Browse by Title
A B C D E F G
H I J K L M N
O P Q R S T U
V W X Y Z #  




My Generation

by

The Who



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

Roger Daltrey sang the lead vocals with a stutter, which was very unusual. After recording two takes of the song normally, their manager Kit Lambert suggested to Daltrey that he stutter to sound like a British kid on speed. Daltrey recalled to Uncut magazine October 2001: "I have got a stutter. I control it much better now but not in those days. When we were in the studio doing 'My Generation', Kit Lambert came up to me and said 'STUTTER!' I said 'What?' He said 'Stutter the words – it makes it sound like you're pilled' And I said, 'Oh… like I am!' And that's how it happened. It was always in there, it was always suggested with the 'f-f-fade' but the rest of it was improvised."
Pete Townshend wrote this on a train ride from London to Southampton on May 19, 1965 – his 20th birthday. In a 1987 Rolling Stone magazine interview, Townshend explained: "'My Generation' was very much about trying to find a place in society. I was very, very lost. The band was young then. It was believed that its career would be incredibly brief." (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
Townshend wrote this for rebellious British youths known as "Mods." It expressed their feeling that older people just don't get it.
This contains the famous line, "I hope I die before I get old." Who drummer Keith Moon did, dying of a drug overdose in 1978.
This song went through various stages as they tried to perfect it. It began as a slow song with a blues feel, and at one point had hand claps and multiple key changes. The final product was at a much faster tempo than the song was conceived; it was Kit Lambert's idea to speed it up.
This is the highest charting Who song in the UK, but it never cracked the Top 40 in America, where they were less known. In the UK the album was also called My Generation, but in America it was titled The Who Sing My Generation.
This featured one of the first bass solos in Rock history. John Entwistle used a new-on-the-market Danelectro bass to play it, but he kept breaking strings trying to record it. A bit of a bummer that replacement strings weren't available, as he had to go out and buy an entire new bass.

Entwistle was the least visible member of the band, and his bass solos on this song threw off directors when The Who would perform the song on TV shows. When it got to his part, the cameras would often go to Pete Townshend, and his fingers wouldn't be moving. Entwistle played the solos using a pick, since their manager Kit Lambert didn't think fingers recorded well. Most of Entwistle's next recordings were done with fingers.
The BBC refused to play this at first because they did not want to offend people with stutters. When it became a huge hit, they played it.
In 1965, Daltrey claimed he would kill himself before reaching 30 because he didn't want to get old. He continued to performs the song, explaining that it is about an attitude, not a physical age.
On September 17, 1967, The Who performed this song on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Keith Moon set his drums to explode after the performance, but the technical crew had already done so. The resulting explosion burned Pete Townshend's hair and permanently damaged his hearing.

Also of note during this performance was Moon's total disregard for the illusion of live performance. The band was playing along to a recorded track (common practice on the show), and while his bandmates synched their movements to the music, Moon made no effort to keep time, even knocking his cymbal over at one point.
Shel Talmy, who produced this track, was fired the next year. Talmy filed a lawsuit and won extensive royalties from future albums.
The ending of this song is electric mayhem, with Keith Moon pounding anything he can find on his drum kit and Townshend flipping his pickups on an off, something he also did on the album opener "Out in the Street." Townshend and Daltrey go back and forth on the vocals, intentionally stomping on each other to add to the chaos.
This was covered by Iron Maiden, who was usually the Who's polar opposite both musically and lyrically. One connection they share is the BBC-TV series Top of the Pops. Performances on the show were customarily lip-synched, but The Who performed live on the show in 1972. In 1980, Iron Maiden also performed live, and was the first band to do so since The Who. Maiden put their version of "My Generation" on the B-side to the single for "Lord of the Flies." (thanks, Brett - Edmonton, Canada)
Green Day recorded this for their 1992 album Kerplunk!. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
When teen pop singer Hilary Duff covered this as a B-side for her 2005 single "Someone's Watching Over Me," she made the curious decision to rewrite some of the lyrics. "I hope I don't die before I get old," doesn't really have the same rock 'n' roll attitude as Townshend's original words, and her rendition caused some consternation among Who fans.
The Who
The Who Artistfacts
More The Who songs
More songs that were banned
More songs about getting older
More songs with stuttering
More call-and-response songs

Comments (65):

On January 6th 1966, the Who performed "My Generation" on the ABC-TV program 'Shindig!'...
Three days later on January 9th it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart for a five week stay, peaking at position #74...
It reached #2 in the U.K. and #3 in Canada...
R.I.P. Keith Moon (1946 - 1978), John Entwistle (1944 - 2002), and Jimmy O'Neil (Shindig's host, 1940 - 2013).
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
I always (ever since it came out) thought that the stuttering was in order to 'suggest' the F word when he sings "Why don't you all f f f fade away"
- Michael, Bradford, England
I've never heard the Oasis cover of My Generation, but I like them so I might like it. I've never heard Duff's version, but I agree that her revisions kinda negate the purpose of the song. Having said that, I don't know if hearing would cause me to have nearly the same reaction that LimpBizkit's Behind Blue Eyes did. I wanted to throttle Fred Dirst.

