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"Magic Bus"
Single by The Who
from the album Magic Bus: The Who on Tour
B-side "Someone's Coming" (US)
"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (UK)
Released 27 July 1968 (US)
18 September 1968 (UK)
Format 7" vinyl
Recorded 29 May 1968 at Advision Studios, London and mixed at Gold Star Studios, Los Angeles sometime between 30 June and 7 July 1968
Genre Psychedelic rock, pop rock
Length 3:21
Label Track Records 604024 (UK)
Decca Records 32362 (US)
Writer(s) Pete Townshend
Producer Kit Lambert
The Who singles chronology
"Magic Bus"
"Pinball Wizard"

"Magic Bus" is a 1968 song by The Who. It is one of the band's popular songs and been a concert staple. It was written by Pete Townshend at the time of My Generation, but wasn't released until Magic Bus: The Who on Tour. The song reached #26 in the United Kingdom and #25 in the United States.[1]

The song uses a form of clave.

This song is available for DLC in Rock Band 2.



It is usually performed as a duet, where the "Rider" is riding on the bus every day to see his girl. In the song he asks the "Driver" if he can buy the bus from him, with the driver's initial answer being no. After haggling for a while, the driver finally lets him have it and he vows to drive it to his girlfriend's house every day.[2]

Live performances

This was first performed in 1968 and was part of the regular set from 1971 to 1976. (It was performed a few times in 1969 and 1970.) It made less frequent appearances starting from 1979. Its most recent performance was at The Who's concert at the Indigo2 on 17 December 2008. The live version was often a lengthy jam lasting much longer than the studio version.

One of its most legendary performances can be heard on Live at Leeds.[3] This version stretches out to nearly eight minutes. John Entwistle reportedly hated playing the song, as the bass part consisted of a single note played ad nauseam. This statement can be found on the 30 Years of Maximum R&B DVD.

It was stated on several occasions during their 2009 tour of Australia and Japan that they were unable to play the song, with Townshend stating, "We can't play Magic Bus right now.... But if you shout loud enough... We definitely won't play it."

Cultural references

The song has featured on The Simpsons in "A Tale of Two Springfields" where The Who perform to both sides of a divided Springfield. When Homer requests "Magic Bus", Roger Daltrey responds that they will play "Magic Bus" if the wall that divides the city is torn down. Homer instead yells for "Pinball Wizard". The Who then proceed to play "Won't Get Fooled Again" instead, tearing down the wall in the process.

In summer 2006, the song was featured on television commercials for Nissan's Quest minivans. It also appeared in a Gateway ad campaign in 1999.

The Live At Leeds version opens and plays at various points throughout the movie Jerry Maguire.

In the new series of Runaways, Chase Stein nicknames his new van "Magic Bus".


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