The Who – Going Mobile

There is probably not a song on Who’s Next that hasn’t been played to death…but I dont’ hear this one as much as some of the others.

One of my favorite Keith Moon drum tracks… It’s not the most noticeable part he played but no other drummer would have played it this way. I included an isolated drum track of this song at the bottom.

Pete Townshend wrote this and sang it… it was part of his “Lifehouse” project, which was a film script featuring The Who in a future world where rock ‘n’ roll saves the masses. The Who scrapped plans for the concept double album and released most of the songs on Who’s Next…pretty much agreed their best album and one of the best in rock.

The song was the B side to Behind Blue Eyes in 1971.

From Songfacts

This is about taking a vacation by riding around in a car with no particular destination. It was something Pete Townshend liked to do.

 This was much lighter and more simplified than the other songs on the album.

For the solo, Townshend ran his guitar through a device called an Envelope Follower. It was a type of synthesizer distortion that made it sound like he was playing under water.

Keith Moon’s isolated drums on Going Mobile

Going Mobile

I’m going home
And when I want to go home, I’m going mobile
Well I’m gonna find a home on wheels, see how it feels,
Goin’ mobile
Keep me moving

I can pull up by the curb,
I can make it on the road,
Goin’ mobile
I can stop in any street
And talk with people that we meet
Goin’ mobile
Keep me moving, mmm

Out in the woods
Or in the city
It’s all the same to me
When I’m driving free
The world’s my home
When I’m mobile, ey woo, beep beep

Play the tape machine
Make the toast and tea
When I’m mobile
Well, I can lay in bed with only highway ahead
When I’m mobile
Keep me moving

Keep me moving
Over fifty
Keep me groovin’
Just a hippie gypsy
Come on move now
Movin’
Keep me movin’ yeah

Keep me movin’, movin’, movin’, yeah
Movin’ yeah
Mobile, mobile, mobile, mobile, mobile, mobile, mobile

I don’t care about pollution
I’m an air-conditioned gypsy
That’s my solution
Watch the police and the taxman miss me!
I’m mobile! Oh yeah he he
Mobile, mobile, mobile, yeah

Keith Moon’s Replacement at the Cow Palace 1973

After reading about Keith’s exploits it doesn’t surprise me this incident happened to him, what surprises me is that it didn’t happen more often.

On the 1973 tour opener at the Cow Palace in San Fransico Keith found out that Horse Tranquilizers and Brandy don’t mix with drumming. It has been said that someone slipped the tranquilizer in his drink backstage. Dougal Butler his PA said it was a Monkey Tranquilizer.

Keith was playing erratic most of the night slowing down and speeding up the tempo. The Who were coming towards the end of their set and Moon was clearly struggling. A few minutes into Won’t Get Fooled Again he ground to a halt, and left the stage. He came back and played Magic Bus and just fell over on his drums near the end of the song…he looked out of it on the video. He was soon carried off stage

Pete Townshend told the audience “We’re just gonna revive our drummer by punching him in the stomach,” “He’s out cold. I think he’s gone and eaten something he shouldn’t have eaten. It’s your foreign food…”

Pete then asked if anyone can play the drums… someone really good.

It’s hard to imagine one of the biggest bands in the world at that time asking for someone in the audience to fill in for their passed out drummer.

19-year-old Scott Halpin was there with a friend and said…“My friend was pushing me forward and saying, ‘Come on man, you can go up there and play, you can play,’” said Halpin. “He’s really the one that got me into it.”

In interviews, Halpin claimed the last thing he remembered was swallowing a shot of brandy and being introduced to the crowd by Roger Daltrey. That, and the size of Keith Moon’s kit: “It was ridiculous. The tom-toms were as big as my bass drum.” Scott did really well and Daltrey said afterward that he was really good. Halpin walked away from the kit an even bigger Keith Moon fan than before: “I only played three numbers, and I was dead.”… He talked later about the stamina that Moon must have had to play just a set.