Now last but not least:

I think Pete and Roger were and are both hot. ;)

P.S. And speaking of Behind Blue Eyes, I heard the most gorgeous, as in made me want to cry, version by Pete Townshend which I think is on his Life House Chronicles recording. It's a newer one, and words fail me in describing it!
- Stefanie, Rock Hill, SC
It's a Su-su-super Co-co-cool Song!! nTh-nTh-nTh-That's All Folks :-)
- David, Lawren, MA
"My Generation" still rocks after all this time-- so do The Who. To hear a great version, listen to Live at Leeds. The song lasts just about 15 minutes and all sorts of riffs are thrown in. Truly brilliant.
- adrienne, San Francisco, CA
wait wait wait... did Zac Efron do the end by the doors????? please tell me your joking cause that would be the biggest sin againt man kind!
- Nick, Seattle, Albania
By the way, Hillary Duff destroyed this song's entire purpose when she made the lyric change to "I hope I don't die before I get old". Why even bother covering the song in the first place? Nobody, not even her fans, wants to hear that - her fans would be 9 year old girls who would have no idea where this song came from. It's like Zac Efron singing "The End" by The Doors. It makes no sense, doesn't work, and no one wants to hear it.
- Brad, Lexington, KY
It's ironic that Pete Townshend wrote the words "I hope I die before I get old" and Roger Daltrey sang them, but they're the two original members that are still alive and Keith Moon and John Entwistle, the two members that really had nothing to do with those words are dead. Weird...
- Brad, Lexington, KY
aaaah, i love this song. it represents teenagers everywhere so well- 'hope i die before i get old'. awesome and angsty.
- chloe, st. louis, MO
This is the greatest song by one of the greatest bands of all-time, it has the best bass solo of all time, and it had the most meaningful lyrics that represented the sentiment of the time period that it was released in. RIP Keith Moon and John Entwistle. Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey are still going strong. Even though Keith Moon was the soul of this band(Townshend was the heart), the current drummer Zak Starkey(for those of you who don't know is Ringo Starr's son) is a more than adequate replacement. I also love Won't Get Fooled Again, Substitute, Happy Jack, Baba O'Riley, and Behind Blue Eyes. The VH1 Rock Honors with the Foo Fighters, the Flaming Lips, Incubus, Pearl Jam, and Tenacious D was just amazing. Pete and Roger still sound great even if Roger's voice is cracking quite a bit. When he screamed the line "They're all wasted!" from Baba O'Riley, it sounded like he was choking. As for Townshend, he was never blessed with a good voice anyway. Thanks to the Who for 40+ fruitful years of the good old sounds of rock and roll.
- Bob, Dumbsville, Belarus
Or Hansen singing Metallica... heh heh I can see it now...
- nady, adelaide, Australia
Hilary Duff covered it? That's like Hannah Montana singing Nirvana.
- Vincent Ferraro, Hesperia, CA
ewww who said Pete Townshend was hot??? no offence but have you not seen Roger Daltry??? Oh my god what beautiful blue eyes! Even as a 60 something year old he's still a looker....and thats coming from a 17 year old...weird I know
- nady, adelaide, Australia
Man I love this song! It'll never die, it's from the 60's ad it's still true. How hot was Roger Daltry!!!!!boy oh boy
- nady, adelaide, Australia
I love this song and the Who. And yeah hilary duff covered it, but she should not go near it. nor should limp bizkit touch behind blue eyes
- Emma, baltimore, MD
Bob Saget Sang this song on an episode of Full House.
- Ron, New Milford, NJ
Keith Moon DID drive his car into a brick wall and chipped a tooth. Said wall surrounding a hotel pool. He was not running from the cops, nor did it land in the pool itself. Moon died after an overconsumption of pills perscribed to him for help to make him quit drinking.
- Joe, Bellingham, WA
Keith Moon did not die of a drug overdose, he drove his car through a brick wall and into a pool when he was drunk, and according to the american government alcohol is not a drug.
--------
Yes, he did die of a drug overdose. Sleeping pills I believe. But he did drive a (not his) car into a pool trying to escape the cops at a hotel and chipped a tooth in the process. And, alcohol is classified as a drug. What else would it be? (Im 13 and can tell you all this..)
- Rachel, Cleveland, OH
To Shannan of Wilmington, DE: Yes, Pete Townsend is hot. But you should've seen Roger Daltrey back in the day!
- MusicMama, New York, NY
