Pete Townshend made the demo for this song after hearing “19th Nervous Breakdown” by the Rolling Stones. Even Townshend admits that he ripped off Keith Richards’ riff. The Stones were a major influence on Townshend, who even got his trademark windmill arm movement from watching Keith Richards warm up before a concert – Richards was stretching his arm by moving it around like a windmill.
On demo versions, Townshend sang this in an exaggerated Mick Jagger accent.
This was the first single The Who released after breaking their contract with their manager and producer, Shel Talmy. As part of the deal, Talmy got royalties from this and the other Who records over the next 5 years, which turned out to be a great deal of money.
This was a flop in the US, partly because it wasn’t promoted well.
The Who played this at most of their concerts. It was very popular at their live shows.
This did not appear on an album until 1971, when it went on the Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy compilation.
after listening to a recording of the song, Keith Moon began to become paranoid, insisting that it wasn’t him drumming, and that the band had gone behind his back and gotten another drummer. until the band and friends said they could hear Keith screaming on the recording as he did a difficult fill.
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