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Won't Get Fooled Again by The Who

Album: Who's NextReleased: 1971Charted:
  • Pete Townshend wrote this song about a revolution. In the first verse, there is an uprising. In the middle, they overthrow those in power, but in the end, the new regime becomes just like the old one ("Meet the new boss, same as the old boss"). Townshend felt revolution was pointless because whoever takes over is destined to become corrupt. In Townshend: A Career Biography, Pete explained that the song was antiestablishment, but that "revolution is not going to change anything in the long run, and people are going to get hurt."
  • The synthesizer represents the revolution. It builds at the beginning when the uprising starts, and comes back at the end when a new revolution is brewing.
  • Townshend wrote this as part of his "Lifehouse" project. He wanted to release a film about a futuristic world where the people are enslaved, but saved by a rock concert. Townshend couldn't get enough support to finish the project, but most of the songs he wrote were used on the Who's Next album.
  • Roger Daltrey's scream is considered one of the best on any rock song. It was quite a convincing wail - so convincing that the rest of the band, lunching nearby, thought Daltrey was brawling with the engineer.
  • The album version runs 8:30. The single was shortened to 3:35 so radio stations would play it.

    Daltrey was unhappy about the editing. He recalled to Uncut magazine: "I hated it when they chopped it down. I used to say 'F--k it, put it out as eight minutes', but there'd always be some excuse about not fitting it on or some technical thing at the pressing plant."

    "After that we started to lose interest in singles because they'd cut them to bits," Daltrey added. "We thought, 'What's the point? Our music's evolved past the three-minute barrier and if they can't accommodate that we're just gonna have to live on albums.'"
  • In a 1985 "My Generation" radio special, Pete Townshend said he wrote the song as a message to the supposedly "new breed" of politicians who came around in the early '70s.
  • This is the last song on the album. It was also the last song they played at their concerts for many years.
  • This was one of the first times a synthesizer was used in the rhythm track. When they played this live, they had to play the synthesizer part off tape.
  • Townshend (from Rolling Stone magazine): "It's interesting it's been taken up in an anthemic sense when in fact it's such a cautionary piece." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • Pete Townshend lived on Eel Pie Island in Richmond, London, when he wrote this song. There was an active commune on the Island at the time situated in what used to be a hotel. According to Townshend, this commune was an influence on the song. "There was like a love affair going on between me an them," he said. "They dug me because I was like a figurehead in a group, and I dug them because I could see what was going on over there. At one point there was an amazing scene where the commune was really working, but then the acid started flowing and I got on the end of some psychotic conversations."
  • This song was played by the remaining members of the band at "The Concert for New York City," a fundraising concert in the wake of the devastating attacks on September 11, 2001. Daltrey omitted the last line of the song: "Meet the new boss, Same as the old boss." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Chris - Philadelphia, PA
  • Part of this song is used in the opening sequence of the CBS TV series CSI: Miami, which launched in 2002. This was the first spin-off from CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, which went on the air in 2000 with "Who Are You?" as the theme song. Every subsequent CSI featured a song by The Who: CSI: NY used "Baba O'Riley," and CSI: Cyber went with "I Can See For Miles."
  • This was played in Super Bowl XLI (2007) as the Indianapolis Colts came out of the locker room. The Colts won the game. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Colin - New Egypt, NJ
  • In The Simpsons episode "A Tale of Two Springfields," Homer forms "New Springfield" and gets The Who to play there. Pete Townshend blasts the wall between old and new Springfield by blasting the guitar riff from this song. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • In its May 26, 2006 issue, the conservative National Review magazine published a list of "The 50 greatest conservative rock songs." "Won't Get Fooled Again" was ranked song number one. Pete Townsend responded on his blog as follows:
    "It is not precisely a song that decries revolution - it suggests that we will indeed fight in the streets - but that revolution, like all action can have results we cannot predict. Don't expect to see what you expect to see. Expect nothing and you might gain everything.'' Townsend then goes on to explain that the song was simply ''Meant to let politicians and revolutionaries alike know that what lay in the center of my life was not for sale, and could not be co-opted into any obvious cause.'' >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Dale - Laguna Niguel, CA
  • Pete Townshend refused Michael Moore permission to use this song in his 2004 anti-George W. Bush documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11, citing the left wing filmaker as a "bully."
  • This was used in commercials for the 2000 Nissan Maxima. Some people considered this the biggest sellout in rock, but The Who made lots of money in the deal. The same year, Nissan used The Who's "Baba O'Reily" in an ad for their Pathfinder.
  • DJs like to play this as their last song before leaving a particular radio station because of the line "meet the new boss, same as the old boss" - a snub directed at station management because they might not be leaving on the friendliest terms. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Kelly - San Luis Obispo, CA
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Comments: 120