From Wiki

Halpin was born in Muscatine, Iowa, to Elizabeth and Richard Halpin, of Muscatine. He grew up in Muscatine, showing early promise as a visual artist and musician. In the early 1970s, he moved to California, where he met his wife and lifetime collaborator Robin Young at City College of San Francisco in 1978. Halpin went on to earn an MA in Interdisciplinary Arts from San Francisco State University.

Halpin became a composer in residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts, in Sausalito, California, and played with a number of bands over the years, including The Sponges, Funhouse, Folklore, SnakeDoctor and Plank Road. While on the West Coast, Halpin and his wife managed a new wave punk rock night club, The Roosevelt, before moving to Indiana in 1995 to pursue opportunities in the visual arts.

From 1995 until his death, Halpin resided in Bloomington, Indiana, with his wife Robin and son, James. According to local newspapers in the Bloomington area, Halpin died February 9, 2008, of an inoperable non-malignant brain tumor.

 

Keith leaves the stage 1:13:40 … and then passes out around 1:29:48. Pete talks to the audience and asks someone to play drums 1:37:50.

I have a friend named Bob who lived in Boston in 1976. His father worked for MCA Records and he saw The Who with Moon. After the first two songs, I Can’t Explain and Substitute Moon passed out and the show was canceled. The show was rescheduled but he didn’t make it to the makeup show…he regrets it now but he got to see Moon in action for 2 songs anyway… No call out for replacements in this concert since it was so early in the show. 

San Francisco and Boston are the only two occasions that I know of that Keith passed out and caused a cancellation. I sent Bob this link and told him at least he has a short audio souvenir of the concert he attended. It doesn’t have the opener Can’t Explain but it does have Substitute and Pete telling the audience about Keith at 3:22… you can hear people talking about it on this bootleg. The cause of this one was too much Brandy and downers.

 

The Who – I Can’t Explain

Great debut single by “The Who.” They released a single before this one but the band had a different name…”The High Numbers.” The song was released in 1964 but peaked at #8 in the UK in 1965.

I Can’t Explain is a simple 3 chord song and what makes it go are the drums. Keith makes his presence felt right away. This was not released on an album until 1971. It is the first song on one of the best compilation albums I ever bought, Meaty, Beaty, Big, and Bouncy.

Roger Daltrey said: “When we turned up to record it there was this other guitarist in the studio – Jimmy Page. And he’d brought in three backing vocalists, which was another shock. He must have discussed it with our management, but not with us, so we were thrown at first, thinking, ‘What the f–k’s going on here?’ But it was his way of recording.”

Page ended up playing the riff and Townsend played the solo.

John Carter, Perry Ford, and Ken Lewis provided the background vocals. The trio were popular session singers in England, where they were known for their harmony vocals. For session work, they called themselves The Ivy League, but they went on to have a hit called “Let’s Go To San Francisco” as The Flower Pot Men. Perry Ford also played piano on this track.

From Songfacts

This was produced by an American named Shel Talmy. He was famous for putting loud, powerful guitar on the songs he produced, and had recently worked with The Kinks on their first hit, “You Really Got Me.” Talmy produced this in a similar style.

Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin fame was a session musician at the time and was brought in to play guitar on this track. The Who producer Shel Talmy knew the guitar would be very prominent on this song and had Page ready in case Townshend couldn’t handle it. Pete did just fine, and quickly established himself as a premier rock guitarist.

The Who made their first US television appearance performing this on the ABC show Shindig. The program aired from 1964-1966 and featured many popular musicians performing their hits. The Everly Brothers, Glen Campbell, and Sonny and Cher were all frequent guests on the show.

Meaty, Beaty, Big And Bouncy was a 1971 compilation of The Who’s early hits, many of which did not appear on albums and could only be purchased as singles. In 1966, The Who broke their contract with manager and producer Shel Talmy. As part of the deal, Talmy got royalties from Who records over the next five years. By 1971, the band was able to release the compilation album without giving the royalties to Talmy.

