Who – I’m A Boy

My name is Bill, and I’m a head case

Now THAT is a lyric worth exploring.

Pete Townshend wrote this for a Rock Opera he was composing called “Quads,” which was about a future where parents could choose the sex of their children. That opera never happened. I have to wonder if Townshend had this old title in mind when a few years later he came up with the title for “Quadrophenia.”

I’m A Boy was released as a single in 1966. The song peaked at #2 in the UK and #2 in New Zealand. The song was not heard much in America or Canada at the time. Many of their singles would finally come to the light when the great compilation album Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy was released in 1971. They did a live version and included it on the live album Live At Leeds released in 1970.

Released as the B-side of the single was “In the City”, the first and last song credited to the songwriting collaboration of John Entwistle and Keith Moon. Entwistle referred to it as rip-off of Jan and Dean, a group that was a favorite of Moon’s.

Roger Daltrey: “I always thought The Who went through a weird period after ‘My Generation’ (November 1965) that lasted until we did ‘Magic Bus’ (October 1968). I thought it all went a bit sloppy. But ‘I’m A Boy’ and ‘Pictures Of Lily’ were from that period when I’d been allowed back into the band (Daltrey had been asked to leave after beating up Keith Moon over his heavy use of amphetamines). My ego had been crushed. I was insecure and it showed in my voice. When I first heard those songs, I was like, ‘Oi, what’s this all about?’ I didn’t think I could find the right voice for them. You can hear it when you listen to them now, but my insecurity made those songs sound better. It was a happy accident.”

From Songfacts

This is about a boy whose mother wants him to be a girl, while the boy longs to assert his real sexual identity. The controversial subject of cross-dressing was probably the reason why this failed to reach the American Top 100.

Daltrey told Uncut magazine: “On ‘I’m A Boy’, I tried to sing it like a really, really young kid, like an eight-year-old. Not the voice of an eight-year-old but the sentiment – and I think that came across.”

I’m A Boy

One girl was called Jean Marie
Another little girl was called Felicity
Another little girl was Sally Joy
The other was me, and I’m a boy

My name is Bill, and I’m a head case
They practice making up on my face
Yeah, I feel lucky if I get trousers to wear
Spend evenings taking hairpins from my hair

I’m a boy, I’m a boy
But my ma won’t admit it
I’m a boy, I’m a boy
But if I say I am, I get it

Put your frock on, Jean Marie
Plait your hair, Felicity
Paint your nails, little Sally Joy
Put this wig on, little boy

I’m a boy, I’m a boy
But my ma won’t admit it
I’m a boy, I’m a boy
But if I say I am, I get it

I want to play cricket on the green
Ride my bike across the street
Cut myself and see my blood
I want to come home all covered in mud

I’m a boy, I’m a boy
But my ma won’t admit it
I’m a boy, I’m a boy, I’m a boy
I’m a boy, I’m a boy, I’m a boy, I’m a boy
I’m a boy, I’m a boy, I’m a boy

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.

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

Who – The Quiet One…Sunday Album Cut

I posted a song from Face Dances a little while ago and Deke brought up a song on that album called The Quiet One. I really like that song also. It was written by who I think was the best bass player in rock ever…John Entwistle.

When I bought the album this is one of the songs I zeroed in on. I’ve always liked John’s writing that got overshadowed by Pete. John had had some black humor and wit in his songs.

This song was the B side to the hit You Better You Bet released in 1981. On their farewell tour in 1982 he replaced his older song “My Wife” with this one on stage.  In the later tours, this song was never played again… “My Wife” was brought back.

John Entwistle: “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 ‘The Quiet One.’ I wrote ‘Quiet One’ especially to replace ‘My Wife’ onstage. I had gotten tired of singing that and ‘Boris the Spider.'”

