3 Eternal Classic Rock Songs by The Who

Did any band from the British Invasion smash more guitars, wreck more hotel rooms or blow out more amplifiers than the 1964-born band The Who? While we may never know the full tally, it’s clear they’re up there at the top of the list. But beyond the band’s rambunctious attitude and penchant for eruptions, they created some of the best rock songs ever.

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Not only did they make rock opera like the album Tommy, which in and of itself is an entire collection of eternal tracks, but the band made songs that stand alone and continue to wow. Songs that will be played on radio stations, playlists and party mixes for the rest of time. Here below, we will dive into three eternal classic rock songs by The Who.

[RELATED: Behind the Meaning of the Song “Baba O’Riley” by The Who]

“Baba O’Riley” from Who’s Next (1971)

Released on the band’s 1971 album, Who’s Next, this has to be one of the strangest rock hits of all time. But its uniqueness, with its opening sonic barrage, is one of the reasons it has lasted in the culture for so long. Written by the band’s Pete Townshend, it was originally set for a rock opera that was to follow Tommy, but those plans were ultimately dashed and it ended up on the studio LP. And the song’s title stems from two of Townshend’s spiritual beacons at the time, Meher Baba and Terry Riley. Surprsingly to some, it’s not named “Teenage Wasteland,” even though that phrase is a major part of the tune. Either way, on the rollicking track, the band’s Roger Daltrey sings,

Out here in the fields, I fight for my meals
I get my back into my living
I don’t need to fight to prove I’m right
I don’t need to be forgiven, yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah, yeah

Don’t cry, don’t raise your eye
It’s only teenage wasteland

“My Generation” from My Generation (1965)

Released in 1965 on the album of the same name, this song was the band’s first major breakout. Not only did it blow the doors off most of the other tunes of its time but it crystalized a movement. The 1950s were officially done and a new set of morals and principles were taking hold. Rebellion, self-exploration, and music were at the forefront and this song said it all. On the raucous track, Daltrey sings forcefully, backed by his mates,

People try to put us d-down (talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Just because we get around (talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Things they do look awful c-c-cold (talkin’ ’bout my generation)
I hope I die before I get old (talkin’ ’bout my generation)

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby

“Won’t Get Fooled Again” from Who’s Next (1971)

Also released on Who’s Next, this song is another that takes the amplifiers up to 11—it’s dynamite in sonic form. Townshend had also written this one for Lifehouse and when that project was ultimately scrapped eight of the songs were kept and released as part of Who’s Next. This track is a response to those social bullies who try to control people—a timeless theme. On the song, Daltrey sings with a catchy growl,

We’ll be fighting in the streets
With our children at our feet
And the morals that they worship will be gone
And the men who spurred us on
Sit in judgement of all wrong
They decide and the shotgun sings the song

I’ll tip my hat to the new Constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again

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Photo by Wilson Lindsay/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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