Who – Athena

I felt like a pickled priest
Who was being flambed

No one writes like Pete Townshend…bless him. I’ve come to really like Eminence Front but when this album came out, this is the song that I drawn to at first.

The song was written about actress Theresa Russell who Pete had a crush on that the time. He did a demo at the time called “Teresa for the Face Dances Album. She was then going with Nic Roeg. By the time The Who came to record the song for It’s Hard, Teresa Russell had wed Nic Roeg. The guitarist was nervous about publicly naming his crush so he renamed it “Athena.” What Pete’s then-wife Karen Astley felt about this we don’t know.

The song reached #28 in the Billboard 100, #5 in Canada, and #40 in the UK in 1982.

Roger Daltrey felt that concealing the subject of the song’s true identity was a mistake. “Pete was talking to me about Nick Roeg’s girlfriend and how he fancied her, and that song was written about her – but then it changed into ‘She’s a bomb’.

Roger Daltrey:  I’ve got a psychological problem with it,” “It’s a great record; there’s so much energy on that thing, but I still don’t think there’s a center to that song. The fact that he changed the title in that and didn’t stick to what it was supposed to be lost its center to me.”

Pete Townshend: The song was written after I had been to see The Wall with my friend Bill Minkin and the actress Theresa Russell who was about to marry the film director Nic Roeg with whom I hoped to work on a new version of Lifehouse. I got drunk as usual, but I had taken my first line of cocaine that very evening before meeting her and decided I was in love. When I came to do the vocal on the following day I was really out of my mind with frustration and grief because she didn’t reciprocate

From Songfacts

Pete Townshend wrote this song the day after he was knocked back by American actress Theresa Russell.

The guitarist told TheWho.net how he went to see The Wall with his friend Bill Minkin and Russell. (The actress was engaged to the film director Nic Roeg with whom he was planning to work on a new version of Lifehouse.) “I got drunk as usual, but I had taken my first line of cocaine that very evening before meeting her and decided I was in love,” Townshend explained. “When I came to do the vocal on the following day [February 15, 1980] I was really out of my mind with frustration and grief because she didn’t reciprocate.”

Teresa Demo

Athena

I had no idea how much I need her
In peaceful times I hold her close and I feed her
My heart starts palpitating
When I think my guess was wrong
But I think I’ll get alone
She’s just a girl
She’s a bomb

Athena
All I ever want to do is please her
My life has been so settled
And she’s the reason
Just one word from her
And my troubles are long gone
But I think I’ll get along
She’s just a girl
She’s a bomb
She’s a bomb
Just a girl, just a girl
Just a girl, just a girl
Just a girl, just a girl
She’s just a girl

Athena
My heart felt like a shattered glass in an acid bath
I felt like one of those flattened ants
You find on a crazy path
I’d have stopped myself to give her time
She didn’t need to ask
Was I a suicidal psychopath
She’s just a girl
She’s a bomb
She’s just a girl
She’s a bomb
Consumed
There was a beautiful white horse
I saw on a dream stage
He had a snake the size of a sewer pipe
Livin’ in his rib cage

I felt like a pickled priest
Who was being flambed
You’ve got me requisitioned blondie
She’s just a girl
She’s a bomb
I’m happy
She’s a bomb
I’m ecstatic
Just a girl, just a girl
Just a girl, just a girl
Just a girl, just a girl
Just a girl

Look into the face of a child
Measure how long you smiled
Before the mem’ry claimed
How long would children remain
How long could children remain

Athena
You picked me up by my lapels
And screamed “leave her”
I felt like waking up in heaven
On an empty meter
And now you’re stuck
With a castrated leader
And I hate the creep
I didn’t mean that
She’s a bomb
I just said it
She’s a bomb
Please She’s a bomb

Athena
I had no idea how much I need her
My life has been so settled
And she’s the reason
Just one word from her
And my troubles are long gone
Ooh but I get along
She’s just a girl
She’s a bomb
She’s just a girl
She’s a bomb

My 10 Favorite Powerpop Songs

As you may have guessed by now I’m an extreme fan of power pop. This list was hard to write…I kept changing most of it… but I knew the top choice and worked from there.

I just gave my self ten choices or I would have gone on and on. A lot of artists and their songs were left off…such as Todd Rundgren, The Cars, Sloan, The Lemon Twigs, The Flamin’ Groovies, The Shivvers, The Jayhawks,  and too many more to mention.

10. The Ride – Twisterella– 1992 – I found this a few months back and have been listening to it ever since.

9. The Records – Starry Eyes– 1979 – Great song. Starry Eyes would end up being The Record’s best-known song. Robert John “Mutt” Lange produced their debut album for The Records.

8. The La’s – There She Goes– 1990 – A very good power pop song that has no verses…It just repeats the chorus four different ways four different times…but that doesn’t matter.

7. Cheap Trick – Voices– 1980 – One of my top Cheap Trick songs. Robin Zanders voice sounds great in this Beatlesque song.

6. The Who –Pictures of Lily– 1967 –  When this song came out Pete Townshend coined the name “power pop” and this song is about the childhood…lusts…of a boy.

5. Raspberries – Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)– 1974 – An epic song by the Raspberries. Not their most popular…that would be “Go All The Way” but this encapsulates everything power pop is about. Bruce Springsteen on Overnight Sensation: It’s one of the best little pop symphonies you’ll ever hear.

4. Big Star – The Ballad of El Goodo – 1972 – The tone of the guitars, harmonies and the perfect constructed chorus keeps me coming back listen after listen.

3. Badfinger –No Matter What– 1971 – The only band to make this list twice. Why? because this song defines the crunchy power pop of bands like Cheap Trick to come.

 2. Tom Petty – American Girl– 1977 – The Rickenbacker, the hook, and a Byrds sounding track.

 

********************************************************************

  1. Badfinger – Baby Blue – 1972 – The number one song was the easiest decision of the list. The rest were changed a few times…this one for me is a no-brainer. This song is the perfect power pop song…strong vocals, Crunchy Brit  guitar, great hook,  and great melody

Who – I’m Free

After reading the John Entwistle biography I’ve been listening to the Who for the past week and a half. Tommy is not my favorite Who album…but the album does contain a lot of good songs. Tommy did make a huge mark in pop culture…a movie and Broadway play has been made from the story.

The riff is simple and powerful. A very good song that adds to Tommy. Like some of the other songs…I’m Free was written before Tommy was thought of but Pete fit what songs he had with the new ones to make the story.

Tommy was the breakthrough album for the Who in America. A concept album about a deaf, dumb, and blind boy who…you guessed it…loves pinball. On the album the Who’s sound is subdued but on tour, they presented it loud and aggressive as only the Who could be.