Whilst entitled won't get fooled again he never actually sings won't get fooled but DON'T get fooled.Jack Ring - Bristol
The only song on my 'personal top-100' that 'grew' on me more because of the (prescient) lyrics than the music. I still don't like the interminable 'prog rock'-style synthesiser solo but the lines "the men who spurred us on sit in judgment of all wrong", "the beards have all grown longer overnight" and "meet the new boss, same as the old boss" could just as easily have been inspired by the Shah of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini and the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Brilliant!Birdman_euston - London, Uk
I've heard Pete comment the motivation, was from 4 years earlier when 60's radical Abby Hoffman tried to come on the stage w/ the who at Woodstock. Pete, big suprise, threw him off their stage. He said many of these 60's radicals didn't represent his take on modern society and historical developments. He said beware of your "leaders" have an independent, inquiring mind, don't be just a blind follower. Excellent , excellent song. Saw them in 1982, Roger's voice just crashed into the Rocky Mountains and back...Meocyber - Alma, Co
The Beatles' "Revolution" was a similar ethic -- leave me alone. Your political ideas about achieving a more "just" society don't justify killing millions to achieve it (duh, it's never really about justice, but about who's going to be the boss), as in the Soviet Union, and it won't be more "just" anyway; we'll all just have a new boss, a new kind of oppression, and perhaps do all over again in a couple of generations. So, he grabs his kids and his papers, moves to this side, and tries to live a private life. Which strikes me as the only mature response to a "revolution" that really never happened, wouldn't have been justified if it had, and would have produced simply a different injustice.Dick - Washington, Dc
I recently heard Townsend talking about this song on a BBC radio show - he said he was listening to a lot of classical music at the time. I can't rememeber which composer he referenced but he said he liked the idea of using one or two single notes and just repeating then at length. The Who were one of the few rock bands who had BALLS - I would love to have seen them when they started out they had so much aggression menace and passion. My American friends will no doubt correct me on this - but I saw a clip of the Who performing at a charity concert - I think for the NY FD - and they just
blew all the other acts out of the water!
Chris - York, United Kingdom
I like the way that John Entwistle is so cool while mayhem is going on all around him!Graham - Windsor, Australia
It's fun to do the scream. A few friends and I did this at a talent show, and the vocalist couldn't do the scream, so I did it. :)Dusty - St. Louis, Mo
The Who wrote this song when at a time political statements did change the decade, i mean in another world they can say that Vietnam beaten Rolling Stones fans or maybe some Nine Inch Nails fans.
i remember when Pete Townshend used to do his windmill movement on his guitar, but in 1989 he had to miss it because the crowd at The Who concert they were playing that night was full of diehards requesting 'Wont Get Fooled Again'.
it is still the CSI theme tune
Karl - Ingatestone, United Kingdom
Once read in an interview with Daltrey that it was written as a kind of ode to Harold Wilson, Britsh Prime Minister, who months earlier had been defeated in a general election by Ted Heath. Wilson was a crook, and Heath not much better. Hence 'meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
And we are all getting fooled again!!!!
Cled - Hitchin, United Kingdom
It's a cynical song. It's one of the few instances in rock history where cynicism is expressed as catharsis. It's about the failure of the Sixties revolution. Their hearts were in the right place, but they had no plan. Townshend sees that the struggle isn't going to be resolved in simplistic terms - so he "smiles and grins at the change all around," recognizing that people's hearts are changing. But is that enough? Is will enough? Shouldn't we be educating ourselves on how to change things from a realistic perspective? Dalrey's scream is one of frustration, but also a catalyst for change where simple flower power failed. Most revolutions are loud. Peace 'n' love 'n' flowers won't work. To believe so would be foolishness. And you shouldn't be fooled again either.Paul - Seattle, Wa
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Amen!Tyler - Greeneville, Tn
Many excellent comments I agree with: Melanie from Seattle-you are right, that's really just about all that needs said. Chuck from Woodbury, agreed, it's about the energy The Who generates. Trivia: In 2009, this was named the sixth greatest hard rock song of all time by VH1. Let me just say, some of us listening to the song care not of its lyrical meaning, it's about the melding of voice, instruments & energy that catapults us to a really good place every time we hear it. And *who* doesn't love to sing along with the attitude-filled last line every time they hear it, "Meet the new boss!-!Same as the old boss!-!"Camille - Toronto, Oh
What a song-- it still sounds as fresh and ferocious as it did when it first came out. When The Who played at Concert for NYC, they stole the show with Behind Blue Eyes, Who Are you, Baba O'Reilly, and Won't Get Fooled Again.

