The Who: “Baba O’Riley”

ALBUM: Who’s Next

YEAR: 1971

WRITER: Pete Townshend

The five-minute-plus song wasn’t released as a single in the U.S., although it was in the U.K. and The Netherlands. It got to number-11 on the Dutch singles chart.

Pete Townshend wrote “Baba O’Riley” at his home studio in London and presented it to the other members of The Who in the form of a demo tape. Singer Roger Daltrey recalled what he thought when he heard it for the first time. “As soon as I heard the first synthesized noises coming out of ‘Baba O’Riley,’ I though ”Whoo, this is something new.” We didn’t want to get another member of the band in to play instruments, so this was the perfect thing for us, we had these things to play to on tape. In some ways that was perfect, in other ways it was a bloody nightmare, because you were then stuck in a pattern that you couldn’t get out of. But it really took us to a whole new level.”

The late Who drummer Keith Moon would have been 71 years old today (August 23rd).


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