The Quiet One

Everybody calls me the quiet one
You can see but you can’t hear me
Everybody calls me the quiet one
You can try but you can’t get near me
I ain’t never had the gift of gab
But I can’t talk with my eyes
When words fail me you won’t nail me
My eyes can tell you lies

Still waters run deep so be careful I don’t drown you
You’ve got nothing to hear I’ve got nothing to say
Sticks and stones may break your bones
But names can never down you
It only takes two words to blow you away

Everybody calls me the quiet one
But you just don’t understand
You can’t listen you won’t hear me
With your head stuck in the sand
I ain’t never had time for words that don’t rhyme
My headd is in a cloud
I ain’t quiet – everybody else is too loud

Still waters run deep so be careful I don’t drown you
You’ve got nothing to hear I’ve got nothing to say
Sticks and stones may break my bones
But names can never down you
It only takes two words to blow you away.

Who – Another Tricky Day

This was the first album the Who made without Keith Moon called Face Dances. Kenney Jones was playing drums and the album had a substantial hit with You Better You Bet. It was also the first new Who album I ever bought. The other ones had been collections of their older hits. I can’t say that I don’t the Moon version of the Who but the album did have some good songs on it.

This song is one of the best songs off of Face Dances. To my surprise it was not released as a single.

The album peaked at #4 in the Billboard Album Charts, #2 in the UK, and #1 in Canada in 1981.

Roger Daltrey: “Pete’s a very complicated bunch of people… And you never know which one of him you’re going to get. There’s one that’s so wonderful, so caring, so spiritual. But there are others that are horrendous-and I mean horrendous…. That’s the madness of genius, so I accept it. I don’t judge him. I love him. I love all of hims.”

Another Tricky Day

You can’t always get it
When you really want it
You can’t always get it at all
Just because there’s space
In your life it’s a waste
To spend your time why don’t you wait for the call

(Just gotta get used to it)
We all get it in the end
(Just gotta get used to it)
We go down and we come up again
(Just gotta get used to it)
You irritate me my friend
(This is no social crisis)
This is you having fun
(No crisis)
Getting burned by the sun
(This is true)
This is no social crisis
Just another tricky day for you

You can always get higher
Just because you aspire
You could expire even knowing.
Don’t push the hands
Just hang on to the band
You can dance while your knowledge is growing

(It could happen anytime)
You can’t expect to never cry
(Patience is priceless)
Not when you try to fly so high
(Just stay on that line)
Rock and roll will never die
(This is no social crisis)
[etc.]

Another tricky day
Another gently nagging pain
What the papers say
Just seems to bring down heavier rain
The world seems in a spiral
Life seems such a worthless title
But break out and start a fire y’all
It’s all here on the vinyl
(No crisis)
[etc.]

[Repeat verse 1.]

(Just gotta get used to it)
Gotta get used to waiting
(Just gotta get used to it)
You know how the ice is
(Just gotta get used to it)
It’s thin where you’re skating
(This is no social crisis)
[etc.]

Just another tricky day for you fellah

The Kids Are Alright Documentary…Desert Island Music Films

We wrapped up Hanspostcard’s album draft…100 albums in 100 days. We are going into extra innings and extending three more picks from these categories… favorite Soundtracks, Greatest Hits, and a music related movie. This is my pick for a music related movie: The Who in The Kids Are Alright.

2020 ALBUM DRAFT- ROUND 13 PICK 5- BADFINGER20 SELECTS- THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT

I acquired a VHS copy of this in the mid-eighties. It wasn’t a great copy but my friends and I wore it out. One of them worked at a small cable station. The station was in a small county that usually aired farm reports and advertisements. Basically, it was a very small building in the middle of nowhere. All they would do there is broadcast videos.

We had the tape in hand and wanted to see it so we went there one afternoon. He popped it in the VHS player and played it. He had no idea but it was going out live all over the region. Near the end of the film, he took a phone call from his boss. I didn’t think anyone ever watched that station…but it turns out they did and they were not fans of The Who. He didn’t get fired but they took his key for the door for a little while. It was a big subject the next day at school as some teenagers loved it but their parents didn’t appreciate their farm reports being interrupted by My Generation and Keith Moon in bondage.

