Top 10 The Who Songs

Script written by Craig Butler. Formed in 1964 in London, England, The Who quickly made a name for themselves with their raucous and rebellious rock and roll. They were so successful that they became part of what’s known as the British Invasion, alongside The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, during the 1960s. For this list, we’ve chosen our entries based on a combination of the artist’s fan favorites and their most commercially successful songs. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Who Songs. Special thanks to our users Joshua Scerri, aldqbigsquare, ibriers 1, 14728 and Jake Fraser for submitting the idea on our Suggest Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Craig Butler.

Feeling raucous and rebellious? You've come to the right place. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we're counting down the Top 10 Who Songs.

For this list, we’ve chosen our entries based on a combination of the artist’s fan favorites and their most commercially successful songs.

#10: "Eminence Front"
It's Hard (1982)


The Who’s 1982 album It’s Hard is not one of the band’s favorites, but “Eminence Front” has continued to be a part of The Who’s live shows – and with good reason. This Pete Townshend-
penned song is catchy, danceable and funkier than most Who songs. Meanwhile, the lyrics, which are about drugs, wealth and delusion, are a time capsule reminder of 1980s excesses.

#9: "A Quick One, While He's Away"
A Quick One (1966)


The 9-minute “A Quick One, While He’s Away” is actually a mini-opera, and paved the way for The Who’s 1969 rock opera Tommy. As a medley of six songs, it tells the simple story of a girl who takes a new lover while her old one is away. The piece is generally regarded as the first integrated song cycle in rock. Aside from its place in rock history, it also contains some of Townshend’s most engaging writing.

#8: "Pinball Wizard"
Tommy (1969)


The most popular song from The Who’s timeless Tommy, this was actually a late addition to the rock opera. Townshend was advised that the first version of Tommy was too relentless and needed something to lighten it up – and thus this classic song was born. A piece from classical
composer Henry Purcell influenced Townshend for the song’s constant sense of motion, and helped bring us this enduring classic.

#7: "Who Are You"
Who Are You (1978)


Released in 1978, “Who Are You” was inspired by an alcohol-induced episode in Townshend’s life: A policeman did indeed, as the opening lyrics state, find the rock star drunk in a SoHo doorway. Hey, the right person can make art out of anything. The Who is in fine form here, making this late ‘70s cut as compelling and powerful as their formative 1960s classics. However, its parent album was the last recorded before drummer Keith Moon’s death.

#6: "I Can See For Miles"
The Who Sell Out (1967)


The Who’s only Top 10 single in the United States; “I Can See For Miles” brilliantly demonstrates the band performing at their unified best. Keith Moon’s fierce, intolerant drumming, Roger Daltrey’s menacing vocals, Pete Townshend’s ominous guitar and John Entwistle’s counterpoint bass come together with Townshend’s amazing writing to create this masterpiece. True, it’s a familiar story of love betrayed – but it’s given fresh, almost psychedelic life in this rendition.

#5: "Love, Reign O'er Me"
Quadrophenia (1973)


Roger Daltrey could be guilty of going overboard with his vocals, but “Love, Reign O’er Me” is a perfect example of the man knowing how to rock the emotions without getting excessive. Townshend’s writing is perceptive and involving, and the band sounds great, but it’s Daltrey who gives the song its heft, power and impact. A truly sterling piece of rock singing that demonstrates why Daltrey, at his peak, couldn’t be beat.

#4: "Behind Blue Eyes"
Who's Next (1971)


One of The Who’s most covered songs, 1971’s “Behind Blue Eyes” exemplifies Townshend’s expertise at incorporating different moods and tempos into one song. The sweet, sad melancholy of the opening ultimately turns angry and powerful before returning once again to quiet and lonely. Daltrey once more contributes a finely-edged vocal performance that beautifully captures the song’s yearning.

#3: "My Generation"
My Generation (1965)


Named Rolling Stone’s 11th greatest rock-n-roll song of all time, “My Generation” captures the raw sense of youthful rebellion better than just about any other song. “I hope I die before I get old” has become a mantra for every youth culture, and the urgent propulsion of the song mirrors the explosive energy of rock, punk, rap, thrash of just about every kind of modern music.

#2: "Won't Get Fooled Again"
Who's Next (1971)


Cynicism has never sounded as good as it does on “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” a powerful acknowledgement of lessons learned. The “nothing really changes” attitude of the lyrics is in stark contrast to the potent vigor of the music – and to the intense power of the performers. The passion may be full of anger, but it’s definitely fueled by hope.

Honorable Mentions

"The Real Me" Quadrophenia (1973)
"I Can't Explain" I Can’t Explain Single (1973)
"The Kids Are Alright" My Generation (1965)
"Magic Bus" Magic Bus: The Who on Tour (1968)
"See Me, Feel Me" Tommy (1969)

#1: "Baba O'Riley"
Who's Next (1971)


Townshend intended “Baba O’Riley” to be a comment on the dangers of excess, yet its “teen-age wasteland” refrain became a celebratory rallying cry instead. What else can you expect when you wrap the message in music that grabs the listener and won’t let go? “Baba O’Riley” is a masterpiece of great writing, soulful singing and intense musicianship. You don’t get more classic than this.

Did we pick the right songs? What would you have done differently? For more enthralling Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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