From their mod roots to their continued arena rock days, The Who has found a way to roll with the changes each new decade has brought—keeping their rock god status alive. They have produced giant hits and they have experimented in the shadows of their album cuts. In both pursuits, the band has proven why their legacy has outlived a number of their peers.
Though it’s always nice to revisit “Baba O’Riley” or “Pinball Wizard,” it’s those lesser-known tracks that are on the docket for today. Find five deep cuts from The Who that you should be listening to below.
1. “Don’t Let Go the Coat”
Written by Pete Townshend, “Don’t Let Go the Coat” has popped up across The Who’s career a number of times. The title is a nod to spiritual guru Meher Baba and his teaching “hang fast to the hem of my robe.” The song is a meditation on drug addiction and struggles with faith. Roger Daltrey sings I can’t be held responsible for blown behavior / I lost all contact with my only savior.
Featuring Townshend on lead vocals, “Sunrise” is one of the only ballads on The Who Sell Out. In contrast to the rest of the album—which is comprised of a series of fake commercials and psychedelic jam sessions—”Sunrise” is a bright and simple arrangement.
3. “Naked Eye”
“Naked Eye” was originally written for Townshend’s abandoned Lifehouse project. The scrapped album eventually became Who’s Next—home to many Who classics. “Naked Eye” was included as a bonus track on reissued versions of the album. Though it may not be a “Baba O’Riley” or a “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” this track’s extended guitar solo from Townshend is a treat.
4. “However Much I Booze”
Penned by Townshend, “However Much I Booze” is about the night the guitarist gave up drinking. Daltrey refused to take lead vocals on the song given how personal the theme was. Townshend later said about his drinking with the Who, “Drinking around the Who is the greatest thing gutter-level life can offer. The bawdiness of the humor, the sheer decadence of the amount put away, the incredible emotional release of violent outbursts against innocent hotel-room sofas; all these count to get a body through a lot of trouble.”
5. “Dreaming From The Waist”
I’m dreaming from the waist on down / I’m dreaming but I feel tired and bound, Daltrey sings in the chorus of “Dreaming From The Waist. The lyrics deal with sexual frustration and growing older. Townshend has openly expressed his dislike for this song, but many Who die-hards (and Daltrey) have marked it as a deep-cut favorite.
(Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images).