The album peaked at #4 in the Billboard Album Charts in 1970. I’m Free peaked at #37 in the Billboard 100 in 1969.

Pete Townshend: ‘I’m Free’ came from ‘Street Fighting Man.’ This has a weird time/shape and when I finally discovered how it went, I thought ‘well blimey, it can’t be that simple,’ but it was and it was a gas and I wanted to do it myself.

The guitar sound in this version sends shivers down my spine. Compare it to the album version below this one.

I’m Free

I’m free
I’m free
And freedom tastes of reality
I’m free
I’m free
An’ I’m waiting for you to follow me

If I told you what it takes
To reach the highest high
You’d laugh and say ‘nothing’s that simple’
But you’ve been told many times before
Messiahs pointed to the door
And no one had the guts to leave the temple!

I’m free
I’m free
And freedom tastes of reality

I’m free
I’m free
An’ I’m waiting for you to follow me

How can we follow?
How can we follow?

The Ox: The Authorized Biography of The Who’s John Entwistle…. by Paul Rees

When I see the word “authorized” I get really skeptical that they will not tell the complete story. This one proved me wrong. John’s son Christopher had said that this book was going to be warts and all. He was correct in that. I was super excited to read this. In the past year, I re-read Pete Townshend’s autobiography, Roger Daltrey’s autobiography, and re-read Keith Moon’s biography by Tony Fletcher and to top it off the Kenney Jones biography.

John actually wrote 4 chapters himself in 1990 when he wanted to write his own book. He soon grew tired of it and just stored it away. Rees did manage to incorporate some of what he wrote that included stories about him and Moon I never heard. John Entwistle is the least written about of the four. Any info on him is nice and a lot of this was new to me. Rees goes over the highlights and you don’t get dragged down at any point. The only thing I didn’t like was…like Daltrey’s autobiography it’s short…only 320 pages long.

The book goes through the history of the Who that Who fans know but with a lot of anecdotes. I found out more about John’s life than I ever knew. You see where he developed his black humor and he was probably the best pure musician in that band. I would recommend this book to any rock music fan. You get some funny stories also…

One about the Who opening up for the Beatles and listening to them through monitors in the dressing room rolling on the floor laughing hearing The Beatles sing obscene words to their songs “I Want To Hold Your ****”…A Hard Day’s ****. because the screaming was so loud and they couldn’t be heard out front.

Why I looked forward to this book…

___________________________________________________________________________________________

John was a bass hero of mine growing up. I started off learning trying to learn the riffs he did by slowing Who albums with my finger so the riffs would be slower…but they were still fast. Most bass players fill in the empty space but with the Who, there wasn’t much empty space because of Moon’s playing. He played what amounted to lead bass and it worked well…his harmonics made up for the lack of other instruments.

Keith Altham (journalist): John was an enigma. That he was the best bass guitarist of his generation is not in dispute, but because of the peculiar demands placed upon him by The Who he wasn’t a bass player in the accepted sense of the term because he didn’t play bass like anyone else, any more than Keith Moon played the drums like anyone else or, for that matter, Pete Townshend the guitar. “His playing was so dextrous and inventive that he was often indistinguishable from a second guitar.”

Lemmy: “He’s the best player in Rock and Roll ever…no contest”

John Entwistle: “I just wanted to play louder than anyone else …

Bill Wyman: John was the Jimi Hendrix of bass players

The Who – My Wife

Gonna buy a tank and an aeroplane
When she catches up with me won’t be no time to explain
She thinks I’ve been with another woman and that’s enough
To send her half insane

I was just going to post the lyrics for everyone to read…it explains it all…it’s funny and a great song. A favorite of mine from the Who. It’s a John Entwistle song with his brand of humor on display. He was married to his wife Alison at this time. It’s on the great Who’s Next album and was the B side to Baba O’Riley. It was released in 1971.

John wrote some good songs like Boris The Spider, Success Story, and Trick of the Light but he was in a band with Pete Townshend, and that makes it tough to be heard.

John (The Ox, The Quiet One, Thunderfingers) and Keith Moon made… to me, the best rhythm section in rock and roll.

On the studio version from Who’s Next, Entwistle sings and plays bass, in addition to performing the piano part and all of the brass parts…he’d also played the French horn on earlier Who records…

Run John Run!

My Wife

My life’s
In jeopardy
Murdered in cold blood is what I’m gonna be
I haven’t been home since Friday night and now my wife
Is comin’ after me

Give me police protection
Gonna buy a gun so I can look after number one
Give me a bodyguard —
A black belt judo expert
With a machine gun!

Gonna buy a tank and an aeroplane!
When she catches up with me,
Won’t be no time to explain
She thinks I’ve been with another woman
And that’s enough
To send her half-insane!

Gonna buy a fast car, put on my lead boots, and take a long, long drive
I may end up spendin’ all my money,
But I’ll still be alive!

All I did was have a bit too much to drink
And picked the wrong precinct
Got picked up by the law and now I ain’t got time to think

Gonna buy a tank and an aeroplane!
When she catches up with me,
Won’t be no time to explain
She thinks I’ve been with another woman
And that’s enough
To send her half-insane!

Gonna buy a fast car, put on my lead boots, and take a long, long drive
I may end up spendin’ all my money,
But I’ll still be alive!

And I’m oh, so tired of running
Gonna lay down on the floor
I gotta rest some time
So I can get to run some more
Yeah!

She’s comin’!
She’s comin’!
She’s comin’!
She’s comin’!
She’s comin’!
She’s comin’!
She’s comin’!
She’s comin’!
She’s comin’!
She’s comin’!

Who – Baba O’Riley

Pete Townshend took a chance with this song and the album. Back in1971 when you used any new synthesizer or electronic sounds you ran the risk of sounding dated very quickly as new devices were coming out regularly.

Townshend played a Lowrey TBO-1 organ at his home studio. He tried to run it through an ARP synthesizer/sequencer, but couldn’t get the sound he was looking for. Instead, he used the “marimba repeat” setting on his Lowrey to create an arpeggiated, complex repeating pattern. The album sounds fresh today.

The song was on Who’s Next…arguably the most successful album of the Who’s career. There is not a weak song on the album. The difference in the sound of the album compared to Tommy is phenomenal. This album has a sonic quality that not many albums have.

The album was released on August 14, 1971.

From Songfacts

The first part of the title comes from Meher Baba, who was Pete Townshend’s spiritual guru. The second part comes from Terry Riley, an experimental, minimalist composer Townshend admired – many of the keyboard riffs and sound effects on Who’s Next were a result of Riley’s influence. According to the Who’s Next liner notes, Townshend wrote it as his vision of what would happen if the spirit of Meher Baba was fed into a computer and transformed into music. The result would be Baba in the style of Terry Riley, or “Baba O’Riley.”

