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Album: QuadropheniaReleased: 1973Charted:
This is the first track on the second CD of Quadrophenia, Pete Townshend's rock opera about Jimmy, a pill-popping mod cockney who tries to find reality from sexual encounters, the company he keeps and the clothes he wears. Only when he drowns in the ocean does he discover himself.
In this song, Jimmy The Mod takes the train back to Brighton, once the site of the Mods triumph against the Rockers, and en route he remembers various experiences of himself and his fellow Mods. Jimmy's recollections are in the main unhappy - anger, confusion, violence, sexual frustration, and rootlessness dominate his thoughts as he keeps returning to the thought: "Inside, outside, leave me alone. Inside, outside, nowhere is home."
The term "Quadrophenia" was coined by Pete Townshend, referring to schizophrenia, times two. The character Jimmy The Mod was a quadrophenic: Townshend wanted each of his four personalities to represent one of the four band members. This didn't work as planned, since the project was so much more involved in the project then the other members.
Speaking with Uncut magazine in 2001, Roger Daltrey said that his main regret on Quadrophenia was the recording process. "Ron Nevison, who was the producer at the time with Pete, recorded it with echo on the vocal which can never be removed now," he explained. "It just makes the vocal sound thin. It was the biggest recording mistake we ever made. The echo diminishes the character as far as I'm concerned. It always pissed me off. From day one I just f---ing hated the sound of it. He did that to my voice and I've never forgiven Ron for it."
During an infamous performance of the song on BBC's Top Of The Pops, Townshend demolished the Gretsch guitar that he'd used for the bulk of Who's Next and Quadrophenia. The Who went on to earn a a life ban from BBC premises after Townshend flicked two fingers at the show's producer and Keith Moon attacked a steward who refused him entry to the bar.