The Who played this at the Woodstock festival in 1969. It was the second of 24 songs in their set, which ended with a performance of all the songs from their rock opera Tommy. The Who went on at 3 a.m. the second night of Woodstock and played until the sun came up the next day.

The Kinks song “You Really Got Me” was released the previous year and was also produced by Shel Talmy. If you hear similarities in the guitar riffs, you’re not along. Dave Davies of The Kinks says that when he heard “I Can’t Explain,” he thought those “cheeky buggers” from The Who were copying them.

This was a staple of the band’s setlists throughout their career. When The Who toured in 2015 for their 50th anniversary, it was the opening number. Promoting (sort of) the tour in a Rolling Stone interview, Pete Townshend said that he didn’t like performing, partly because songs like this one have no meaning for him anymore. “The first chord of ‘I Can’t Explain’ for me kind of sets the tone for the evening,” he said. “Is this going to be an evening in which I spend the whole evening pretending to be the Pete Townshend I used to be? Or do I pretend to be a grown-up? In both cases, I think I’m pretending.”

Roger Daltrey admitted to Mojo May 2018 that he thought “I Can’t Explain” was a bit namby-pamby. He explained: “It was the backing vocals. ‘Cos Shel Talmy got the Ivy League in. They did these kind of girly high (sings in comedy falsetto) ‘I caaan’t expaaaaain (laughs)’. But you know, it was commercial and it worked, and I was grateful for that.”

I Can’t Explain

Got a feeling inside (can’t explain)
It’s a certain kind (can’t explain)
I feel hot and cold (can’t explain)
Yeah, down in my soul, yeah (can’t explain)

I said (can’t explain)
I’m feeling good now, yeah, but (can’t explain)

Dizzy in the head and I’m feeling blue
The things you’ve said, well, maybe they’re true
I’m gettin’ funny dreams again and again
I know what it means, but

Can’t explain
I think it’s love
Try to say it to you
When I feel blue

But I can’t explain (can’t explain)
Yeah, hear what I’m saying, girl (can’t explain)

Dizzy in the head and I’m feeling bad
The things you’ve said have got me real mad
I’m gettin’ funny dreams again and again
I know what it means but

Can’t explain
I think it’s love
Try to say it to you
When I feel blue

But I can’t explain (can’t explain)
Forgive me one more time, now (can’t explain)

(Ooh) I said I can’t explain, yeah
(Ooh) you drive me out of my mind
(Ooh) yeah, I’m the worrying kind, babe
(Ooh) I said I can’t explain

The Who – A Quick One, While He’s Away

I first saw them perform this on The Kids Are Alright. The performance was electric. I like the studio version but the live versions they push a little harder. The song didn’t chart being so long. The album “A Quick One” peaked at #4 in the UK charts. The hit song of the album was Happy Jack.

The Who had 10 minutes left to fill on the album. Kit Lambert, The Who’s manager, suggested to Pete Townshend that he write “something linear… perhaps a 10-minute song.” Townshend responded by saying that rock songs are “2:50 by tradition!” Lambert then told Townshend that he should write a 10-minute story comprised of 2:50 songs.

The song was a “mini-opera,” paving the way for the other mini-opera “Rael” and eventually full-length rock operas Tommy and Quadrophenia.

From Songfacts

The plot of the story is simple. A girl is sad that her boyfriend is away. Her friends suggest that she take a substitute lover, Ivor The Engine Driver. When the boyfriend returns, she confesses her infidelity and is forgiven.

The Who performed this on the Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus, which was going to be a TV special. It never aired on television but it was released on VHS in 1996 and DVD in 2004. The Who’s performance of this was included in The Kids Are Alright, a 1979 film about The Who.

According to legend, Rock And Roll Circus didn’t air because the Rolling Stones felt that they were showed up by The Who. Jethro Tull, Taj Mahal, Marianne Faithful, John Lennon, Eric Clapton, and Mitch Mitchell all appeared on Rock And Roll Circus.