I’ve seen this film so many times I can almost quote it while it’s playing. The Who albums made me a huge fan of their music…this film made me a huge fan of band.

This film covers the original Who and being such a Who fan I’m glad Jeff Stein (director) was so persistent in doing this because many of the tapes he was able to borrow probably would have been erased and used again by the BBC as was their policy.

Jeff was a fan of the band and pestered them until they let him do this. He had no prior experience in filmmaking but this was the 1970s and he got the gig. His timing was eerily perfect. He caught the original band at the very end of their tenure with Keith Moon.

He searched high and low for clips of the band in earlier years. Stein keeps the appearance mostly in order. There is sadness in this. You see the band through the years from 1964 to 1978… you see all of them gradually age of course but Keith Moon ages faster than any of them. I’ve read where it hit him hard while watching the rough cut right before he died. His lifestyle had taken its toll on him. He saw himself as a young energetic kid that looked like Paul McCartney’s younger brother to a man who was 32 and looked like he was in his 40s at least.

This may be the first or one of the first film bios on a major rock band. Led Zeppelin had The Song Remains the Same but it focused on one concert in New York… The Beatles had Let It Be but those films didn’t show their history like The Kids Are Alright.

The Who - Wikipedia

In this film you see a band that is fun… unlike their peers Zeppelin and Sabbath the Who were more open to their audience and didn’t have a dark mystique hanging over them. They would crack jokes from the stage…Moon and Townshend treated it like a High School talent show until they started to play…then they got serious.

You see film segments that were fun like the video of Happy Jack, the interview on the Russell Harty Show, Keith with Ringo, and Keith and Pete sharing a joke that only they could understand. One of my favorite segments is The Who playing Barbara Ann with Keith singing and the band having a good time. They also played I Saw Her Standing There but it didn’t make the final cut…you can watch it in the outtakes. I can’t imagine the big bands of that time doing Barbara Ann and goofing for the camera.

The Who did a couple of live shows for the film besides being interviewed. Stein mostly used old clips but he convinced the band to do a couple of free concerts in May of 1978 where he could get a definitive version of Won’t Get Fooled Again… which personally I think is the greatest live performance song live you will ever hear. You see Keith’s last performance as he is looking pudgy, older, and slower but still pulls it off. Pete wasn’t too thrilled about doing the concerts for the film but it turned out good. They ended up only using a version Won’t Get Fooled Again and Baba O’Riley from the 78 live show.

Keith died a few months before The Kids Are Alright debuted on June 15, 1979. The film showed The Who at it’s best. Kenney Jones from the Faces replaced him but it was never the same. You cannot replace Moon…he was the engine that drove the Who. Later on in the 90s Zak Starkey…who was Ringo’s son and Keith’s God son played drums for the Who and still does.

If you haven’t watched the film…stop what you are doing and watch it. It still holds up as one of the best music documentaries that rock has produced.

Zak Starkey and Keith Moon

Pin på Drums & Drummers

The Who – Who’s Next…..Desert Island Albums

https://slicethelife.com/2020/07/20/37604/

This is my second round choice from Hanspostcard’s album draft…100 albums in 100 days.

I bought this album when I was 14. I had a few albums by The Who…Face Dances, Big Meaty Big and Bouncy,  and a greatest hits package called Hooligans. Hooligans was a 4 album set and had four songs from Who’s Next and that sample was enough to know I wanted the complete album.

With headphones on, I placed needle to vinyl and could not get over the sound…the sonic boom. The biggest sound I have ever heard before on record. I listened to every song three times through in the first sitting. I knew I finally found a band that moved me like no other except The Beatles. After this came Tommy, Quadrophenia, and The Who Sell Out…but this album left me speechless. Before this record. I liked the Who…after the album they were THE WHO.

It was 1981 and this album had been out for 10 years but that made no difference. As with the Beatles, I was late to the fan party but when I arrived… I arrived in style with Who’s Next under my arm.

There is not one clinker on the album. Forty-three minutes and thirty-eight seconds of pure bliss.

I have a Glyn Johns quote on recording the album to start this off.