The title is not mentioned in the lyrics, so the song is often referred to as “Teenage Wasteland.” The “Teenage Wasteland” section was a completely different song Townshend combined with his “Baba O’Riley” idea to form the song.

Pete Townshend spent a few weeks in his home studio putting together the part that sounds like a synthesizer on a Lowry organ. His goal: to create “a replication of the electronic music of the future.”

When he took the tape of his recording to engineer Glyn Johns, he expected Johns to alter it, but Johns left it as is, insisting it was perfect.

This is the first song on Who’s Next, the most successful album of The Who’s career. Although this is one of the most popular Who songs, it was never released as a single in America or the UK. It was, however, the perfect song for the up-and-coming Album Oriented Rock (AOR) format that was picking up steam on FM radio. Always played in moderation, “Baba” became a Classic Rock staple and remains on many playlists.

When The Who perform this live, the processed organ is played from a recording, since it would be nearly impossible to replicate on an instrument. The guitar doesn’t come in until 1:40, giving Pete Townshend some time to reflect on his work. “There is this moment of standing there just listening to this music and looking out to the audience and just thinking, ‘I f–king did that. I wrote that,” he told Rolling Stone. “I just hope that on my deathbed I don’t embarrass myself by asking someone, ‘Can you pass me my guitar? And will you run the backing tape of ‘Baba O’Riley’? I just want to do it one more time.”

This marked one of the first times a keyboard/synthesizer was used to form the rhythm of a rock song, rather than employing it as a lead instrument.

Regarding the phrase “Teenage Wasteland”:

Lifehouse is set in a time where most of England is a polluted wasteland. Townshend described it as: “A self-sufficient drop-out family group farming in a remote part of Scotland decide to return South to investigate rumors of a subversive concert event that promises to shake and wake up apathetic, fearful British society. Ray is married to Sally, they hope to link up with their daughter Mary who has run away from home to attend the concert. They travel through the scarred wasteland of middle England in a motor caravan, running an air conditioner they hope will protect them from pollution.”

As for the “teenage” bit, Townshend said: “There are regular people, but they’re the scum off the surface; there’s a few farmers there, that’s where the thing from ‘Baba O’Riley’ comes in. It’s mainly young people who are either farmer’s kids whose parents can’t afford to buy them experience suits; then there’s just scum, like these two geezers who ride around in a battered-up old Cadillac limousine and they play old Who records on the tape deck… I call them Track fans.” So basically, teenagers traveling across the wasteland to attend this concert.

The famous violin part was performed by Dave Arbus of the group East of Eden, who created what many consider the first Celtic Rock song with Jig a Jig.

According to Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time, this violin jig at the end was drummer Keith Moon’s idea. In concert, Roger Daltrey would play the jig on harmonica. 

This began as part of Townshend’s “Lifehouse” project, which is a film script he wrote. The playscript was published in 1999 by Pocket Books, Great Britain. In the screenplay of “Lifehouse,” Townshend wrote about the composer (Bobby) setting up the concert: “An experiment Bobby conducts in which each participant [in the concert] is both blueprint and inspiration for a unique piece of music or song which will feature largely in the first event to be hacked onto the grid.”

Townshend subsequently decided to actually pursue this, which he did through lifehouse-method.com.

Townshend was never able to convince anyone to do the Lifehouse film, and he more or less gave up on that – but he never gave up on having it produced. He revised the script to be more relevant to the world of the Internet (which had caught up with his 1971 concept of a global grid), and to incorporate thoughts and insights he’d had in the ensuing 25+ years, and it was performed on BBC3 on December 5, 1999.

The final version of the song runs 5:01, but Townshend’s instrumental synthesizer demo of the song was a healthy 9:48. This demo was released in 1972 on a Meher Baba tribute album called I Am.

In an interview with Billboard magazine carried out in February 2010, Townshend discussed how he feels now that 40 years on this and other Who songs take on a deeper meaning. He explained that when he wrote the band’s classic tunes, “The music there was about living in the present and losing yourself in the moment. Now that has changed. Boomers kind of hang on to that as a memory.When I go back and listen to those songs, the Who songs in particular of the late ’60s and early 70s, there was an aspiration in my writing to attune to the fact that what I could feel in he audience was – I won’t say religious – but there was certainly a spiritual component to what people wanted their music to contain. There’s definitely a higher call for the music now which is almost religious. U2, for example, are hugely successful with songs about inner longing for freedom, ideas.

A song like ‘Baba O’Riley,’ with ‘we’re all wasted,’ it just meant ‘we’re all wasted’ – it didn’t have the significance that it now has. What we fear is that in actual fact we have wasted an opportunity. I think I speak for my audience when I say that, I hope I do.”

This is the theme song for the TV show CSI: NY, which launched in 2004, the third in the CSI franchise. Every CSI uses a theme song by The Who: for the original CSI: Crime Scene Investigation it’s “Who Are You,” CSI: Miami uses “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” and for CSI: Cyber it’s “I Can See For Miles.”

This was used in commercials for the 2000 Nissan Pathfinder, and also appeared in ads for Cisco. The Who lost a lot of money on bad business deals in their early years and decided to cash in when they were offered big bucks for commercials.

This quickly became a concert favorite for The Who. Live versions of this song can be found on the albums The Kids Are Alright (1978), Concerts for the People of Kampuchea (1979), Who’s Last (1982), The Blues To The Bush (1999) and The Who & Special Guests Live at the Royal Albert Hall video (2000).

Black Francis of the Pixies finds this song rather intriguing. He broke it down in an interview with Songfacts. “It’s not just straight up verse/chorus/verse/chorus,” Francis said. “I was always impressed by that song, the way that it changes, the way the end of the song sort of becomes the chorus by eliminating one of the chords. It removes the minor chord, and it’s an outro, I guess, but it feels like, Oh, here we are in the chorus again, even though it’s not again – it’s totally different than anything that came before it. So I really like that song. Songs like that I tend to deconstruct a little bit and try to understand what it is that I’m hearing.”

In 2007, the song was covered by The Blue Man Group for the TV show America’s Got Talent. Since then, it has become a staple at Blue Man Group shows. 