A live version of this song appears on Live At Leeds and the soundtrack for The Kids Are Alright

The Who wanted to put Cellos on the track but Kit Lambert said they couldn’t afford it. So they sang “cello, cello, cello, cello,” where the Who thought they should go. >>

This was used in the Wes Anderson film Rushmore starring Jason Shwartzman and Bill Murray

A Quick One, While He’s Away

Her man’s been gone
For nearly a year
He was due home yesterday
But he ain’t here

Her man’s been gone
For nigh on a year
He was due home yesterday
But he ain’t here

Down your street your crying is a well-known sound
Your street is very well known, right here in town
Your town is very famous for the little girl
Whose cries can be heard all around the world

Fa la la la la la
Fa la la la la
Fa la la la la la
Fa la la la la

We have a remedy
You’ll appreciate
No need to be so sad
He’s only late

We’ll bring you flowers and things
Help pass your time
We’ll give him eagle’s wings
Then he can fly to you

Fa la la la la la
Fa la la la la
Fa la la la la la
Fa la la la la
Fa la la la la la
Fa la la la la la

We have a remedy
Fa la la la la la la
We have a remedy
Fa la la la la la la
We have a remedy
Fa la la la la la la
We have a remedy
Fa la la la la la la

We have a remedy.
We have!

Little girl, why don’t you stop your crying?
I’m gonna make you feel all right

My name is Ivor
I’m an engine driver

I know him well
I know why you feel blue
Just ’cause he’s late
Don’t mean he’ll never get through

He told me he loves you
He ain’t no liar, I ain’t either
So let’s have a smile for an old engine driver
So let’s have a smile for an old engine driver

Please take a sweet
Come take a walk with me
We’ll sort it out
Back at my place, maybe

It’ll come right
You ain’t no fool, I ain’t either
So why not be nice to an old engine driver?
Better be nice to an old engine driver
Better be nice to an old engine driver

We’ll soon be home
We’ll soon be home
We’ll soon
We’ll soon, soon, soon be home

We’ll soon be home
We’ll soon be home
We’ll soon
We’ll soon, soon, soon be home

Come on, old horse

Soon be home
Soon be home
Soon
We’ll soon, soon, soon be home

We’ll soon
We’ll soon, soon, soon be home

We’ll soon be home
Soon be home 

Dang, dang, dang, dang, dang, dang, dang, dang, dang

Cello, cello, cello, cello, cello, cello
Cello, cello, cello, cello, cello, cello
Cello, cello, cello, cello, cello, cello
Cello, cello, cello, cello, cello, cello

I can’t believe it
Do my eyes deceive me?
Am I back in your arms?
Away from all harm?

It’s like a dream to be with you again
Can’t believe that I’m with you again

I missed you and I must admit
I kissed a few and once did sit
On Ivor the Engine Driver’s lap
And later with him, had a nap

You are forgiven, you are forgiven, you are forgiven 

You are forgiven

The Who – Bargain

The most aggressive love song I’ve ever heard. The song did not chart but it was on the classic album Who’s Next. There is not a weak song on the album. Bargain has some of Moon’s best drumming and a strong performance from Daltrey. Townshend has said that the song was influenced by  Meher Baba and the subject of the song is God.

Townshend’s use of the ARP synthesizer on Who’s Next was groundbreaking. He didn’t just add texture with it but the ARP became part of the structure of the songs. This was not like today’s synthesizer where you just took it out of the box. It had to be programmed and connected together…and not many people knew how to do it. He took a risk using it because of technology in general always moving ahead, Who’s Next could have sounded dated in a few years afterward but it still sounds fresh and interesting today…unlike some 1980s synth music.

Related image

Pete Townshend’s lead guitar was played on a vintage Gretsch, a gift from Joe Walsh, who had just formed Barnstorm that same year and would later join the Eagles.

From Songfacts

Pete Townshend wrote this as an ode to Meher Baba, who was his spiritual guru. Meher Baba was from India, where he worked with the poor and served as spiritual adviser to Mahatma Gandhi. He developed a worldwide following by the ’60s, and died in 1969 at age 75. Townshend believed in his message of enlightenment, which was a big influence on Who songs like “Baba O’Riley” and “See Me, Feel Me.”

