It’s Pete Townshend’s 68th birthday tomorrow.. & in addition to our upcoming calendar post .. here is a great list.
From the Oct.2009 edition of Uncut Magazine. Videos & pictures are included at top 15…
All quotations are from Uncut’s article.
30. Shakin’ All Over
29. Boris The Spider
28. Heaven And Hell
26. Guitar And Pen
25. I’m One
24. Happy Jack
23. Magic Bus
22. Young Man Blues
21. Tea And Theatre
20. Pinball Wizard
19. Who Are You
18. Anyway Anyhow Anywhere
17. So Sad About Us
15. The Kids Are Alright
14. See Me, Feel Me
12. Blue, Red And Grey
11. Pictures of Lily
10. I Can’t Explain
Released as a single January 1965. Highest UK chart position 8. Highest US chart position 93. The perky 7″ under The Who name. The original demo was under a minute and a half long…
9. A Quick One While He’s Away
Identified as a mini-opera by townshend, the dynamic, nine-minute, six-section medley includes “a cappella” harmonizing, a tantalizing snippet from “Ivor The Engine Driver” and a soaring “You Are Forgiven”.
8. Behind Blue Eyes
“No one knows what it’s like to be the bad man…” Angsty soul-searching from townshend. On a low after the Lifehouse project collapsed, this rises from ballad to tumultuous rock anthem, superbly delivered by Daltrey.
7. I’m A Boy
Cheerful mod pop, this was the first Who song produced by co-manager Kit Lambert, and initially earmarked for Townshend’s unreleased opera, Quads.
6. Baba O’Riley
Named after both Townshend’s guru Meher Baba and composer Terry O’Riley, this became the second who song to be picked up by the CSI franchise (for the NY setting). Originally intended for Lifehouse, where it went by the title “Teenage Wasteland”.
5. Love, Reign O’er Me
The epic closing track on Quadrophenia, with Daltrey in full-on rock god mode. It’s title inspired a 2007 movie, “Reign Over Me”, starring Adam Sandler, for which Pearl Jam recorded a cover version of the song.
Rumored to be Townshend’s response to the Stones’ “Satisfaction”, a firm fan favorite “about nothing”, and later covered by the Ramones, Sex Pistols & Blur.
3. I Can See For Miles
Here, Townshend brilliantly balanced both the swaggering power pop of the band’s early sound with more recent psych influences
2. Won’t Get fooled Again
An eight-minute statement of defiance, with Townshend disgust that “the new boss” is the “same as the old boss”, offset by a surprisingly positive conclusion – “to pick up my guitar and play, just like yesterday…” Oh, and it also features rock’s most spine-tingling scream.
1. My Generation
Could It Be Anything else? More than just The Who’s own statement of rebellion, “My Generation” became a rallying cry fro disaffected teenage youth. And the song wasn’t time-locked in the 60’s – the aggressive backing, Daltrey’s snarled vocals and the key lyric, “I hope I die before I get old”, prefigured punk by a decade. And as for that stutter….
6 thoughts on “The Who – 30 Greatest songs – a list from Uncut Magazine Oct. 2009 (videos & Audio)”
Have been trying to find out the name of a particular song, by the Who, and the only lyrics, that come to mind are “You must have heard the cautionary tale.” I can remember the melody, but that doesn’t help. Does anyone have an idea as to what the name of this song is? Would really like to listen to it. After being being exposed to The Who, in 1972, and in retrospect(42 years later), they are the greatest rock band I’ve ever heard.
Face the face, got to face the face
Face the face, got to face the face
You must have heard the cautionary tales
The dangers hidden on the cul-de-sac trails
From wiser men who’ve been through it all
And the ghosts of failures spray-canned up on the wall
Very interesting list. You clearly have an affinity for their earlier work, which is fine. There is certainly no right or wrong when making these lists, as they are purely subjective. I will say that you don’t give Quadrophenia enough love, and that 5:15 is a top 5 song easily.
Thanks for commenting Mark!
It’s not my list…. it’s a “Uncut Magazine” list… 🙂
A agree about Quadrophenia.. 5:15.. maybe not top 5.. but what about leaving “The Punk and the Godfather” out of a top 30 list like this ?
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