100 GREAT SONGS FROM THE BRITISH INVASION: SUBSTITUTE – THE WHO

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100 Great Songs From The British Invasion: 1963-1966: ‘Substitute’- The Who. The Who had some fantastic singles- before they had their first Top 40 hit in the US with ‘Happy Jack’ in early 1967- ‘I Can’t Explain’, ‘Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere’, ‘My Generation’, ‘Substitute’, ‘A Legal Matter’, ‘The Kids Are Alright’ and ‘I’m A Boy’–all of which you can find on the great compilation Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy. Why the lack of early success? Did they sound too British at that time? Pete was inspired to write this song by the great Smokey Robinson and The Miracles song ‘The Tracks Of My Tears.’ In the United States- on the single which failed- the line ‘I look all white but my dad was black’- was changed to ‘I try walking forward but my feel walk back’- pretty lame- but the censors found the original line too ‘dangerous’ in the US. In 2006 Pitchfork- named ‘Substitute’ the 91st in their 200 Greatest Songs Of The 1960’s list.

Single: ‘Substitute’- The Who/ Written by Pete Townshend/ Record Company- Atco/ Time: 2:59/ Produced by Pete Townshend/ Recorded February 12, 1966/ Released March 4, 1966 in UK, April 5, 1966 in UK/ Peaked at #5 in UK Singles Chart. Did not chart in US Billboard Hot 100.

11 responses to “100 GREAT SONGS FROM THE BRITISH INVASION: SUBSTITUTE – THE WHO

  1. I didn’t even remember the racial lyric in there until reading this. I thought this song had a generally “bad attitude” which is what young people revel in. I can see why it would be a hit and I could see why it would make adults of that time nervous. I personally love the song.

  2. Only thing missing was them wrecking their equipment, they could have at least put a picture of that happening. Happy Jack was a good tune. Bass and lead guitar hitting the same licks, very cool. I didn’t get the album cover at the time, Pork n Beans, etc., but now I understand it was a poke in the eye for the groups that sold out to “the man.” But, if it hadn’t been for “the man,” these guys would have still been playing pubs and teen dances in Liverpool and living at home with the folks. As usual Hans, great stuff.

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