Who – Young Man Blues

Young Man Blues was written by jazz artist Mose Allison in 1957. Mose’s version is jazzy and smooth. The Who took the song and set it afire with an explosive charge. Mose Allison called The Who’s version The “Command Performance” of his song. That’s a great compliment from the author. Pete was a big fan of Mose Allison. He has said that if he never heard this song he would not have written My Generation.

The Who version has great dynamics. The bass and drums are all over the place and yet perfect. The Who sound like they are driving near a cliff and you know the song is going to fall off but they save it at the last moment time after time. The song was on the Live At Leeds album released in 1970.

The key to this song and most Who songs was the rhythm section. Keith Moon and John Entwistle pushed each other to greatness. The frenetic chaotic bass and drums made it exciting. You had the lead guitar player punching in licks between the lead bass and drums. Later on, when Keith passed away and Kenney Jones took his place…they were not the same. That is nothing against Jones…he was one of the best British drummers at that time but that touch of insanity was gone permanently.

A year or so before John Entwistle died, Roger Daltrey was complaining about John’s volume on stage to Pete. Pete replied that without that volume and John’s style…they are not the Who. That was a true statement. I saw the Who with John and later on without him. It wasn’t the same. Was it a great show without him? Yes, the songs were great but that element of danger was gone. That is what both Keith and John added to the Who.

So I’ll take this note for myself… February 14, 1970… I’ll buy a ticket for Leeds University when I get my time machine working…I’ll take some cotton balls though.

Young Man Blues

Oh well a young man ain’t got nothin’ in the world these days
I said a young man ain’t got nothin’ in the world these days

You know in the old days
When a young man was a strong man
All the people they’d step back
When a young man walked by

But you know nowadays
It’s the old man,
He’s got all the money
And a young man ain’t got nothin’ in the world these days
I said nothing

Everybody knows that a young man ain’t got nothin’
Everybody knows that a young man ain’t got nothin’
He got nothin’

Take it easy on the young man
They ain’t got nothin’ in the world these days
I said they ain’t got nothin’!
They got sweet fuck-all!



Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

28 thoughts on “Who – Young Man Blues”

  1. cotton balls…I’d take noise canceling headphones and they’d probably still be pretty loud ! But as others have commented, great energy. I need to focus on Entwistle’s playing more … so many other bassists compliment him but somehow, it seems like he goes unnoticed and when I hear them on radio (which isn’t that often ) it seems dominated by drums then guitar.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well back then I guess it would be cotton balls lol…oh just listen to this track…him and Moon are right with each other. He credited Moon because to play with Moon you had to be all over the place.


  2. Live in Leeds is one of The Who records I know best, since I’ve had a CD copy for years. That live footage is cool – makes them feel connected to new wave/punk acts like The Jam and The ‘Mats.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This song is my fave from Live at Leeds. Can’t beat the energy of it. If you’re going to time travel, you’ll need more than earplugs (cotton balls) for a Who gig in the 70s, you’ll also need shades (dark glasses) for the lighting – super troupers shone into the audience’s eyes! Quite painful, as I recall… from the times I saw them.
    Mose Allison’s version’s a bit too light for my tastes.

    Hi Max, I’m back (sort of). Hope you’re okay.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Val! I’ve had so much happen in the last few months. A month ago I had your last email up but shame on me for not replying. Nothing too bad…a health scare but it turned out fine.

      I’m happy to hear from you! I was talking about you this week to someone about Pink Floyd!


  4. I came close to buying this yesterday when the record store I was in (the only record store here too be honest as well) but it was pricey and it wasn’t the deluxe. lol Have it on CD and man they sound nasty on this thing

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Just listening to Mose the other day. Yeah the Who ramped it up and put it through their machine. Great version off of one of my favorite albums. I pull out both these artists often. Rage sort of did the same thing with Bruce’s ‘Tom Joad’. Love those two tunes also.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do like Mose’s version of this song…I liked also that he said such good things about The Who’s version.
      Hope you are doing well CB!

      Liked by 1 person

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