I don't know how they do it, but those songs, some of which date back to the 70s, can stand on their own today. Brilliant
Adrienne - San Francisco, Ca
I read the National Review article and the high praise for "Won't Get Fooled Again." The right doesn't get it any better than the left. The new boss is "same as the old boss." Neither the right nor the left have any new, useful answers. Pete Townshend says the same thing above.Pat - Albuquerque, Nm
In its May 26, 2006 issue, the conservative National Review magazine published a list of "The 50 greatest conservative rock songs." Won't Get Fooled Again was ranked song number one.


Apparently a pathetic effort to look cool.

Townsend responded on his blog as follows:

"It is not precisely a song that decries revolution -- it suggests that we will indeed fight in the streets -- but that revolution, like all action can have results we cannot predict. Don't expect to see what you expect to see. Expect nothing and you might gain everything.'' Townsend then goes on to explain that the song was simply ''Meant to let politicians and revolutionaries alike know that what lay in the center of my life was not for sale, and could not be co-opted into any obvious cause.''

Dale - Laguna Niguel, Ca
I read an interview with Townshend in 1985 where he explained it was written at a time when revolutionary organisations and campaigners were active on the fringes of youth culture and some faction had apparently approached the Who to raise funds to "buy guns"(!!). Townshend was "anti-political" in his view of of the world, seeing some combination of rock music and mysticism as the way forward!
Like a lot of classic songs it could apply to a lot of situations, but makes most sense in it's original context (ie the upheavals of the late 60s).
Crass's single "Bloody Revolutions" covered a similar theme in response to orgnisations like the Socialist Workers Party in the late 70s.
Ross - Leicester, United Kingdom
Chris from Hull, MA: Pete Townshend is a god. If you're going to say mean things about him, at least spell his name right!!Cynthia - Scranton, Pa
I agree with a previous poster that The Concert for New York is a fantastic set of 4 songs for The Who. This song is particularly symbolic and powerful in that it was performed in October 2001, when everyone was mad at others for the 9/11 attacks. You can see the crowd go wild when Pete glares at the camera and blasts away on the guitar!Randall - Baton Rouge, La
Ok like I said in the I Can See for Miles comments, it sickens to read that there are idiots like Andy who think that all Pete "really does is make a whole lot of noise". I'm sorry but that is bs. This vids prove that Pete is one of the greatest ever: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YWiLExCbWw
Ian - Augusta, Me
Towenshend has stated that this was his statment against the Hippie movement of the late 60's - early 70's. They were phonies and asked Pete to join them and give up his life and his kids for them and to join their cause. The 'new boss" hippies) is the same as the "old boss". He basically told the counter-culture gang to f*** off and he was going to do things his way and like it.Jc - Tucson, Az
my favourite who song of all time. it is just amazing and blows me away. even better is the live version from the kids are alright, the raw power the who represent in that version is just unbelievable. and Andy, Yakima, WA i agree with you that pete townshend is not the greatest guitarist, but he manages to entertain an audience just with his guitar playing, and i think that makes him one of the best guitarist out there.Kiyoto - Vancouver, Canada
Howard, you've got a point there. And I'm pretty sure the scream in the studio version is double-tracked. That's why nobody's been able to top it. Hah!Michael - Oxford, -
I was a bit amused to see the remark by Jerry of Roxboro NC; my wife and I were going to school in NC at the time (Durham and Chapel Hill respectively) and attended that same concert in Greensboro. The songs were all from _Who's Next_--I don't *think* that the album had come out yet, so the songs were all new revelations. I remember that Townshend ceremoniously "banished" Moon from the stage for the first part of "Behind Blue Eyes" because the first part of the song required control and Moon wasn't capable of that.

But anyway, the reason I'm posting this is to respond to the several remarks about "Daltrey's scream" near the end of this song. It's certainly not just Daltrey's any more: when The Who played Vancouver a number of years ago, the entire audience waited for that scream, and when it came, it came from everyone's throat and almost raised the roof of the stadium. Bet it's been the same ever since _Who's Next_ came out.
Howard - Vancouver, Bc
Love this song
Lyrical genius
if i do say so myself
Ashley - Edmonton, Ab
During the UK fuel protests in 2000 the protesters adopted the song as their anthem, but applied a twist to the song title "You Wont Get Fuelled Again" !!!!John - Manchester, United Kingdom
The lyrics are great! They also have great meaning! (And the banners have all flown, in the last war.) and (We'll be fighting in the street, with out children at our feet.) This song is the best about that generation!Phoebe - Caribou, Me
Funny. Sounds like almost every revolution there has been. The American Revolution, French Revolution, Bolshevik Revolution...great song. Hopefully, we won't get fooled again.Gene - San Diego, Ca
I believe it's more about the energy the WHO created, as well as unsettling for the same old sh-t from our bureaucrats. It's not in the hands of a few voters...many voters, who are individualized.

