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.