While Townsend’s keyboard playing is legendary and brilliant, it’s not quite what it seems. When the song was recorded, the band’s newly purchased Lowry organ came with a very special feature: a pedal that, when pressed, would repeat each note played three times in succession. (Source: interstitial on 97.1FM The Mountain, Denver, Colorado – thanks, S.D. – Denver, CO)

Spike Lee used this in his 1999 movie Summer of Sam, and a fully orchestrated version was used at the beginning of the 2002 movie Slackers. Other movies to use the song include:

Far Out (2015)
Slash 3 (2015)
Premium Rush (2012)
The Girl Next Door (2004)
Fever Pitch (1997)
Prefontaine (1997)
Love in Maid (1975)

It has been used in these TV series:

Stranger Things (“Chapter One: Suzie, Do You Copy?” – 2019)
Family Guy (“Quagmire’s Mom” – 2015)
The Good Guys (“Vacation” – 2010)
My Name Is Earl (“The Trial” – 2007)
One Tree Hill (“Pictures of You” – 2007)
House (“Control” – 2005)
King of the Hill (“Tankin’ It to the Streets” – 2002)
Miami Vice (“Out Where the Buses Don’t Run” – 1985)

This song was used for Part 3 of the VH1 special The Drug Years about drug use in the 1970s. It showed how drugs went from a religious experience in the ’60s to just getting “Wasted” in the ’70s. 

This was used at the end of the trailer for the film The Girl Next Door. The movie encompasses some of the dramas of teenage life.

Baba O’Riley

Out here in the fields
I fight for my meals
I get my back into my living
I don’t need to fight
To prove I’m right
I don’t need to be forgiven

Don’t cry
Don’t raise your eye
It’s only teenage wasteland

Sally take my hand
We’ll travel south cross land
Put out the fire
And don’t look past my shoulder
The exodus is here
The happy ones are near
Let’s get together, before we get much older

Teenage wasteland
It’s only teenage wasteland
Teenage wasteland
Oh yeah, teenage wasteland
They’re all wasted!

Who – You Better You Bet

I always thought of this song as the sister song to Who Are You. You Better You Bet was on Face Dances. This was the first album without Keith Moon and with Kenney Jones on drums.

Pete Townshend has said he wrote it “over several weeks of clubbing and partying” while the still-married guitarist was dating a younger woman. He said: “I wanted it to be a great song because the girl I wrote it for is one of the best people on the planet.”

The song peaked at #18 in the Billboard 100 in 1981. This was the first new Who album I ever bought. Face Dances wasn’t a bad album although they did indeed miss Keith Moon.

Roger Daltrey who was never a big proponent of Jones said: “A wonderful, wonderful song. The way the vocal bounces, it always reminds me of Elvis. But it was a difficult time, yeah. The Moon carry-on was much harder than carrying on after John, because we’re more mature now. I hate going over this but, in retrospect, we did make the wrong choice of drummers. Kenney Jones – don’t get me wrong, a fantastic drummer – but he completely threw the chemistry of the band. It just didn’t work; the spark plug was missing from the engine.”

“The first tour Kenney did with us, though, he was absolutely f–king brilliant,” Daltrey added. “But after that he settled into what he knew, which was his Faces-type drumming, which doesn’t work with The Who. In some ways I’d like to go back and re-record a lot of the songs on Face Dances, but ‘You Better, You Bet’ is still one of my favorite songs of all.”

From Songfacts

This is a love song written from the perspective of a guy who drinks and smokes too much. He and his girl have a clever rapport: when he tells her he loves her, she says, “You better.”

This was the first Who single recorded with drummer Kenney Jones, who had replaced Keith Moon after his death three years earlier. 

The black-and-white music video features the band and keyboardist John Bundrick playing the song onstage. It was the fourth clip played upon MTV’s launch on August 1,1981 and was also the 54th visual to be aired on the fledgling music channel, making it the first video to be shown on MTV more than once.

The lyric, “I drunk my self blind to the sound of old T-Rex,” refers to the ’60s/’70s British glam rock band T-Rex, fronted by Marc Bolan. >>

The lead single from The Who’s Face Dances album, this was the last single by the band that reached the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the Top 10 in the UK.

The keyboard line came from a Yamaha E70 organ Pete Townshend played using the Auto Arpeggio setting. He used the same setup to create the keyboard riff in “Eminence Front.”

You Better You Bet

You better you better you bet, ooh
You better you better you bet, ooh
You better you better you bet, ooh
You better you better you bet, ooh

I call you on the telephone my voice too rough with cigarettes
I sometimes feel I should just go home
But I’m dealing with a memory that never forgets
I love to hear you say my name especially when you say yes
I got your body right now on my mind and I drunk myself blind
To the sound of old T-Rex
To the sound of old T-Rex, who’s next?

When I say I love you say you better
(You better you better you bet)
When I say I need you say you better
(You better you better you bet)
You better bet your life
Or love will cut you like a knife

I want those feeble minded axes overthrown
I’m not into your passport picture I just like your nose
You welcome me with open arms and open legs
I know only fools have needs but this one never begs

I don’t really mind how much you love me
A little is really alright
When you say come over and spend the night
Tonight, tonight

When I say I love you say you better
(You better you better you bet)
When I say I need you say you better
(You better you better you bet)
You better bet your life
Or love will cut you like a knife

I lay on the bed with you
We could make some book of records
Your dog keeps licking my nose
And chewing up all those letters
Saying you better
You better bet your life

You better love me, all the time now
You better shove me back into line now
You better love me, all the time now
You better shove me back into line now

I showed up late one night with a neon light for a visa
But knowing I’m so eager to fight can’t make letting me in any easier
I know that I’ve been wearing crazy clothes and I look pretty crappy
Sometime
But my body feels so good and I still sing a razor line everytime

And when it comes to all night living
I know what I’m giving
I’ve got it all down to a tee
And it’s free

When I say I love you say you better
(You better you better you bet)
When I say I need you say you better
(You better you better you bet)
When I say I love you say you better
(You better you better you bet)
When I say I need you say you better
(You better you better you bet)
When I say I love you say you better
(You better you better you bet)
When I say I need you say you better
(You better you better you bet)
When I say I love you say you better
(You better you better you bet)
When I say I need you say you better
(You better you better you bet)

You better bet your life
Or love will cut you just like a knife

 

The Who – Squeeze Box

You go and see Pete Townshend to watch him windmill his guitar and jump about. Not on this song…you hear Pete happily playing on a banjo…and that is a great thing. He also slips in the accordion for good measure. This is not The Who’s best song but it’s happy and catchy. It’s also the first Who song I remember hearing without knowing much about them. My sister surprisingly had this single…a bright spot among the many bad ones she owned.

This song was on the album The Who By Numbers released in 1975 and peaked at #8. Squeeze Box made it to #16 in the Billboard 100 in 1976.

Townshend wrote all of the songs and they were deeply personal. He had just turned 30 and he was beginning to question his place in Rock and Roll. A question he would wrestle with a few more years.