I have a residing memory of sitting in the truck, my hair being parted by what was coming out of the speakers, a massive amount of adrenaline coursing through my veins. There have been a few occasions over the years when I have been completely blown away, believing without a doubt that what I was listening to would become much more than just commercially successful but also a marker in the evolution of popular music, and this was one of those moments.

Won’t Get Fooled Again… this is the best concert song I’ve witnessed on film or live in person. It has drama, action, suspense, and aggression… just as much as any movie. Every member of the band is at the top of their game. You have Pete’s thick power chords, John Entwistle’s rolling basslines, Keith Moon’s controlled chaos, and Roger holding it down and keeping it grounded.

When your bookends on an album are Baba O’Riley and Won’t Get Fooled Again you have a great album.

My favorite song on the album is Bargain. Moon’s drumming on this song alone makes it worth a listen. Pete Townshend has said the subject of the song is God…as one critic put it… it may be the angriest message God ever received.

Goin’ Mobile is a great vehicle for Townshend’s voice…and how could you not like the line..Play the tape machine, make the toast and tea, When I’m mobile.

Behind Blue Eyes is a song that lulls you with a beautiful melody with sparse accompaniment (probably the longest Moon ever sat on his hands while recording) and then it happens…all hell breaks loose and Roger sings…no correction…he doesn’t sing…he demands When my fist clenches, crack it open, Before I use it and lose my cool… it’s like getting hit by a bus that you didn’t see coming…and then it’s over.

My Wife is a song John Entwistle wrote for the album and one of his best songs. A rocking and hilarious look at marriage by a desperate man. Love Aint For Keeping is a song that gets a lot of play at my home and car. It has a great message. Getting In Tune…this song starts off as a slow ballad and then The Who kicks it up a notch as usual.

The Song Is Over is a beautiful song with Pete and Roger taking turns singing.

Baba O’Riley…One of the most well-known intros in rock ever. Not much else to say about this song except dynamic and exhilarating…that about sums it up.

Who’s Next was released on August 14, 1971. It started off as a rock opera called Lifehouse. The problem was that Pete could not get the idea across to other band members, journalists, or even his producer Glyn Johns. It was suggested to dump the story and make a great standalone album of the songs. The Who did just that.

This album kicked down the door to the seventies and future. The mixture of synthesizers and guitars are perfect. The synthesizers still sound fresh and vibrant today. 1971 was an extraordinary year for great albums…this one helped lead the way.

So far on Max’s Desert Island, I have the White Album and Who’s Next. Life is good…I think I will pick up my guitar and play…just like yesterday.

  1. Baba O’Riley
  2. Bargain
  3. Love Ain’t For Keeping
  4. My Wife
  5. The Song Is Over
  6. Getting In Tune
  7. Going Mobile
  8. Behind Blue Eyes
  9. Won’t Get Fooled Again

 

Rock and Roll Escapades – #1 The Who in Montreal

In the next few weeks, I’m going to hunt for some rock star stories. Fair warning…Keith Moon will be involved more than once.

On December 2, 1973, the Who were nearing the end of their Quadrophenia tour in Montreal Canada at the Bonaventure Hotel.

This scene started when Keith Moon smashed a ketchup bottle on the hotel wall. Pete Townshend said: I thought it looked aesthetically pleasing. Someone should frame it,…Pete had cut his hand with a steak knife so he added his blood to the ketchup “art” on the wall.

Keith Moon then grabbed a hotel painting and kicked it out of its frame and used the frame to frame his and Pete’s masterpiece. Ok…not good but funny…not a big deal so far.

Then Pete and Keith pitched a TV in the pool in the old rock and roll fashion. The two then pitched a sofa through the window to the nice courtyard below. Not finished yet they used a large marble table as a battering ram and went through a wall.

The Hotel staff looked at them and they looked at the hotel staff…both sides had a look of horror at the damage. One witness described the scene with one word: “Hiroshima”

Now the fun had begun…The police… or mounties came and rounded all the boys up. 14 of the Who crew including Mike Shaw a paraplegic that worked for the Who…they were arrested and went to jail. They woke Roger Daltrey who was sleeping in his bed when this went on and took him also.

