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"Baba O'Riley"
Single by The Who
from the album Who's Next
A-side "My Wife"
Released November 1971
Format 45
Recorded May 1971 at Olympic Studios in London, England
Genre Power pop, art rock
Length 5:05
Label Decca (US)
Polydor (UK)
Writer(s) Pete Townshend
Producer The Who, Glyn Johns
Who's Next track listing
"Baba O'Riley"
(1)
"Bargain"
(2)

"Baba O'Riley" is a song by the English rock band The Who, written by Pete Townshend. Roger Daltrey sings most of the song, with Pete Townshend singing the middle eight: "Don't cry/don't raise your eye/it's only teenage wasteland". The title of the song is derived from this combination of the song's philosophical and musical influences: Meher Baba and Terry Riley.[1]

Noted for its innovative fusion of The Who's hard rock sound and early electronic music experimentation by Townshend, and for its crashing chorus coupled with repeating F-C-Bb power chords, the song has been a perennial favorite on classic rock radio stations as well as a concert staple for the band.

Contents

History

Townshend originally wrote "Baba O'Riley" for his Lifehouse project, a rock opera that was to be the follow-up to The Who's 1969 opera, Tommy. Townshend derived the song from an experimental recording of his Lowrey Berkshire home organ, which the band reconstructed. "Baba O'Riley" was going to be used in the Lifehouse project as a song sung by Ray, the Scottish farmer at the beginning of the album as he gathers his wife Sally and his two children to begin their exodus to London. When Lifehouse was scrapped, many of the songs were released on The Who's 1971 album Who's Next. "Baba O'Riley" became the first track on Who's Next. The song was released as a single in several European countries, but in the United States and the United Kingdom was only released as part of the album.

Drummer Keith Moon had the idea of inserting a violin solo at the coda of the song, during which the style of the song shifts from crashing rock to an Irish folk-style beat. Dave Arbus, of East of Eden, plays a violin in the studio recording. In concert, lead singer Roger Daltrey replaces the violin solo with a harmonica solo. The Who have produced a live version of the song with a violin, provided by Nigel Kennedy, during their 27 November 2000 concert at the Royal Albert Hall.

The violin solo in the coda of the song is based on Indian classical music as homage to Meher Baba, the Indian mystic who inspired this song.

The song's iconic backing track was derived from deep within the Lifehouse concept. Townshend wanted to input the life information of Meher Baba into a synthesizer, which would then generate music based on that information. That music would have been the backing track for "Baba O'Riley," but in the end, the frenetic sequence - which resembles the clattering of a Roulette wheel - was played by Townshend on a Lowrey Berkshire Deluxe TBO-1 organ using its marimba repeat feature.[2] This modal approach used for the synthesizer track was inspired by the work of minimalist composer Terry Riley. The names of Riley and Meher Baba were incorporated into the song title as a tribute by Townshend. Although they never actually did it in concert, The Who considered pulling a person from the audience and programming their vital statistics into a synthesizer that would, in effect, translate that person into a musical theme around which a song could be built (an idea later resurrected as the Lifehouse Method).

In Oct 1973 Kraftwerk released "Elektrisches Roulette", a seminal track which closely resembles the opening minute of "Baba O'Riley".

"Teenage Wasteland"

"Baba O'Riley" is often called "Teenage Wasteland" after the phrase repeated throughout the song, of which there is no chorus. "Teenage Wasteland" was in fact a working title for the song in its early incarnations as part of the Lifehouse project, but eventually became the title for a different but related song by Townshend, which is slower and features more lyrics.[3] A version of "Teenage Wasteland" is featured on The Lifehouse Chronicles, a six disc set of music related to the Lifehouse project, and on several Townshend compilations and videos.

Personnel

Accolades

References

  1. ^ (2002) Album notes for The Who: The Ultimate Collection by The Who, p. 12. MCA Records.
  2. ^ http://www.thewho.net/whotabs/equip-baba.htm Pete's Equipment, Lowrey Berkshire Deluxe TBO-1
  3. ^ Lifehouse Chronicles box set
  4. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". December 9, 2006. http://www.rollingstone.com/news/coverstory/500songs/. Retrieved August 14, 2009. 
  5. ^ "500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll". http://www.rockhall.com/exhibithighlights/500-songs-by-name-ac/. Retrieved 2008-07-09. 

Simple English

"Baba O'Riley"
Single by The Who
from the album Who's Next
B-side "My Wife"
Released November 1971
Format 45 R.P.M.
Recorded May 1971 at Olympic Studios in London, England[1]
Genre Hard rock, art rock
Length 5:05
Label Decca (US)
Polydor (UK)
Writer(s) Pete Townshend
Producer The Who, Glyn Johns
Who's Next track listing
"Baba O'Riley"
(1)
"Bargain"
(2)

"Baba O'Riley" is a song by the English rock band The Who, written by Pete Townshend. Roger Daltrey sings most of the song, with Pete Townshend singing the middle eight: "Don't cry/don't raise your eye/it's only teenage wasteland". The title of the song is comes from this combination of the song's philosophical and musical influences: Meher Baba and Terry Riley.[2]

Other websites

  1. Who's Next 1995 Remastered Liner Notes Page 17
  2. The Who: The Ultimate Collection, page 12







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