Squeeze Box was originally intended for a Who television special planned in 1974. In the planned performance of the song, the members of the band were to be surrounded by 100 topless women playing accordions

Pete Townsend: “It’s not about a woman’s breasts, vaginal walls, or anything else of the ilk.”

Roger Daltrey: “What’s great about ‘Squeeze Box’ is that it’s so refreshingly simple, an incredible catchy song. A good jolly. I’ve never had a problem with that song because it doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it is and I love it for that. Live audiences love it. Nothing wrong with a bit of ‘in-and-out’, mate!”  

From Songfacts

Squeeze Box” is a slang term for an accordion, but it is also slang for the vagina. The band just wanted to see if they could get away with singing about the joys of explicit sex. 

In the liner notes to Pete Townshend’s compilation album Scoop, he wrote that he recorded the song for fun one day when he had bought himself an accordion. The accordion gave the song a polka-esque rhythm and the lyrics were “intended as a poorly aimed dirty joke.” Townshend had no thought of it ever becoming a hit.

The song is about an accordion (sort of), but there is hardly any of the instrument in the song. You can hear some in the section about 90 seconds in that goes, “squeeze me, come on and squeeze me,” but the subsequent instrumental section is mostly banjo. Pete Townshend played both instruments.

 

Squeeze Box

Mama’s got a squeeze box
She wears on her chest
And when daddy comes home
He never gets no rest
‘Cause she’s playing all night
And the music’s all right
Mama’s got a squeeze box
Daddy never sleeps at night

Well the kids don’t eat
And the dog can’t sleep
There’s no escape from the music
In the whole damn street
‘Cause she’s playing all night
And the music’s all right
Mama’s got a squeeze box
Daddy never sleeps at night

She goes in and out and in
And out and in and out and in and out
She’s playing all night
And the music’s all right
Mama’s got a squeeze box
Daddy never sleeps at night

She goes, squeeze me, come on and squeeze me
Come on and tease me like you do
I’m so in love with you
Mama’s got a squeeze box
Daddy never sleeps at night

She goes in and out and in and out
And in and out and in and out
‘Cause she’s playing all night
And the music’s all right
Mama’s got a squeeze box
Daddy never sleeps at night

The Who – Pinball Wizard

It wasn’t the highest-charting song (See Me, Feel Me peaked at #12) but probably the most well-known song off their concept album Tommy.

It was the last song written for Tommy. Townshend wrote it when he found out influential UK rock critic Nik Cohn was coming to review the project. Townshend knew Cohn was a pinball fanatic, so he put this together to ensure a good review. Cohn gave it a great review, and pinball became the main theme of the rock opera.

After writing this song for Nik Cohn, Townshend almost didn’t even mention it to the band because he hated it so much. They told him to play it and told him he had written a hit. Meanwhile, he thought it was a mindless, badly written song.

The song peaked at #19 in the Billboard 100, #4 in the UK, #6 in Canada, and #8 in New Zealand.

From Songfacts

This is part of Tommy, the first “rock opera.” Tommy is about a young man who is deaf, dumb, and blind, but becomes a pinball champion and gains hordes of adoring fans. It was made into a play and continues to run as an off-Broadway production.

Tommy was made into a movie in 1975 starring Jack Nicholson, Ann Margaret, Tina Turner, and Roger Daltrey (who played Tommy). Elton John made an appearance as The Pinball Wizard and performed this song. His version hit UK #7.

Pete Townshend wrote this. It existed mostly in his head while they were recording it, and the other members of The Who had no idea how most of the story would end until they finished it. Townshend was not credited as the only songwriter on the project – John Entwistle wrote “Cousin Kevin” and “Fiddle About,” and Keith Moon got credit for “Tommy’s Holiday Camp.”

The character Tommy played pinball by feeling the vibrations of the machine. Townshend liked how that related to listeners picking up the vibrations of the music to feel the story.

The single version was sped up to make it more radio-friendly.

This was the most famous and enduring song from the Tommy project. Along with “See Me, Feel Me,” it is one of 2 songs from the album that The Who played throughout their career.

The Who performed this at Woodstock in 1969. The song was still fairly new, so many in the crowd did not recognize it. The Who were given the early morning slot, so they ended up playing this as the sun came up.

The Who performed the entire album from start to finish on their subsequent tour. Two of the dates were in the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.

The famous guitar riff was sampled by The Shocking Blue on their 1969 hit “Venus,” which was covered by Bananarama in 1986.

The album got The Who out of a financial mess. After a legal battle with their manager, Shel Talmy, and some bad business deals in England, they were facing bankruptcy if it didn’t sell.

According to the book The Duh Awards by Bob Fenster, Rod Stewart asked Elton John if he should accept an offer to sing in Tommy. Elton told him no way, “Don’t touch it with a barge pole.” A year later, The Who asked Elton John to sing the same song. Elton grabbed his barge pole and took the offer. “I don’t think Rod’s quite forgiven me for that,” he commented years later. 

The Dutch group The Shocking Blue used the guitar riff from this song for their 1969 hit “Venus.”

Townshend played a 1968 Gibson SG Special guitar on this song.

This features in a commercial for the Toyota Supra GR that debuted during the 2019 Super Bowl between the Rams and Patriots. In the spot, a driver navigates a life-size pinball game in the vehicle.

Pinball Wizard

Ever since I was a young boy
I’ve played the silver ball
From Soho down to Brighton
I must have played them all
But I ain’t seen nothing like him
In any amusement hall

That deaf, dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pinball!

He stands like a statue
Becomes part of the machine
Feeling all the bumpers
Always playing clean
Plays by intuition
The digit counters fall

That deaf, dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pinball!

He’s a pinball wizard
There has to be a twist
A pinball wizard’s got such a supple wrist

‘How do you think he does it?
I don’t know
What makes him so good?’

Ain’t got no distractions
Can’t hear no buzzers and bells
Don’t see no lights a-flashin’
Plays by sense of smell
Always gets the replay
Never seen him fall

That deaf, dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pinball!

I thought I was The Bally table king
But I just handed my pinball crown to him

Even on my favorite table
He can beat my best
His disciples lead him in
And he just does the rest
He’s got crazy flipper fingers
Never seen him fall

That deaf, dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pinball!

Who – Magic Bus

A band called The Pudding heard this song from a Pete Townshend demo that was circulated. The Pudding recorded the first version (see video below), which came and went without much fanfare in 1967…they could have picked a little better name. Their version was a little too smooth for me.

I’ve always liked this song with it’s Bo Diddley rhythm.

The Who’s version came out in the next year in 1968 and peaked at #25 in the Billboard 100, #26 in the UK, #6 in Canada, and #13 in New Zealand.