When the police took the band to jail. Keith Moon declared to the officer in charge when they got there… “I believe I booked a suite.”

They ended up spending 7 hours in jail and missed their scheduled flight to Boston for a concert. They did end up getting there just on time that night to play the show.

Keith Moon would sometimes alter one of the songs he sang called “Bellboy” to say  “Remember the place in Canada that we smashed?”

John Entwistle later wrote a song called “Cell Number Seven” about the event.

Cell Number 7

 

Six thirty in the morning, I’d just got to sleep
I felt so tired didn’t even count sheep
I woke up with six policemen standing by the bed
The voice of doom was ringing in my head
Get up fella, and don’t make no fuss
Put your clothes on, you gotta come with us.

To cell number seven
Cell number seven
Cell number seven
Cell number seven ain’t exactly Heaven.

Bill the con said, I think it appears
I’ve only been dreaming the last four years
Wiggy said, I’m having so much fun
Cell number one has something for everyone
Meanwhile in Boston the kids were queuing
Back in Montreal we were just stewing.

In cell number seven
Cell number seven
Cell number seven
Cell number seven’s a long way from Heaven.

Micky boy was busy banging his cell
While the admiral was trying to talk his way outta Hell
Well Bobby needs a change of seed and sand
The promoter’s tearing out his hair screaming where’s the band?

(Guitar Solo)

The chicks were in the chicken shack eating bread and honey
The hotel manager was adding up the money
Come on froggies let us pay
We got a show to do
We gotta get away.

In cell number two was the singer of The Who
Pacing up and down like a tiger in a zoo
Cousin Graham didn’t even know what he’d done
To make them take away his, Nikon
Meanwhile in Boston the kids were waiting
While back in Montreal we were just speculating.

In cell number seven
Cell number seven
Cell number seven
Cell number seven ain’t nothing like Heaven.

The Birdman was sleeping in cage number three
Waiting for the sound of a turning key
While Dougal the Dane leant against the wall
Frightened to sleep in case he should fall
And meanwhile in Boston the kids never knew
That in cell numbers two, three, and seven were The Who.

Cell number seven
Me and Moonie were in cell number seven
He dribbled on my jacket in cell number seven
Oo hoo
Snored like a goat
Ruined my coat.

 

The Who – The Real Me

One of the most exciting songs of The Who. It was off of the Mod concept album Quadrophenia. Roger and Pete are excellent in this song but John and Keith really stand out. The song peaked at #92 in 1974.

I have sat hours with a bass in my hand trying to get the runs right to this. One of John’s best bass parts.

John Entwistle on The Real Me…  “The Real Me” was the first take. I was joking when I did that bass part. The band said, “Wow, that’s great, that’s great!” And I was just messing around. They just loved the song. I was sitting on top of my speaker cabinet playing a silly bass part and that’s the one they liked. 

From Songfacts.

This is about how a Mod can’t see who he really is. “Mods” were British youth who kept up with the latest music and fashion trends. Pete Townshend was a champion of Mod culture, and the rock opera Quadrophenia told the story of a Mod named Jimmy.

John Entwistle gave what many consider one of his greatest bass performances on this song. In a 1996 interview with Goldmine magazine, Entwistle explained that he recorded it in one take. He was just “joking around” when he played it, but the band thought it was great and used it in the final version.

The Real Me

I went back to the doctor
To get another shrink
I sit and tell him ’bout my weekend
But he never betrays what he thinks

Woo
Can you see the real me, doctor?
Doctor?
Can you see the real me, doctor?
Woah, doctor

I went back to my mother
I said I’m crazy ma, help me
She said I know how it feels son
‘Cause it runs in the family

Can you see the real me, mama?
Mama?
Can you see the real me, mama?
Woah, mama

Can you see
Can you see the real me?
Can you see
Can you see the real me
The real me
The real me

The cracks between the paving stones
Look like rivers of flowing veins
Strange people who know me
Peeping from behind every window pane
The girl I used to love
Lives in this yellow house
Yesterday she passed me by
She doesn’t want to know me now

Can you see the real me?
Can ya?
Can ya?
Can you see the real me?
Can ya?
Woah, yeah

I ended up with a preacher
Full of lies and hate
I seemed to scare him a little
So he showed me to the golden gate

Can you see the real me, preacher?
Preacher?
Can you see the real me, preacher?

