The Daily Cut: The Who “Won’t Get Fooled Again”

The Who: “Won’t Get Fooled Again”

ALBUM: Who’s Next

YEAR: 1971

WRITER: Pete Townshend

Pete Townshend said he wrote the lyrics “Won’t Get Fooled Again” first, and that they were inspired by the events of the day in the U.K. A number of political activists had recently been jailed, and the words were in response to a vanguard of activists there who felt that it was the job of the big rock groups of the day to stand up and defend them. “I actually felt that that was almost like saying that we should be like the Abbie Hoffmans or John Sinclairs or Malcolm Xs or Angela Davises of this world and put ourselves up for some kind of election. And I actually felt I’d already been elected to do a job and I knew what that job was. I had been elected, and it was simply to talk about the frustrations of a group of people from Shepherd’s Bush — I wasn’t elected to lead a political rally. And I actually wrote the lyric very much in that tone.”

35 years ago today (October 12th, 1982), the punks met the godfathers, as The Who and The Clash began a two-night stand at Shea Stadium in New York. Chances are Joe Strummer felt a bit differently about rock and politics than Pete Townshend.

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