The song was included on the American album Magic Bus: The Who on Tour although no tracks were live…they were all studio tracks. In the UK it was just released as a single. It would later be included on the great compilation album Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy in 1971.

Pete Townsend: “When I wrote ‘Magic Bus,’ LSD wasn’t even invented as far as I knew. Drug songs and veiled references to drugs were not part of The Who image. If you were in The Who and took drugs, you said, ‘I take drugs,’ and waited for the fuzz to come. We said it but they never came. We very soon got bored with drugs. No publicity value. Buses, however! Just take another look at Decca’s answer to an overdue Tommy; The Who, Magic Bus, On Tour. Great title, swinging presentation. Also a swindle as far as insinuating that the record was live. Bastards. This record is what that record should have been. It’s The Who at their early best. Merely nippers with big noses and small genitals trying to make the front page of The Daily News.”

 

Magic Bus

Every day I get in the queue (too much, Magic Bus)
To get on the bus that takes me to you (too much, Magic Bus)
I’m so nervous, I just sit and smile (too much, Magic Bus)
You house is only another mile (too much, Magic Bus)

Thank you, driver, for getting me here (too much, Magic Bus)
You’ll be an inspector, have no fear (too much, Magic Bus)
I don’t want to cause no fuss (too much, Magic Bus)
But can I buy your Magic Bus? (too much, Magic Bus)

(No)

I don’t care how much I pay (too much, Magic Bus)
I want to drive my bus to my baby each day (too much, Magic Bus)

I want it, I want it, I want it, I want it (you can’t have it)
Thruppence and sixpence every day
Just to drive to my baby
Thruppence and sixpence each day
‘Cause I drive my baby every way

Magic bus, Magic Bus, Magic Bus
Magic bus, Magic Bus, Magic Bus
Magic bus, Magic Bus, Magic Bus
Magic bus, Magic Bus, Magic Bus

I said, now I’ve got my Magic Bus (too much, Magic Bus)
I said, now I’ve got my Magic Bus (too much, Magic Bus)
I drive my baby every way (too much, Magic Bus)
Each time I go a different way (too much, Magic Bus)

I want it, I want it, I want it, I want it
I want it, I want it, I want it, I want it

Every day you’ll see the dust (too much, Magic Bus)
As I drive my baby in my Magic Bus (too much, Magic Bus)

The Who – Christmas

I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and I look forward to reading all of your blogs into the new decade. Thank you for reading mine. This is the last Christmas related song I’m posted until…next November!

This song is on the album Tommy about the deaf, dumb, and blind kid. This is NOT a Christmas song you will hear on the radio at this time of year…it’s just part of the story of Tommy. It’s one of my favorite non-hits on the album along with Sally Simpson.

From Songfacts

Written by Pete Townshend, this song was used in The Who rock opera Tommy when Tommy’s father expresses concerns about his son on Christmas morning. Tommy is deaf, dumb and blind, and doesn’t appear to have much of a future, but that Christmas, he gets a game of pinball and his life changes when he becomes the Pinball Wizard

Christmas

Did you ever see the faces of children
They get so excited.
Waking up on Christmas morning
Hours before the winter sun’s ignited.
They believe in dreams and all they mean
Including heavens generosity.
Peeping round the door
to see what parcels are for free
In curiosity.

And Tommy doesn’t know what day it is.
Doesn’t know who Jesus was or what praying is.
How can he be saved?
From the eternal grave.

Surrounded by his friends he sits so silently,
And unaware of everything.
Playing poxy pin ball
picks his nose and smiles and
Pokes his tongue at everything.
I believe in love
but how can men who’ve never seen
Light be enlightened.
Only if he’s cured
will his spirits future level ever heighten.

And Tommy doesn’t know what day it is.
Doesn’t know who Jesus was or what praying is.
How can he be saved?
>From the eternal grave.
Tommy can you hear me?
Tommy can you hear me?
Tommy can you hear me?
How can he be saved?

[Tommy:]

See me, feel me
Touch me, heal me.
See me, feel me
Touch me, heal me!

Tommy can you hear me?
Tommy can you hear me?
Tommy can you hear me?
How can he be saved?

The Who – Love, Reign O’er Me

This is an epic song That was on the Who’s concept album Quadrophenia. The album peaked at #2 in 1973 in the Billboard Album Charts.

This may be Roger Daltrey’s best vocal performance in the Who’s long career. Pete has said he wanted a quiet song but when Roger sang it…it was more of a scream…Pete liked what Roger did and thought it fit the story better.

“Love, Reign o’er Me,” date back to 1972. It was originally intended to be part of the unreleased autobiographical album, Rock Is Dead—Long Live Rock! This later evolved into Quadrophenia.

The song peaked at #76 in the Billboard 100 and #31 in Canada in 1973.

 

 

From Songfacts

This is the last track on The Who’s rock opera Quadrophenia. The main character Jimmy suffers from a four-way split personality, with each personality reflecting a member of The Who. This is Pete Townshend’s theme. The personality is described as “A beggar, a hypocrite, love reign over me.”

At the end of the story, Jimmy steals a boat and takes it to a rock out on the sea. What happens out on the rock is described in this song.

Townshend was a follower of the spiritualist Meher Baba. Meher Baba’s teachings were incorporated into some of Townshend’s songs, including this one.

Townshend (from the Quadrophenia liner notes): “(Love, Reign O’er Me) refers to Meher Baba’s one-time comment that rain was a blessing from God; that thunder was God’s Voice. It’s another plea to drown, only this time in the rain. Jimmy goes through a suicide crisis. He surrenders to the inevitable, and you know, you know, when it’s over and he goes back to town he’ll be going through the same s–t, being in the same terrible family situation and so on, but he’s moved up a level. He’s weak still, but there’s a strength in that weakness. He’s in danger of maturing.” 

In 2007, Adam Sandler starred in a dramatic film titled after this song, named Reign Over Me. Sandler played a widowed dentist who can only relate to old rock music since losing his family in the September 11th terrorist attacks. The soundtrack of the film featured a cover version of this song by the band Pearl Jam. Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder is a huge Who fan, and has covered many Who songs in the past.

Love Reign O’er Me

Only love
Can make it rain
The way the beach is kissed by the sea.
Only love
Can make it rain
Like the sweat of lovers’
Laying in the fields.

Love, reign o’er me.
Love, reign o’er me, rain on me.

Only love
Can bring the rain
That makes you yearn to the sky.
Only love
Can bring the rain
That falls like tears from on high.

Love reign o’er me.
On the dry and dusty road
The nights we spend apart alone
I need to get back home to cool cool rain.
I can’t sleep and I lay and I think
The nights are hot and black as ink
Oh God, I need a drink of cool cool rain.