Can you see
Can you see
Can you see
Woah

Can you see the real me, doctor?

Can you see the real me, ma?

Can you see the real me (me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me)?

The Kids Are Alright 1979

Besides the Beatles Anthology, this is my favorite rockumentary for the lack of a better word. Jeff Stein the director did a great job on this film about The Who.

Jeff was a fan of the band and pestered them until they let him do this. He had no prior experience in filmmaking but this was the 1970s and he got the gig. His timing was eerily perfect. He caught the original band at the very end of their tenure with the great Keith Moon.

He searched high and low for clips of the band in earlier years. Stein keeps the appearance mostly in order. There is sadness in this. You see the band through the years from 1964 to 1978… you see all of them gradually age of course but Keith Moon ages faster than any of them. I’ve read where it hit him hard while watching the rough cut right before he died. His drinking and drug taking had taken its toll on him. He saw a young energetic kid that looked like Paul McCartney’s younger brother to a man who was 32 and looked like he was in his 40s.

This may be the first or one of the first video bios on a major rock group. Led Zeppelin had The Song Remains the Same but it focused on one concert in New York… The Beatles had Let It Be but those films didn’t show their history like The Kids Are Alright.

It this film you see a band that is fun… unlike Zeppelin the Who were more open to their audience and didn’t have a dark mystique hanging over them. They would crack jokes from the stage and Moon treated it like a High School talent show until he started to play…then he got serious.

You see film segments that were fun like the video of Happy Jack, the interview on the Russell Harty show, Keith with Ringo, and Keith and Pete sharing a joke that only they could understand. One of my favorite segments is The Who playing Barbara Ann with Keith singing and the band having a good time. They also played I Saw Her Standing There but it didn’t make the film…you can watch it in the outtakes. I can’t imagine Zeppelin doing Barbara Ann and goofing for the camera.

The Who did a couple of live shows for the film besides being interviewed. Stein mostly used old clips but he convinced the band to do a couple of concerts where he could get a definitive version of Won’t Get Fooled Again… which personally I think is the greatest rock song live you will ever hear. You see Keith’s last performance as he is looking pudgy, older, and slower but still pulls it off. Pete wasn’t too thrilled about doing the concerts for the film but it turned out good. They ended up only using a version Won’t Get Fooled Again and Baba O’Riley.

Keith died a few months before The Kids Are Alright debuted. The film showed The Who at it’s best. Kenney Jones from the Faces replaced him but it was never the same. You cannot replace Moon…he was the engine that drove the Who. The only drummer that has worked well with the Who since Keith has been Keith’s Godson Zak Starkey…Ringo’s son.

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I acquired a VHS copy of this in the mid-eighties. It wasn’t a great copy but my friends and I wore it out. One of them worked at a small cable station. The station was in a small county that usually aired farm reports and advertisements. Basically, it was a very small building in the middle of nowhere. All they would do there is broadcast videos.

We had the tape in hand and wanted to see it so we went there one afternoon. He popped it in the VHS player and played it. He had no idea but it was going out live. Near the end of the film, he took a phone call from his boss. I didn’t think anyone ever watched that station…but it turns out they did and they were not fans of The Who. He didn’t get fired but they took his key for the door. It was a big subject the next day at school as some teenagers loved it but their parents didn’t appreciate their videos on farming being interrupted by My Generation and Keith Moon in bondage.

This film covers the original Who and being such a Who fan I’m glad Jeff Stein was so persistent in doing this because many of the tapes he was able to borrow probably would have been erased and used again by the BBC as was their policy.