The lesson is to stand together, as this fine band did over decades. It almost happened in the early '70's, but nothing close since. We can't make a difference, if we are not heard collectively.

History speaks for itself, so wake-up free world! Show your displeasure by voting out those a-holes you complain about daily, rather than your long-held party allegiance!

They sure are the ones we elected here in NJ...as the true middle-class sinks into the oblivion of their elected officials paychecks and special interests! We won't have a "real" word until many elections are held over years, here....

Meet the new boss! Same as the old boss!!! Feel it in your wallet, at your family's expense? I sure do.


PS: Towshend is awesome and timeless.
Chuck - Woodbury, Nj
Simply put, the greatest song in the history of rock. I saw them perform this as a blues in Frankfurt in 1997 and it totally made sense even as blues. And at The Concert for NYC, the crowds reaction to this song that was 30 years old at the time was amazing. In fact, the Who's performance at The Concert for NYC was the only reason I bought the DVD in the first place.Troy - Tamuning, Guam, United States
This is the "greatest rock song of all time period
by the GREATEST live act in rock history. This song will ring in the church at my funeral someday.
Pete - Worcester, Ma
Do it like him more than once in their entire lives, you mean...Michael - Oxford
To answer your question, Michael from Oxford, I would say you define the "best" scream the same as you would the "best" song or guitar solo, or something like that. However, I think that Bruce Dickinson's scream after the beginning of "Number of the Beast" by Iron Maiden is the greatest scream of all time. THAT, is a blood-curling scream right there. But I agree with most of you other guys too. Daltrey's scream is pretty amazing. Don't know anybody else who can do it like him.Joe - ??, Ky
Not to disagree or anything, but how do you define "best" scream? Clearly not in terms of most blood-curdling, as this one's definitely nowhere near as scary as, for example, Roger Waters in "Careful with That Axe, Eugene". I'd really like to know...Michael - Oxford
Ok, more comments. I disagree with the people who say Pete is a great guitarist; he's ok, but most of what he does is simply make a lot of noise. There are many guitarists who are better. Pete is, however, a fantastic songwriter, and the rest of The Who are/were great musicians. Also, for those debating what the song is about, remember that Pete wrote it originally as part of a story. I'm sure Lifehouse itself was supposed to relate to real life in some manner, but I really think the lyrics are mostly related to the plot of Lifehouse. Finally, someone suggested that the synthesizer part came from Meher Baba's biographical information. That's correct... for Baba O'Reilly, not this song.Andy - Yakima, Wa
This is the best song ever made. A couple of comments: 1) After listening closely hundreds of times, I still can't predict all of Moonie's cymbal crashes and drum fills 2) I am a Who superfan, have read numerous biographies, seen documentaries, etc., and never have i heard anything indicating the alleged facts about the song / synthesizer representing a revolution. And I suspect the "fact" about Townshend having various politicians in mind was just plain made up by somebody. I strongly second J from Wynnewood's suggestion that these the facts be deleted unless they can be documented. (editor's note - good call, we dug up the source on that one, which now appears in the facts)Andy - Yakima, Wa
I saw The Who in 1975 in Greensboro. I'm still going to concerts and I've yet to see any concert by anyone that beats The Who circa: 1975. I don't remember them doing an encore, but there was no way that they could have come back out and done anything to top what they had just done. Everyone in the coliseum lept to their feet and screamed when Daltry did his famous Yeeeeeeeeeeah!. It made me want to cry. I was so pumped when I walked out that night, that I thought I'd never sleep again. To this day, I consider it to be one of life's top ten greatest moments. Townsend is probably the most underrated guitarists of all time. He never gets the credit that he so rightly deserves.Jerry - Roxboro, Nc
I love how it has the lesser scream 4:29 in to get you ready for the big one. I played for this for one of my friends who had never heard it and told him Daltrey's scream was the single greatest moment in any rock song ever. He heard the first scream and was like "That's it." I told him "just wait." Needless to say he was amazed.Scott - Boston, Ma
YYYYEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!! ...and that's just about all that needs to be said. this song is perfection.Melanie - Seattle, Wa
This may sound political, although I'm not really that way, however think about the war in Iraq. Think about how the people there must feel when someone else seems to be in control and how it does and does not affect their life. The pointlessness of it all in some respects. So much of this song seems to apply to it if you really think about it. It's amazing that so long ago this was written, but how so much of it is relative and one can apply to the situation there now, so many years later. I guess the foresight of revolution and war is timeless in some respects and was captured so eloquently in this song. This song made sense then, and now and will probably forever.