Songs That Were Banned: The Who – My Generation

This week I’ll feature songs that have been banned from the radio for one reason or another for a time. I will just feature pre-9-11 songs because after 2001 practically every song was banned for a little while.

My Generation featured the chorus “Hope I Die Before I Get Old” but that was ok…It was the vocals that resembled stuttering; afraid to offend people with actual stuttering problems, the BBC prohibited the song from receiving airplay. Later, when the song proved to be a huge hit, they allowed it.

The best part of this song for me was John Entwistle’s bass solo. You just didn’t hear many bass solos at that time. John Entwistle “I bought this Danelectro bass and it had these tiny, thin wire-wound strings on. They were so thin, they sounded just like a piano, an unbelievably clear sound. The only thing was that you couldn’t buy these strings. When we recorded ‘My Generation,’ I ended up with three of these Danelectros just for the strings. The last one I had, the string busted before we actually got into the studio to re-record it, so I did it on a Fender Jazz in the end with tape-wound La Bella strings.”

Pete wrote this song for British mods at the time who didn’t think older people understood what was going on. The song peaked at #74 in the Billboard 100, #2 in the UK, and #3 in Canada in 1966.

Pete Townshend was asked if the line still resonated with him. “I think it does,”  “The line actually came from a time when I was living in a really wealthy district of London, just by accident. I didn’t really understand quite where I was living at the time. And I was treated very strangely on the street, in an imperious way by a lot of people, and it was that that I didn’t like. I didn’t like being confronted with money and the class system and power. I didn’t like being in a corner shop in Belgravia and some woman in a fur coat pushing me out of the way because she was richer. And I didn’t know how to deal with that. I could’ve, I suppose, insisted on my rights and not written the song. But I was a tucked-up little kid and so I wrote the song.”

 

From Songfacts

Roger Daltrey sang the lead vocals with a stutter, which was very unusual. After recording two takes of the song normally, The Who’s manager, Kit Lambert, suggested to Daltrey that he stutter to sound like a British kid on speed. Daltrey recalled to Uncut magazine October 2001: “I have got a stutter. I control it much better now but not in those days. When we were in the studio doing ‘My Generation’, Kit Lambert came up to me and said ‘STUTTER!’ I said ‘What?’ He said ‘Stutter the words – it makes it sound like you’re pilled’ And I said, ‘Oh… like I am!’ And that’s how it happened. It was always in there, it was always suggested with the ‘f-f-fade’ but the rest of it was improvised.”

Pete Townshend wrote this on a train ride from London to Southampton on May 19, 1965 – his 20th birthday. In a 1987 Rolling Stone magazine interview, Townshend explained: “‘My Generation’ was very much about trying to find a place in society. I was very, very lost. The band was young then. It was believed that its career would be incredibly brief.” 

Back in 1967, Pete Townshend called this song, “The only really successful social comment I’ve ever made.” Talking about the meaning, he explained it as “some pilled-up mod dancing around, trying to explain to you why he’s such a groovy guy, but he can’t because he’s so stoned he can hardly talk.”

This contains the famous line, “I hope I die before I get old.” The Who drummer Keith Moon did, dying of a drug overdose in 1978 at age 32. The rest of the band found themselves still playing the song 50 years later, giving that line more than a hint of irony.

A Singapore magazine called BigO is named for the famous line in this song – it’s an acronym for “Before I Get Old.”

This song went through various stages as they tried to perfect it. It began as a slow song with a blues feel, and at one point had hand claps and multiple key changes. The final product was at a much faster tempo than the song was conceived; it was Kit Lambert’s idea to speed it up.

This is the highest charting Who song in the UK, but it never cracked the Top 40 in America, where they were less known. In the UK, the album was also called My Generation, but in America it was titled The Who Sing My Generation.

Entwistle was the least visible member of the band, and his bass solos on this song threw off directors when The Who would perform the song on TV shows. When it got to his part, the cameras would often go to Pete Townshend, and his fingers wouldn’t be moving. Entwistle played the solos using a pick, since their manager Kit Lambert didn’t think fingers recorded well. Most of Entwistle’s next recordings were done with fingers.

The BBC refused to play this at first because they did not want to offend people with stutters. When it became a huge hit, they played it.

In 1965, Roger Daltrey stood by this song’s lyric and claimed he would kill himself before reaching 30 because he didn’t want to get old. When he did get older, he answered the inevitable questions about the “hope I die before I get old” line by explaining that it is about an attitude, not a physical age.

On September 17, 1967, The Who performed this song on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Keith Moon set his drums to explode after the performance, but the technical crew had already done so. The resulting explosion burned Pete Townshend’s hair and permanently damaged his hearing.

Also of note during this performance was Moon’s total disregard for the illusion of live performance. The band was playing along to a recorded track (common practice on the show), and while his bandmates synched their movements to the music, Moon made no effort to keep time, even knocking his cymbal over at one point.

Shel Talmy, who produced this track, was fired the next year. Talmy filed a lawsuit and won extensive royalties from future albums.

The ending of this song is electric mayhem, with Keith Moon pounding anything he can find on his drum kit and Townshend flipping his pickups on an off, something he also did on the album opener “Out in the Street.” Townshend and Daltrey go back and forth on the vocals, intentionally stomping on each other to add to the chaos.

This was covered by Iron Maiden, who was usually the Who’s polar opposite both musically and lyrically. One connection they share is the BBC-TV series Top of the Pops. Performances on the show were customarily lip-synched, but The Who performed live on the show in 1972. In 1980, Iron Maiden also performed live, and was the first band to do so since The Who. Maiden put their version of “My Generation” on the B-side to the single for “Lord of the Flies.” 

The Who played this during their set at Woodstock, which didn’t begin until 5:00 a.m. on the second day. The group turned in a solid performance, but they weren’t pleased with the scheduling and weren’t feeling the peace and love – at one point an activist named Abbie Hoffman came on stage uninvited and was forcibly ejected by Pete Townshend.

Green Day recorded this for their 1992 album Kerplunk!

When the teen pop singer Hilary Duff covered this as a B-side for her 2005 single “Someone’s Watching Over Me,” she made the curious decision to rewrite some of the lyrics. “I hope I don’t die before I get old,” doesn’t really have the same rock ‘n’ roll attitude as Townshend’s original words, and her rendition caused some consternation among Who fans.

This song fits nicely into the “primal rock” genre, which covers tunes that are raucous, rebellious, unusual, and also celebratory. Roger Reale, who was in one of these primal rock bands with Mick Ronson, explains the impact of the song:

“‘My Generation’ had no lead guitar, but a lead part played on the bass. It also had a bass breakdown, and unless you listened to a lot of jazz, there were no bass breakdowns in pop music. I remember playing the end of that track over and over and over again, because you could hear the feedback of the guitar, which was so exciting to listen to. In those days, you weren’t supposed to have an outro that was pure noise.”

