It seems like Zeptember was just the other day, but here we are, in the midst of another theme week. I don’t understand the Led Zeppelin/Who rivalry, or why battle lines where drawn there, but having done this for both bands, I think Zeppelin wins. Narrowly, because while they have more songs I feel strongly about, The Who put out a lot, and a mean a lot, of songs I really like. Plus, you’ve got to admit, they’re the cooler band.
10. Happy Jack
See, I told you they were cool. What can I say, I like how unabashedly upbeat a song this is. Those kids just can’t keep Jack down. This song also builds to a satisfying crescendo, which has got to count for something. There are other songs I could have chosen the perhaps rock a lot more, but nothing has the unique charm of “Happy Jack.”
9. Pinball Wizard
Ever since I was a young boy, I liked this song. Back in the day, I was all about Tommy, it was probably my favorite album from The Who. This is my favorite song off of that album, and only partly because its slightly related to video games. Mostly it’s the guitar. And the weirdness of a deaf, dumb and blind kid being good at pinball. That’s some magic.
8. My Generation
This is kind of the signature Who song, and with good reason. It rocks. Although I never understood the stutter. What’s up with that? I heard it had to do with drugs or something. Whatever. Also, do they still perform this? It’s gotta be weird when they sing “hope I die before I get old” at this point.
7. Magic Bus
The Bo Diddley Beat is a pretty cool thing, anyone who’s ever heard the Sam Adams commercial song knows that. “Magic Bus” is a great example of that, one of the jammier songs in the Who catalogue. Plus, I appreciate the dedication of riding a bus every day to see the girl you love, and going as far as to actually buy the bus. Love, man.
6. The Seeker
What is he looking for? I never paid that much attention, since this is another song that had me focused on the guitar. There’s a lot going on that front. Also, I like it when I really like a song that the band itself seems not that about, as the Wikipedia article suggests Pete Townshend’s not the biggest fan.
5. I Can See for Miles
An oddly heavy song, “I Can See for Miles” is said to have inspired, slightly, “Helter Skelter.” But you know what’s really inspiring. Those harmonies. If only we could tap into that kind of beauty in Rock Band 3. And then that dopey part at the end. The hell is that? It’s funny.
4. I Can’t Explain
Hey! Overlap! Allegedly Jimmy Page played the rhythm guitar on this song. And it’s vaguely Kinks-esque. So, in conclusion, this song is the sum total of rock and roll. Explaining further would betray the purpose of the song.
3. Won’t Get Fooled Again
Yeah! Another song that is now inextricably linked to Rock Band and bad one liners. Ugh! That always happens to the best songs. As we watch the Occupy Wall Street movement try to orchestrate revolution, it’s easy to think of this song. Especially it’s most cynical message: “meet the new boss / same as the old boss.”
2. Who Are You
In my foolish youth, I thought this song was only as good as that first part. Now I know better. Now I know each and every part of “Who Are You” is a special treat meant to be savored and enjoyed. A strange tale about waking up in a bar, that’s apparently basded on a true story. Plus, he says “fuck” and apparently they played that on the radio all the time back in the day. Sure, it’s not Tropic Thunder, but that’s still pretty great. Remember that part on Louie? Hilarious!
1. Baba O’Riley
That’s right, my top three is the CSI trilogy. I can’t help it, they chose the right songs. Look, there are a lot of songs on this list that have the amazing quality of getting me excited to hear them after just the first few seconds. But only “Baba O’Riley” builds that excitement for like 45 seconds, making the pay off oh so satisfying. Sure, the song has Bug’s Life taint on it, move on. It’s like the best song.
I totally respect references to Samuel Adams commercials, they use a whole barrel of hops!
And they win all those awards that Sean’s dad thinks are bullshit.
Not simply bullshit. I believe my dad said they actually made up any awards that they won.