Lynn, Milwaukee, Wi
Lynn - Milwaukee, Wi
WGFA is an epic song.I can say with confidence
that I know no other song that I can literally
listen to over and over again in infinity and
never ever grow tired of.It's the ultimate
quintessential rock n' roll anthem for generations to come.

Pete Townshend once said:

"rock n roll won?t solve your problems, but it allows you to dance all over them".
Mike - Pembroke Pines, Fl
This song seems to be explaining what went on in Orwell's 'Animal Farm'.Veddie Edder - Seattle (coincidence)
to moderators: recommend that the first two "facts" -- and the later one about Townshend having various politicians in mind -- be deleted. They are not facts, but opinions (unless you cn document them). I have never seen ,heard, or read any commnts from the band that uppot the first two, and the third -- even if true, not very informative, surprising, or interesting.J - Wynnewood, Pa
This one song changed my musical tastes. It actually lead me to a life-long love of Progressive Rock. Although only 13 at the time of the release of "Who's Next", I had already been listening to rock/pop for 5 years. Suddenly I realized that rock and roll could be really serious music (as compared to the'bubble gum' I had been exposed to on the radio.)Reg - Kemptville, On
Just finishing watching the "Classic Albums" DVD about the origins and creation of Who's Next. There was a discussion over on the Baba O'Reilly page about what constitutes "facts" when talking about meanings and origins. Well, this DVD provides *the* facts, as far as they're available: Townshend, Daltrey, Entwistle, and members of their management, production, etc. team from the recording sessions all talk at length about the making of the songs. Here is what Townshend, live on camera, says about Won't Get Fooled Again (transcribed as accurately as I can do it); where I've enclosed a word in asterisks, Pete laid HEAVY emphasis on that word: "Won't Get Fooled Again was not a defiant statement it was a *plea*, it was a plea, y'know, please, don't y'know in this story *please* don't feel that because you've come to this concert, because you've come to this place that you've got an answer. Please don't make *me* on the stage the new boss. y'know cause I'm just the same as the guy who was up here before. y'know *you're* in charge." One can quibble about what the Pete Townshend of 1971 really meant vs. what the Pete Townshend of 1999 thinks he remembers that he meant, but it's moot: you can interpret it any way you want, but this is as authoritative an explication as it's possible to get without access to a time machine. :-)J - Wynnewood, Pa
A couple of quick comments. First, if you were The Who, and you had to pick one or two songs to play at a big public event, would they be "Boris the Spider" and an old blues cover -- or two songs that are going to have 200,000 people screaming out "It's only teenage wasteland!" and "We won't get fooled again!" in unison? Hmm... tough decision. Second, someone mentioned "The Kids Are Alright"; if you have _any_ interest in The Who, you must get the new DVD release, if only for the incredible live performances of Baba and WGFA -- it's a goldmine, but Townshend is on a different plane for these two songs.J - Wynnewood, Pa
Best song of all time, by the best band of all time! Love live The Who!Skip - Brampton, Canada
The single best song in rock history, period. I once did my best scream along with Daltrey while I was driving, and it took me about 30 minutes to recover. Considered driving to the ER, but embarrassment stopped me. I still wonder if I had a mini-stroke.Steve - Cincinnati, Oh
Townshend performs an exceptional acoustic performance of this song on the Who's Next DVD. He's the only man who can make acoustic guitar and vocals rock that much, check it out.Bryan - New York, Ny
Who said Jimmy Page worked on this?

He didn't. Only time he worked with The Who was the first album.
Jack - Riverside, Ca
I love this song. I love the scream at the begining too. Wow!! Roger has a great scream. I love the Who.Shannan - Wilmington, De
This is one of my favorite rock screams of all time, Daltrey has got some lungs on him!Max - New Brunswick, Nj
It is THE rock anthemBen - Indianapolis, United States
my favorite band of all time. the who are gods of rock and rollJoe - Bellingham, Wa
This was released in 1971, not 1968 -the year of political agitation.John - London, United States
Daltry is such a beast in this song. His scream at the end is absolutely insane!Nick - Pittsburgh, Pa
I don't know how my post turned up 3 times. Each time I opened this window to see if anyone had added a comment after me, there was another copy of my post showing up. Hopefully, it will stop.Mark - Mchenry, Il
August 4, 1976, I saw The Who in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida. Surprisingly, there were only 18,000 people there, but that meant it was pretty easy to get fairly close to the stage, which I did. When they launched into this song, which was THE anthem, in my mind, I and everyone else went nuts. I could not believe I was watching The Who perform this song about 40 feet away from me. It was as good as anything I've ever seen in concert. Pete leaping all over the stage and doing the windmill, Roger doing his own windmill with the microphone cord, Keith beating the daylights out of the drums, and John standing stoically and laying down some awesome bass lines. At one point in the concert, Keith Moon stood up on his bass drum and said, "Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Tommy." They then proceeded to play a large number of selections from that album. What a show! And what a great, great song this is. In my opinion, it is flawless.Mark - Mchenry, Il
For the person who said every band sells out: Have you ever heard of the Beatles? Or even Pink Floyd? Some bands DO still have some integrity.

