Who – 5:15

A good song off of the Quadrophenia album.

This was a rare Who song that had no demo made of it. Townshend’s demo’s were sometimes just as good as the studio versions the band recorded. The whistle on the song came about after Townshend’s driver bribed a British train driver with five pounds to sound the train’s whistle as it pulled out, despite breaking the station rules.

This song was not released as a single in America…at the time of the album release in 1973 they released it in Europe and Germany.

In 1979 the soundtrack from the movie came out and it was released as a single in America. It charted at #45 in the Billboard 100.

The Who had a contest in 2011 for someone to make a video for this song.

It was announced :

To commemorate the album’s release and pay homage to 1960s mod culture — Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey are launching a “5:15” video contest, inviting filmmakers and animators to submit a music video for “5:15” that “does for the track what the Quadrophenia film did for the album.”

Townshend and Daltrey say the video should “reflect the 1960s mod culture and show inspiration from the musical and visionary journey portrayed in that era. The winning video will be produced as the official video for ‘5.15’.”

I have the winner at the bottom and it is a really cool video. The winning video was directed by Jeff Rodenberg. The George Harrison estate did the same thing for the song What Is Life.

Roger Daltrey: Ron Nevison, who was the producer at the time with Pete, recorded it with echo on the vocal which can never be removed now,” he explained. “It just makes the vocal sound thin. It was the biggest recording mistake we ever made. The echo diminishes the character as far as I’m concerned. It always pissed me off. From day one I just f—ing hated the sound of it. He did that to my voice and I’ve never forgiven Ron for it.”

From Songfacts

This is the first track on the second disc of Quadrophenia, Pete Townshend’s rock opera about Jimmy, a pill-popping mod cockney who tries to find reality from sexual encounters, the company he keeps, and the clothes he wears. Only when he drowns in the ocean does he discover himself.

In this song, Jimmy The Mod takes the train (the 5:15) back to Brighton, once the site of the Mods’ triumph against the Rockers, and en route he remembers various experiences of himself and his fellow Mods. Jimmy’s recollections are in the main unhappy – anger, confusion, violence, sexual frustration, and rootlessness dominate his thoughts as he keeps returning to the thought: “Inside, outside, leave me alone. Inside, outside, nowhere is home.”

The term “Quadrophenia” was coined by Pete Townshend, referring to schizophrenia, times two. The character Jimmy The Mod was a quadrophenic: Townshend wanted each of his four personalities to represent one of the four band members. This didn’t work as planned, as he was so much more involved in the project than the other members.

During an infamous performance of the song on BBC’s Top Of The Pops, Townshend demolished the Gretsch guitar that he’d used for the bulk of Who’s Next and Quadrophenia. The Who went on to earn a life ban from BBC premises after Townshend flicked two fingers at the show’s producer and Keith Moon attacked a steward who refused him entry to the bar.

Townshend’s rage was genuine: The BBC, enforcing union rules, made the group record a new track for their lip-synched performance. The Who recorded their segment on October 3, 1973, which was broadcast on the 500th Edition special of the show the the next evening with the offensive gestures edited out. The ban was lifted after representatives for The Who sent a letter of apology to the BBC.


Why should I care, why should I care?

Girls of fifteen
Sexually knowing
The ushers are sniffing
The seats are seductive
Celibate sitting
Pretty girls digging
Prettier women

Magically bored
On a quiet street corner
Free frustration
In our minds and our toes
Quiet storm water
M-m-my generation

Uppers and downers
Either way blood flows

Inside outside, leave me alone
Inside outside, nowhere is home
Inside outside, where have I been?
Out of my brain on the five fifteen

Out of my brain on the train
Out of my brain on the train
On a raft in the quarry
Slowly sinking
Back of a lorry
Holy hitching
Dreadfully sorry
Apple scrumping
Born in the war
Birthday punching

He man drag
In the glittering ballroom
Gravely outrageous
In my high heel shoes
Tightly undone
They know what they’re showing
Sadly ecstatic
That their heroes are news

Inside outside, leave me alone
Inside outside, nowhere is home
Inside outside, where have I been?
Out of my brain on the five fifteen

Out of my brain on the train
Out of my brain on the train, on the train, out of my brain
Out of my brain on the train
Here it comes
Out of my brain on the train, on the train
Out of my brain on the train
Why should I care?
Why should I care


Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

12 thoughts on “Who – 5:15”

  1. not a song I know, surprised it was a single. Just watching the video now – cool idea, having a fan competition. I thought of that George Harrison one right away, which is a great video I think George would’ve liked.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That girl gets your attention in the video…it was well done and she deserved to win.
      I like this one a lot…a good artist and then destroys it which fits them perfectly.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh man what a great a track… Girls at 15 lol…friggin grumpy Pete and Salty Daltry along with Moon and The Ox absolutely knocked one out fo the park on this one. I just love how this tune just lifts off after Pete’s going on about “Why should I care?”

    Liked by 1 person

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