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

My Top 10 Favorite Live Albums

I’m more of a studio guy when it comes to listening to bands but there are a few live albums I really like. This is my top 10 and a few honorable mentions at the bottom. Very few artists can improve on the studio version but sometimes some manage to pull it off.

10. Led Zeppelin –  How the West Was Won – After the disappointing live album The Song Remains The Same, this album released in 2003 contained Led Zeppelin live in 1972 from two shows in top form.

How the West Was Won (Live) (3-CD)

9: Simon And Garfunkel – The Concert In Central Park – This was big for me when it was released. I had by this time worn a groove out in their greatest hits. The band was great and their harmonies were as good as ever.

Image result for Simon And Garfunkel – The Concert In Central Park

8: George Harrison – The Concert For Bangladesh – Fun to listen to George freed from the Beatles and he sounds great with Dylan, Billy Preston, Ringo, and other friends.

Image result for George Harrison – The Concert For Bangladesh

 

7: The Band: The Last Waltz – One of the best live albums ever. The Band’s last concert with Robbie with a host of talented famous friends. I still don’t get the Neil Diamond selection…nothing against Neil…he didn’t fit in with this atmosphere.

Image result for The Band: The Last Waltz album

6: The Allman Brothers Band “At Fillmore East” – This album floats up and down this list depending on my mood. It was at number 2 when I first made this list a couple of weeks ago. This band was probably one of the most talented bands in the seventies. I didn’t start heavily listening to them until around 5-10 years ago. They are better live than in the studio. There was not a weak link in this 6 piece band…especially in the Duane version but later incarnations were almost as strong.

At The Fillmore East (2LPs - 180GV)

5: Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, ‘Live/1975-85’ – I listened to this so much in the 80s that I knew the stories Bruce would tell by heart. Later when listening to the studio version of a song I would expect the story that went with it.

Image result for Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, ‘Live/1975-85’

4: Paul McCartney  Wings Over America – This triple album set was a live greatest hits. The songs had some edge to them thanks to Jimmy McCulloch the young prodigy guitar player.  Paul even broke his silence on the Beatles and included five Beatle songs. Blackbird, I’ve Just Seen a Face, Yesterday, The Long and Winding Road, and Lady Madonna. Unlike the other 3 albums ahead of this on in the list, Paul didn’t mess with the songs too much from the original studio recordings.

Wings over America

3: The Rolling Stones – ‘”Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!” – This tour and the 1972  tour were the Stones at their live peak.

Image result for the rolling stones get yer ya-ya's out

2: Bob Dylan – The Bootleg Series, Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live 1966, The “Royal Albert Hall” Concert – I have seen Dylan 8 times but if I could pick a tour to see him on…I would go back and this would be the one. With The Band backing him up…minus Levon Helm but Mickey Jones on drums is very powerful.

Image result for bob dylan 1966 royal albert hall concert

1: The Who – ‘Live at Leeds’ This album highlights The Who at their best. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a rock band so tight. The power of the performance is huge. Pete Townshend told his soundman Bob Pridden to erase all other shows on this tour at the time…Bob did… much to Pete’s regret later on.

The Who - Live at Leeds By The Who

 

 

Honorable Mentions

Beatles Live At The Star-Club in Hamburg Germany – The quality of the recording is pretty bad but it’s exciting to hear the punkish Beatles before Beatlemania hit.

The Kinks – One For The Road

Neil Young & Crazy Horse –  Live Rust

Johnny Cash – At Folsom Prison

The Band – Rock of Ages

Cheap Trick – At Budokan

Elvis (68 Comeback Special)