But the Who are different. They never took themselves too seriously. To me it doesn't seem like a sell out because they were never above that kind of stuff to begin with. So they're not hypocrites. Bob Dylan on the other hand. It makes me cringe everytime I hear that Kaiserpermanente Blowin' in the Wind commercial. That's just wrong.
Sondra - Burbank, Ca
every band sells out some song(s) but why this. like how zeppelin sold out rock and roll to caddilac. at least theyre not like kissJeeves - Dc, Dc
This is the most exciting song ever. You can use it to get pumped up, but The Who uses it to close their concerts, and it's a great ending. Definitely their song with the most talent, but beat out by Baba O'Riley's pure magical sound.Bryan - New York, Ny
Jimmy Page actually helped Pete Townshend with the guitar riffs on this song.Paul - Muskegon, Mi
This song was used when the Idianapolis Colts took the field in Super Bowl XLI.

J.T. Snow uses this song when he pitches

This is used at Yankee Stadium in the first inning
Colin - New Egypt, Nj
8 minutes and 30 seconds that define rock. Thee best song ever. Powerfull drumming by Keith Moon,Explosive guitar by Pete Townshend,Moving vocals by Roger Daltrey and Quiet but awesome bass performance by John EntwhistleColin - New Egypt, Nj
this has to be the Who's greatest contribution to rock. I mean this is a great song. Great lyrics(revolution) and great guitar and drums. Keith Moon and Pete Townshend are the best.Ray - Stockton, Nj
When i hear the intro,it just sends shivers down my spine,Pete Townshend is a legend on the guitar. ....DAVE....WORCS....U.K.Dave - Redditch Worcs, England
The only other Who song that could be called "comparitive" would be "Magic Bus". I say this for popularity reasons too.George - Okieland, Ok
My favorite part of this song is during the long synthesizer piece right when Keith Moon starts coming in with the drums, and they play back and forth. I also like the very end of it. Love the way Keith Moon played drums! It's amazing to watch old clips of him playing and to realize he did that almost continuously throughout a concert. I've read all about the problems, including how he sometimes had to "remember" how to play like Keith Moon after a year off, but I've never seen or heard anyone like him. Just my opinion, no debate here. I'm in awe of him and just wish his life had turned out better! Everything I like best by The Who inlcuded him playing drums. (I do admire the others, too.)Susan - Npr, Fl
I believe as part of the lifehouse project that the synthesizer track was made by taking the attributes of his guru Meher Baba and inputting it into the synthesizerTony - Saugus, Ma
Ross: Rolling Stone Magazine's opinion means much less than all of ours...I can't stand their lists...I would rank it much higher...in my opinion Roger Daltry's scream is the best ever in rockDerek - Sarnia, Canada
I like the long version the most because the song runs eight minutes and 30 seconds.Melissa - Fairborn, Oh
greatest...who...song...ever...no...competition...Alexander - Kiensiflodikov, Iceland
Townshend later lamented the cautionary aspect of this song, saying that it reflected his conservative family-oriented lifestyle at the time and that he would have preferred the song to be more pro-revolution (or at least more pro-socialism). But then, Townshend always had this irrepressible urge to criticize and denigrate his own work, so who knows?Fyodor - Denver, Co
This is often cited as a political song: a classic example of rebellion and rage in rock music.

Ironic, because "Won't Get Fooled Again" is a deeply anti-politcal song. Perhaps "apolitical" would be more precise. Townshend couldn't be clearer: politics are meaningless posturing, and nothing of substance ever changes.

You could praise the song for its realism, depicting a world in which the vast majority of people are dominated by a powerful elite: we are all brainwashed ("hypnotised"), and little more free than slaves.

Or, you could decry its essentially fatalistic, apathetic tone. Human nature--Townshend's narrator says--is that there are always despots, and they rule over us. Positive change isn't possible, so why bother struggling for it?

The song reflects a rebellious attitude, but it's all on the surface. Does rebellion have any meaning, if not accompanied by action? The narrator grins knowingly at "the change all around", none of which consitutes real change.

