you or Jeff if I listen to the new songs only half way. You both understand and I appreciate it. Many of my songs you have heard a million times before…but lately I’ve been slipping some old new music lol

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      5. Thanks Christian….I was afraid I would run away some people doing that but I have to…to keep myself happy with it.

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      6. Max, I finally did it and listened to Tommy in its entirety. Lots to love about it – well, d’uh, what a brilliant conclusion!😆

        To say it upfront, I think “Christmas” is one of the highlights and was among the tunes I had not known. Thanks for flagging!

        Here’s the main thing that puzzles me a bit about the album. I find the execution contradictory.

        On the one hand, “Tommy” looks brilliantly thought out. “Overture” and the way it previews musical themes of songs like “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “Pinball Wizard” could be from a classical symphony. Or how Townshend repeatedly weaves in “See Me, Feel Me” in “Christmas” and other tracks, which is great.

        On the other hand, many tracks feel like not quite finished – almost like demos.

        Perhaps the most prominent example is “Pinball Wizard”. It’s such a terrific tune and yet it’s got a weird ending where it suddenly fades out – as if Townshend had run out of ideas how to properly finish it!

        That’s one of the reasons I liked Elton John’s cover from the very first time I heard it. His rendition extends the song the way I wish Townshend would have done it in the first place.

        While “Tommy” isn’t quite up there with its successor “Who’s Next”, I still think it’s a great album overall. Plus, it’s important to remember there’s a two-year gap between these records. That’s a significant amount of time for a band to mature.

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      7. The thing I hold against Tommy….I think ties in on what you are saying. First of all they didn’t have a giant budget so it was as barebones as you can get. What horns you heard would be John Entwhistle not an orchestra so they had to cut corners.

        My biggest problem with Tommy is the production. I think Sgt Peppers which was recorded a year before this sounds so much better…Tommy to me is tinny sounding.

        Now…another way to hear Tommy is to hear The Who on that tour play it live 69-70…they roughen it up and…well you hear See Me Feel Me and We’re Not Going to Take It during Woodstock….I think that is when they perfected it.

        It sure put them on the map as a recording band and the live out put from that tour put them on the map also.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Catchy tune. It’s new to me and the Morrison video was interesting. I had no knowledge of the song or the event that inspired Townshend. I guess Morrison kinda knew how bad the cops could get and felt some sympathy?

    Liked by 1 person

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