lost password recovery

recover my password

Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact

sign in

Sign up for our newsletter

Get the Newsletter

Athena by The Who

Album: It's HardReleased: 1982Charted:
28
40
  • In a February 2010 interview with The News of The World, Roger Daltrey said that even though the fans seems to love this song, he didn't. Said Daltrey: "No, I never liked that song. It's a great record. I think what happened with that song, it was originally called 'Teresa' and then Pete was talking to me about Nick Roeg's girlfriend and how he fancied her, and that song was written about her - but then it changed into 'She's a bomb' and I think I've got a psychological problem with it. I listened to it on the record the other day, and it's a great record; there's so much energy on that thing but I still don't think there's a center to that song. The fact that he changed the title in that and didn't stick to what it was supposed to be lost it's center to me." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    DeeTheWriter - Saint Petersburg, Russia Federation
Sign in or Register to post comments

Comments: 6

The song is indeed about actress Theresa Russell and was originally called Theresa until Roger convinced Pete to change the name so it wouldn't look so obvious.
Pete Townshend wrote the song after a chance meeting with her after a sold out Who concert at the LA Forum back in 1979. As he puts it, he "fell in love instantly" but also adds that he was high on coke at the time. She was not interested in dating a rock star and instead went for Nicholas Roeg, the British director who she might have seen as more stable than a rock star. Heartbroken by her rejection he wrote the song.
Debby - Usa
The song "Athena" was never about Theresa Russell. Actually the song was written about a poster I made and dedicated to John Lennon. Then sent to Yoko Ono. Asking Ono if it was alright to sell my poster with the dedication to Lennon on it. I asked Ono to have the Paul McCartney, Pink Floyd, and the Who sing songs about my poster. I asked that these songs be released in a manner similar to the Beatles "Paul is Dead" story. That way the public would have to listen to the songs and look at my poster in order to figure out if the songs are about the poster.

When I met Pete Townshend in September of 1983 he mentioned that every good mystery needs a red herring. Theresa is that red herring. Here are the lyrics to the song. The meanings of each numbered paragraph is at the end of the paper.

Athena
It is up to you to solve this musical mystery by figuring out if these lyrics are written about my poster Athena, or the actress Theresa Russell.
Are the following paragraphs making use of metaphors to describe atomic weapons as if they are a woman? I will describe the following 9 paragraphs at the end of the lyrics.
1. Athena, I had no idea how much I'd need her
In peaceful times I hold her close and I feed her
My heart starts palpitating when I think my guess was wrong
But I think I'll get along
She's just a girl - she's a bomb
a. Atomic weapons
b. Theresa Russell

2. Athena, all I ever want to do is please her
My life has been so settled and she's the reason
Just one word from her and my troubles are long gone
But I think I'll get along
She's just a girl - she's a bomb
a. Atomic weapons
b. Theresa Russell

3. Just a girl just a girl
Just a girl just a girl
Just a girl just a girl
She's just a girl
a. Atomic weapons
b. Theresa Russell

4. Athena, my heart felt like a shattered glass in an acid bath
I felt like one of those flattened ants you find on a crazy path
I'd of topped myself to give her time she didn't need to ask
Was I a suicidal psychopath?
She's just a girl - she's a bomb
a. Atomic weapons
b. Theresa Russell

5. Consumed, there was a beautiful white horse I saw on a dream stage
He had a snake the size of a sewer pipe living in his rib cage
I felt like a pickled priest who was being flambéed
You were requisitioned blondie
She's just a girl - she's a bomb
a. My poster Athena
b. Theresa Russell

6. I'm happy, I'm ecstatic
Just a girl just a girl
Just a girl just a girl
Just a girl just a girl
She's just a girl
a. Atomic weapons
b. Theresa Russell

7. Look into the face of a child
Measure how long you smiled
Before the memory claimed
How long would children remain
How long would children remain
a. Atomic weapons
b. Theresa Russell

8. Athena, you picked me up by my lapels and screamed "leave her"
It felt like waking up in heaven on an empty meter
And now you're stuck with a castrated leader
And I hate the creep, I didn't mean that
She's a bomb
I just said it
She's a bomb
I didn't mean it, please
She's a bomb
a. Atomic weapons
b. Theresa Russell

9. Athena, I had no idea how much I need her
My life has been so settled and she's the reason
Just one word from her and my troubles are long gone
But I get along
She's just a girl, she's a bomb
She's just a girl, she's a bomb
a. Atomic weapons
b. Theresa Russell

Here are the descriptions behind each paragraph numbered above.

1. Metaphorically talks about how the nuclear powers built up and watch over their nuclear stockpiles.
2. Talks about the diplomacy used by President Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
3. Talks about how we view these weapons as long as they are not being used and are stored carefully.
4. Talks about the possible effects on the world and humanity if a Nuclear War were to break out.
5. Talks about and describes the photo on my poster.
6. The Who is singing this song about my poster, obviously I’m happy and ecstatic.
7. Talks about and gets you thinking what would happen to the children if a nuclear war were to break out.
8. Talks about the use of atomic weapons, and the fear of a mentally unstable leader who might use them if someone called him/her something they didn’t like.
9. Talks about how atomic weapons have been and continue to be used to keep the peace since WW II.

Copyright © 2016 Kerry C. Dougherty
Kerry - Minnesota
On August 29th 1982, "Athena" by the Who entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #77; and on October 24th, 1982 it peaked at #28 {for 3 weeks} and spent 14 weeks on the Top 100...
It reached #3 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart...
Between 1965 and 1983 the British quartet had twenty-six Top 100 records, with "I Can See for Miles" being their biggest hit, it peaked at #9 in 1967...
Sadly, two members of the band have passed away, drummer Keith Moon {1946 - 1978) and bassist John Entwisted {1944 - 2002}...
May they both R.I.P.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
I was named after this song, it makes me sad to know that Daltrey wasn't too fond of it, but I think if he met me he'd like it again :)Athena - Elizabeth City, Nc
Great lyrics.Nate - New York, Ny
One of my favorite Who songs. Upbeat with a nice mix of acoustic and 'plugged in' guitar elements.Dougee - San Bernardino, Ca
see more comments