Similarly, his contrary attitude is merely posturing, with nothing real to back it up. His rage is mere posturing, every bit as much as the posturing of so-called revolutionaries.
Charles Wallace - Portland, Or
This song performed live is godlike...this song alone is godlike.Danny - Sydney, Australia
The Who had hundreds of great songs, but this one really kicks ass.Chris - Sunnyvale, Ca
During this song in one of the Who's concerts, Keith Moon passed out due to a dose of horse tranquilizers before the concert...after being dragged off stage Roger Daltrey asks "Does anybody here play the drums" and some random 19 year old came up and finished the remaining 3 songs, just thought you might want to know :-)Tom - Dosen't Matter, Ct
My favorite Who song, by far. All 4 band members contribute perfectly. Superb chorus hook. Great ending, none other like it. Not bad for a "bunch of ugly geezers".Mark - Lincoln, Ne
any bigtime Who fan must buy The Kids Are Alright DVD to see the live version of this that a 17 year old kid got them to perform semi-against their will.Mark - Virginia Beach, Va
Oh, and mentioning Kiss and Van Halen in the same breath as The Who -- somebody's got some problems distinguishing gimmicky crap (K & VH) from real rock.Anonymous
It's clear throughout the song that the singer holds no hope for any revolution ("Smile and grin at the change all around/Pick up my guitar and play/Just like yesterday" -- i.e., nothing has really changed), as is consistent with Townshend's view. I don't know whether Townshend himself suggested the bit about the synthesizer representing a revolution, but you can't take everything a rock musician says about his intentions as gospel. Townshend might have been telling some silly git of a journalist to sod off, the guy wouldn't let go, so Townshend laid this preposterous "interpretation" on him.