My Generation

People try to put us d-down (talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Just because we get around (talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Things they do look awful c-c-cold (talkin’ ’bout my generation)
I hope I die before I get old (talkin’ ’bout my generation)

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby

Why don’t you all f-fade away (talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Don’t try to dig what we all s-s-s-say (talkin’ ’bout my generation)
I’m not trying to ’cause a big s-s-sensation (talkin’ ’bout my generation)
I’m just talkin’ ’bout my g-g-g-generation (talkin’ ’bout my generation)

My generation
This is my generation, baby

Why don’t you all f-fade away (talkin’ ’bout my generation)
And don’t try to d-dig what we all s-s-say (talkin’ ’bout my generation)
I’m not trying to ’cause a b-big s-s-sensation (talkin’ ’bout my generation)
I’m just talkin’ ’bout my g-g-generation (talkin’ ’bout my generation)

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby
My my my generation

People try to put us d-down (talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Just because we g-g-get around (talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Things they do look awful c-c-cold (talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Yeah, I hope I die before I get old (talkin’ ’bout my generation)

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby
My my my generation

(Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
(Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
(Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
(Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
(Talkin’ ’bout my generation) this is my generation
(Talkin’ ’bout my generation) this is my generation
(Talkin’ ’bout my generation) this is my generation
(Talkin’ ’bout my generation) this is my generation
(Talkin’ ’bout my generation) this is my generation
(Talkin’ ’bout my generation) this is my generation
(Talkin’ ’bout my generation) this is my generation

The Who – Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere —-Powerpop Friday

This was The Who’s second single. It was the follow-up to I Can’t Explain. When this was sent to their American record label to distribute, they sent it back, assuming the feedback meant there was something wrong with it.

The Who’s early singles like Can’t Explain, The Kids Are Alright, Substitute, I’m A Boy, and A Legal Matter doesn’t get the airplay that their later music does. They were innovative at the time with feedback, distortion and Moon’s aggressive drumming.

This song was written by Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey. it was the only time they wrote together.

The song peaked at #10 in the UK in 1965.

 

From Songfacts

Townshend described this as “Anti-middle age, anti-boss class, and anti-young marrieds.”

This was a collaboration between Pete Townshend and singer Roger Daltrey. It was one of the only times they worked together on a song. 

Nicky Hopkins played piano. A session man at the time, he would go on the work with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

Townshend got the idea for this during a soundcheck.

This contains one of the first uses of feedback on a record. Roger Daltrey recalled to Uncut magazine October 2001: “We were doing this feedback stuff, even before that. We’d be doing blues songs and they’d turn into this freeform, feedback, jazzy noise. Pete was getting all these funny noises, banging his guitar against the speakers. Basically, the act that Hendrix is famous for came from Townshend, pre-‘I Can’t Explain.'”

“‘Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere’ was the first song when we attempted to get that noise onto a record and that was a good deal of time before Hendrix had even come to England,” Daltrey continued. “The American pressing plant sent it back thinking it was a mistake. We said, ‘No, this is the f—ing noise we want. CUT IT LOUD!'”

Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere

I can go anyway, way I choose
I can live anyhow, win or lose
I can go anywhere, for something new
Anyway, anyhow, anywhere I choose

I can do anything, right or wrong
I can talk anyhow, and get along
Don’t care anyway, I never lose
Anyway, anyhow, anywhere I choose

Nothing gets in my way
Not even locked doors
Don’t follow the lines
That been laid before
I get along anyway I dare
Anyway, anyhow, anywhere

I can go anyway, way I choose
I can live anyhow, win or lose
I can do anything, for something new
Anyway, anyhow, anywhere I choose

(Oooh) anyway
(Oooh) Anyway I choose, yeah
(Oooh) Anyway I want to go
(Oooh) I want to go ‘n do it myself
Do it myself
Do it myself, yeah
Anyway, way I choose
Anyway I choose
Yeah, yeah
Ain’t never gonna lose the way I choose
The way I choose
The way I choose

The Who – Boris The Spider

This was Jimi Hendrix’s favorite song of The Who…which didn’t amuse Pete.

This was the first Who song written by bass player, John Entwistle. Pete Townshend asked him to write a song for their second album…A Quick One. A common story about the song is that “Boris the Spider” was written after John had been out drinking with Bill Wyman. They were making up funny names for animals when Entwistle came up with Boris the Spider.

The song became a huge concert favorite because it was so fun and offset many of their more serious songs. Also, the popularity of the song eventually wore off on Entwistle himself, and he began ritualistically wearing a spider medallion on stage.

Pete Townshend had this to say about the song: Politics or my own shaky vanity might be the reason, but ‘Boris The Spider’ was never released as a single and should have been a hit. It was the most-requested song we ever played on stage, and if this really means anything to you guitar players, it was Hendrix’s favorite Who song. Which rubbed me up well the wrong way, I can tell you. John introduced us to ‘Boris’ in much the same way as I introduced us to our ‘Generation;’ through a tape recorder. We assembled in John’s three by ten-foot bedroom and listened incredulously as the strange and haunting chords emerged. Laced with words about the slightly gruesome death of a spider, the song had enough charm to send me back to my pad writing hits furiously.”

From Songfacts

Entwistle was afraid of spiders as a kid. He wrote this about seeing a spider crawling from the ceiling and squishing it.

Entwistle wrote this as a joke, but it became a concert favorite. It is a fun song that offset many of the more serious Who songs.

This was the only song from the album that they continued to play live.

In the UK, the album was called A Quick One. It was changed to Happy Jack in the US to avoid being offensive.

After he wrote this, Entwistle started wearing a spider medallion at concerts.

Boris The Spider

Look, he’s crawling up my wall
Black and hairy, very small
Now he’s up above my head
Hanging by a little thread

Boris the spider
Boris the spider

Now he’s dropped on to the floor
Heading for the bedroom door
Maybe he’s as scared as me
Where’s he gone now, I can’t see

Boris the spider
Boris the spider

Creepy, crawly
Creepy, crawly
Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly

There he is wrapped in a ball
Doesn’t seem to move at all
Perhaps he’s dead, I’ll just make sure
Pick this book up off the floor

Boris the spider
Boris the spider

Creepy, crawly
Creepy, crawly
Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly

He’s come to a sticky end
Don’t think he will ever mend
Never more will he crawl ’round
He’s embedded in the ground

Boris the spider
Boris the spider