Who – A Legal Matter

The early Who singles were first heard in the UK much more than America. They were really exciting and raw and different from anyone else. I first heard this song on the great compilation album Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy. The album was made up of singles and many of them were not heard in America much at all when they were originally released.

It was released both as the B-side to “The Kids Are Alright” in the U.S., and as the A-side of a single that peaked at #32 in the UK in 1965. Both singles were released by Shel Talmy without the permission of the Who and were a result of a legal dispute between Talmy and the band at the time and an attempt to sabotage the release of the band’s chosen single “Substitute”.

This was the first song that Pete Townshend took the lead vocal on.

Pete Townshend on 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.”

A Legal Matter

I told you why I changed my mind
I got bored by playing with time
I know you thought you had me nailed
But I’ve freed my head from your garden rails

Now it’s a legal matter, baby
You got me on the run
It’s a legal matter, baby
A legal matter from now on

My mind’s lost in a household fog
Wedding gowns and catalogs
Kitchen furnishings and houses
Maternity clothes and baby’s trousers

Now it’s a legal matter, baby
Marryin’s no fun
It’s a legal matter, baby
A legal matter from now on

I told you why I changed my mind
I got bored by playing with time
I know you thought you had me nailed
Well, I’ve freed my head from your garden rails

Now it’s a legal matter, baby
You got me on the run
It’s a legal matter, baby
A legal matter from now on

You ain’t the first and you ain’t the last
I gain and lose my women fast
I never want to make them cry
I just get bored, don’t ask me why

Just wanna keep doing all the dirty little things I do
And not work all day in an office just to bring my money back to you
Sorry, baby