It's one of a few true rock anthems, like "Baba O'Reilly" and "Street Fighting Man" (particularly the version on "Get Yer Ya-Yas Out") -- the rock equivalent of the "St. Crispin's Day" speech in Henry V -- that would make anyone with a pulse run out and storm the barricades.
This and "Pinball Wizard" are my two favorite Who songs -- I can't sit still during the intro of either one. In fact, some of my fellow musician buddies refer to WGFA as a "Tommy outtake"....Alan - Louisville, Ky
Van Halen does an AWESOME rendition of "Won't Get Fooled Again" and in my opinion Sammy Hagar can seriously hold his own for the scream!!!Scott - Riverton, Ut
One of the top five greatest rock songs, in my book. Only Revolution, Satisfaction, Like a Rolling Stone, and Layla could possibly surpass it.Nathan - Defiance, Oh
Pete may not like the song anymore - mostly out of boredom from playing for 30 + years, but Pete knows what the fans want and they want "Won't Get Fooled Again". Just like Richie Blackmore can't stand "Smoke On The Water" but he HAS to play it. Otherwise they'll get forgotten quicker. And these guys know this.John - Tampa, Fl
Roger Daltrey has an awesome voice.Sumner - Paragould, Ak
But I like "There's A Doctor" better than thisAlfred - Sidmouth, Co
Roger's Scream is amazingAlfred - Sidmouth, Co
Pure and simple... the reason this song remains in the "limelight" is beause it F'ing rocks....it demonstrates all of the bands abilities.
The drummming in this song is SO damn Phenomenol...and Roger D's voice is WAY up to par when he screams in the end...in fact it could start a revolution (in and of itself) which is probably why Pete T. does not like it.
I think he always admired Rogers vocal prowess and it caused alot of drama...when in fact Pete was always the dream behind the music ......It's a shame he never seems to see that.
Scott - Columbus, Oh
I don't get it either. why is the song every time the Who play live at somewhere like Live8 or the concert for new york. whatever though, i guess it's their decition.Stefanie Magura - Rock Hill, Sc
Nissan used several of The Who's songs including this, and "Bargain." Don't forget Hummer (or H2) with "Happy Jack."Chase - Pasadena, Ca
This is directed at some of the comments made by "Taylor, Commack, NY"... First of all please spell Townshend and Daltrey right, it's Townshend not Townsend, and Daltrey not Daltry.. Second of all the who is not "Townsend and Daltrey's group", they are in the group, but Entwhistle and Moon (although dead) are as much a part of it as the frontmen Townshend and Daltrey. In fact I would say that Kieth Moon is the main reason the band was so successful. His maniacal drumming is arguably the best in the world (2nd to John Bonham in my opinion) and he filled in the gaps in the music. When a drummer uses as many fills as moon, a steady bass player is needed Entwhisle was the perfect person for this. He is also one of the best (in close competition with the beatle's McCartney, Jonsey of Zeppelin, and Floyd's Waters) My point is the Who is a 4 person band, not a 2 person band.. In fact in my opinion the Who ceased to exist when Moon died in 78.Bryant - Ottawa, Canada
I think we get it Rick from Arizona...my favorite part of the song is the chorusTim - Dalton, Ma
When Daltry was recording his legendary screem, the rest of the Who was just outside of the studio. When they heard what Daltry layed down, they thought he was actually being electrocuted!Rick Sobotka - Sedona, Az
This song is #133 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of 500 greatest songs.Ross - Independence, Mo
If Townsend doesn't like this song anymore, then why the hell do The Who play this song like everytime they do a 1 or 2 song performance such as live aid and live 8, also the concert for New York. It's Townsend and Daltry's group, so surely they wouldn't play it so much if Pete doesn't like it.Taylor - Commack, Ny
Selling out a great rock classic is tragic. This song isn't about the Nissan Maxima amd therefore should not be used as advertising material. If only the misuse of rock n' roll was outlawed...Bob - Kelowna, Canada
I think it's funny that it's my cousin's favorite song. My cousin Quinten, is 5 years old, and "Won't Get Fooled Again" is his favorite song. So sometimes when I here it, I think of hom. He's a huge Who fan.Stefanie Magura - Rock Hill, Sc
Of course this is subjective, but "Won't Get Fooled Again" is by far the quintessential rock song. The lyrics tell a meaningful story, anger is present through the entire song, and the structure of the music fit the lyrics perfectly. Why this is not played more often on the radio is a mystery to me. It's always a thrill to see footage of the band playing this live, whether it's 1975 or 2002. Check out the live version on The Kids Are Alright DVD. Its a treat.Mark - Manassas , Va
Tonshend is a genius! This song is ultimate proof of that!Vincent - St. Davids, England
This is the greatest rock song of all time, plain and simple!Anthony - Clearwater, Fl
Daltrey's scream rocks my socks! I'm glad that Pete Townshend still sticks by some of his principles.Katie - Gasoline Alley, Australia
Moore is the mirror image of Limbaugh. He is just as fake - thank you, Townsend, for not letting your song get sullied by this contrarian-jingoistic film.Nick - Denver, Co
so..Pete hates this tune now??...Considering the impact on Rock history this track made....who cares??Harvey - Jackson, Mi
the live version of the scream (Shepperton Studios, Keith's last appearance :( ) is even better!Fintan - Cheltenham, England
I LOVE the scream in this song...I really like the Who and this song is pretty good, but they have better...Shana - Pembroke, Canada
Townsend got the trademark "windmill" from Keith Richards. In the early days he saw him doing it before a Rolling Stones show and thought he had stolen it. Later he asked him abought it and Richards told him he had had a crampDavid - Waco, Tx
Wasnt a big fan the first few times i heard it i would even stop the song halfway through...then when i finally listened to the whole song..and heard daultry scream..i was sold..id give my lefy eye to sing like daultryPeter - Providence, Ri
Actually Johnathon, a lot of Democrats really dislike Farenheit also. I don't think its doing much, because it just gave more fuel to the republicans fire, and more fuel to the democrats fire. Lots of fire.Will - Electric Ladyland
Seriously Cassie, how can you live in Detroit and be a republican? Anyways, this song is the best. It's so uplifting and so rocking. That scream is so... perfect. It makes you want the song to never end. well in the words of The Who, "Long Live Rock."Jonathan - Ann Arbor, Mi
in that simpsons episode, pete tturns his amp to 'whuh-oh!'.Tyler - Farmington, Mi
Cassie: bet you haven't seen the movie, though, have ya?Ash - Charleston, Wv
That's a good thing, if i were Townshend i wouldn't want that ass to use my music in his taken-out-of-context-BS either.Cassie - Detroit, Mi
Pete Townsend refused to allow Michael Moore to use this song in Farenheit 911.John - Wilmington, Nc
Weird Al has an unreleased parody of this called "Won't Eat Prunes Again"Alex - New Orleans, La
Great song, strong from beginning to end. The guitar solo that starts around the 3:30 and ends in Pete's trademark Windmills is one of my favorites.Ben - New York, Ny
It was funny when The Who appeared on The Simpsons. Pete turned his amps up to the max and his playing this caused the wall that Homer had built to fall down.(Homer built the wall to divide the city in 2, in case you haven't seen the episode.)Tom - Trowbridge, England
spike lee used this as the ending to "summer of sam" and what a great ending it was.Nicoletta - Bronx, Ny
Townsend needs to lighten the hell up - he's so self righteous.Chris - Hull, Ma
This is the theme song to the show CSI Miami. And a true rock classic, very well written song.Brian - Paoli, In
KISS uses this song before they drop their black curtain in front of their stage.... right at the part where Roger Screams... and the drums kick in....is where they drop the curtain.Josh - Sunbury, Pa
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