Song of the Day #3,693: ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ – The Who

I’ve featured only one Who song on this blog over the past ten years — ‘The Kids are Alright,’ a song I truly love. But as I noted way back then (Song of the Day #81, if you can believe it!), I’m not much of a Who fan in general.

I also mentioned in that post that I am a fan of the band’s fifth studio album, 1971’s Who’s Next. Enough to put it at #9 on my list of best albums from that year.

Who’s Next followed the rock opera Tommy and it initially began as another ambitious project in the same vein, titled Lighthouse. That concept fell apart during production but Pete Townshend came around to the idea of releasing some of the tracks as a traditional studio album.

The album is bookended with the hits ‘Baba O’Reilly’ and ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again,’ two non-traditional singles that nonetheless found success. Other standout tracks include ‘Bargain,’ ‘My Wife’ and the country-rock ‘Love Ain’t For Keeping.’

The song I know best, because my high school friends played it on repeat, is ‘Behind Blue Eyes.’ I always liked the tonal shift after the sixth verse.

No one knows what it’s like
To be the bad man, to be the sad man
Behind blue eyes

No one knows what it’s like
To be hated, to be fated
To telling only lies

But my dreams, they aren’t as empty
As my conscience seems to be
I have hours, only lonely
My love is vengeance that’s never free

No one knows what it’s like
To feel these feelings like I do
And I blame you

No one bites back as hard
On their anger, none of my pain and woe
Can show through

But my dreams, they aren’t as empty
As my conscience seems to be
I have hours, only lonely
My love is vengeance that’s never free

When my fist clenches, crack it open
Before I use it and lose my cool
When I smile, tell me some bad news
Before I laugh and act like a fool

And if I swallow anything evil
Put your finger down my throat
And if I shiver, please give me a blanket
Keep me warm, let me wear your coat

No one knows what it’s like
To be the bad man, to be the sad man
Behind blue eyes

One thought on “Song of the Day #3,693: ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ – The Who

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Just this past Sunday, someone on Facebook had shared a clip from The Who performing “Pinball Wizard” live on some British show in 1969. I shared it with Daniel and suggested we watch “Tommy” that night, but he wasn’t going for it. I grew up on that album and really have a soft spot for it, though the movie is pretty out there. We decided to watch the new John Mulaney special on Netflix instead which, by the way, i highly recommend. Really funny and at no point does he roll around on a bed covered in black beans.

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