100 Great Songs From The British Invasion:1963-1966: ‘I Can’t Explain’- The Who. I Can’t Explain’ was the first single released under The Who name. The group had released a single earlier under the name High Numbers : ‘Zoot Suit’/ I’m The Face.’ Pete Townshend openly admits that he was influenced in the writing of “I Can’t Explain’ by The Kinks “All Day and All Of The Night’
“It can’t be beat for straightforward Kink copying. There is little to say about how I wrote this. It came out of the top of my head when I was 18 and a half.” Guess what then- session musician played rhythm guitar on the song? Jimmy Page- who seems to be playing on everything in the UK during this era. What is the song about? In 2015 Townshend would say it was a song written by some 18 year old about the fact he can’t tell his girlfriend he loves her because he’s taken too many Dexedrine tablets.
Pitchfork would rank “I Can’t Explain’ #9 on their 200 Greatest Songs Of The 1960’s list. Spin #59 on their 100 Greatest Singles Ever list. Rolling Stone on their 500 Greatest Songs Ever list in 2010 placed it at #380. A great debut single and introduction by The Who. I love the sound of those 1960’s Who singles!
Single: ‘I Can’t Explain’- The Who/ Written by Pete Townshend/ Record Company- Decca/ Time: 2:04/ Produced by Shel Talmy/ Recorded November 1964/ Released January 15, 1965 in UK, February 13, 1965 in US/ Peaked at #93 in US Billboard Hot 100 and #8 in UK Singles Chart.