The song is about losing all your material goods for spiritual enlightenment, thus being a “bargain.”

Roger Daltrey sings most of this, but Townshend sings the part that starts, “I sit looking ’round, I look at my face in the mirror…”

The first line of the song, “I’d gladly lose me to find you” is from one of the teachings of Meher Baba.

Bargain

I’d gladly lose me to find you
I’d gladly give up all I had
To find you I’d suffer anything and be glad

I’d pay any price just to get you
I’d work all my life and I will
To win you I’d stand naked, stoned and stabbed

I’d call that a bargain
The best I ever had
The best I ever had

I’d gladly lose me to find you
I’d gladly give up all I got
To catch you I’m gonna run and never stop

I’d pay any price just to win you
Surrender my good life for bad
To find you I’m gonna drown an unsung man

I’d call that a bargain
The best I ever had
The best I ever had

I sit looking ’round
I look at my face in the mirror
I know I’m worth nothing without you
And like one and one don’t make two
One and one make one
And I’m looking for that free ride to me
I’m looking for you

I’d gladly lose me to find you
I’d gladly give up all I got
To catch you I’m gonna run and never stop

I’d pay any price just to win you
Surrender my good life for bad
To find you I’m gonna drown an unsung man

I’d call that a bargain
The best I ever had
The best I ever had

The Who – Happy Jack

It took me a few listens to warm up to this song…after that, I’ve been hooked. Roger Daltrey on Happy Jack. “I remember when I first heard ‘Happy Jack’, I thought, ‘What the f–k do I do with this? It’s like a German oompah song!’ I had a picture in my head that this was the kind of song that Burl Ives would sing, so ‘Happy Jack’ was my imitation of Burl Ives!”

The song peaked at #24 in the Billboard 100 and #3 in the UK in 1967.

 

From Songfacts

Pete Townshend based the “Happy Jack” character on the strange and not-too-intelligent guys who used to hang around English beaches and play with the kids. Townshend would play on the Isle Of Man beach as a kid.

This was featured on The Who’s second album, A Quick One. In the US, the album title was changed to “Happy Jack” due to record company fears that the original title was a reference to sex.

In 1966 The Who were slotted to film a television series in much the same vein as the Monkees series. For the pilot episode, the band filmed a clip to go along with this song. It featured the 4 of them as robbers attempting to rob a safe. They get distracted, however, by a cake sitting close by and wackiness ensues as The Who smear themselves from head to foot with frosting. Finally a cop busts in and foils their plan, chasing them out of the room. The show never aired, but the clip can now be found in the Kids Are Alright DVD. The clip is light years ahead of its time for what other bands of the ’60s were doing.

A live version can be found on the expanded Live at Leeds album.

At the tail end of the song, you can hear Townshend yelling the phrase “I saw yer!” to Who drummer Keith Moon. Apparently, Moon had been banished from the studio and was trying to sneak back in. 

This song was used in an ad campaign for the Hummer H2 in 2004. The commercial featured a boy in a wooden car rolling straight down a hill to win a soap box derby instead of taking the winding road down like everyone else. 

Happy Jack

Happy Jack wasn’t old, but he was a man
He lived in the sand at the Isle of Man
The kids would all sing, he would take the wrong key
So they rode on his head on their furry donkey

The kids couldn’t hurt Jack
They tried and tried and tried
They dropped things on his back
And lied and lied and lied and lied and lied

But they couldn’t stop Jack, or the waters lapping
And they couldn’t prevent Jack from feeling happy

But they couldn’t stop Jack, or the waters lapping
And they couldn’t prevent Jack from feeling happy

The kids couldn’t hurt Jack
They tried and tried and tried
They dropped things on his back
And lied and lied and lied and lied and lied

But they couldn’t stop Jack, or the waters lapping
And they couldn’t prevent Jack from feeling happy

I saw ya!

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)?