Sophia Loren once said that neither her eyes, nose, cheekbones nor any other part of her face were exceptional. In fact, she said, they were rather ugly. But, she said, they just happened to be put together the right way. One might say something similar about this song. The lyrics are good, though not exceptional. And the stuttering, while novel back in the day, seems like a cliche today. However, when the lyrics and performance are put together, the result is one of rock'n'roll's veritable anthems. Also, as I have said in some of my reviews of "Subterranean Homesick Blues" and "Just Like A Rolling Stone," Bob Dylan was one of the progenitors of rap and hip hop. One could say the same thing for the Who--and about this song in particular--though for different reasons. Dylan's songs used three-beat rhyming lines, which is the basic rap format, and his rapid-fire delivery often seems ready to lapse into stuttering, but never quite does. But the Roger Daltrey, as we all know, stuttered in this song. It occurs to me that the stuttering serves a very similar purpose to the groove-skipping that the early hip-hop DJs and musicians like Grand Master Flash and Kool Herc used, and some musicians still use. It's as if the message is coming faster than anyone's speech or performace can deliver it, which is of course what often happens to people who take speed. And it also happens to people when they're angry or excited: the chief emotions of this song and of so much rap and hip-hop. As long as there are people, particularly young ones, who feel misunderstood or otherwise alienated, this song will remain a staple. And I agree with Matt of Millbrae who said that such life forms as Hillary Duff should never have been allowed near this song. One of the few things I can think of that would be worse would be Ricky Martin covering Bob Marley's "Redemption Song." Or Celine Dion doing "Lay Down" or almost anything else.
- MusicMama, New York, NY
I love the song. The Who are great. Pete Townshend is soooo cool. He is also a very deep person in his words and music. He was also very very hott.
- Shannan, Wilmington, DE
let's see....1. hillary duffs cover kiiled my ears, and their bass SUCKED SO FREAKIN MUCH. 2. so did green days cover 3. oasis cover was freakin awesome (even though he only stuterred a little)and their bass guitar player is really good and i could go on and on but basically i currently LOVE oasis cause of their cover :P
- Anna, Moscow, Czech Republic
The Who started the trend. It was a concert back when they were still the High Numbers Band 1963 I think. Pete accidently jammed his guitar into a low ceiling and bent the neck. On their next concert fans were egging them on to do it again. Pete angirly smashed his guitar. Jimi didn't "steal" it, I think that he simply did it second. AND ABOUT JOHN ENTWISTLE'S BASS During Smother Brothers Comedy tour I'm pretty sure he used a Gretsch 6070 Hollow Body bass, or a 1965 sunburst Fender Jazz Bass.
- Joe, Bellingham, WA
does anyone know the type of bass that john used for the smothers brothers show
- Al, ebenezer, Canada
The Who destroyed their stuff first, though it began as an accident that they just played into when Townshend broke the neck of his guitar once.
- John, Hendersonville, NC
Pete Townsend said that Jimi Hendrix stole the Who's act, destroying their instruments! Does anyone know who actually started this trend?
- P J, OKC, OK
I think the lsimple lyrics and the studdering are what make the song good. Plus, the song was released in the 1960's, maybe Americans andBritish people felt different then, but despite that, the song is still immensely popular in America. My Generation isn't the only classic, that wasn't a big hit over hear in the U.S. And plus, chart position doesn't necessarily define popularity, and vice versa.
- Stefanie, Rock Hill, SC
If i may ask, what makes this song so good? The lyrics are incredibly simple, and the stuttering is goofy, although after reading the posts, it does make some sense now. And obvously Brits feel differently about this song than Yanks considering the giant gap in US vs UK chart ranking. So what makes it so good?
- Brandon, Peoria, IL
only Oasis & Green Day have come close to doing this song justice as a cover. Oasis's version is exceptionally good.
- Paul, Redditch, England
Some songs should never be played or sung by anyone else--unless they're just singing along with the original! It's a great song. Play it while you driving. I don't care how old you are. "Old" is an attitude. I enjoy this now as much as I did 30 yrs. ago. I forget how far back some of my favorite songs are, and I can't believe this one came out in '65. I wasn't even a teenager yet! I didn't start listening to The Who until around '69 or '70. It's very strange seeing your teen idols get older!
- Susan, NPR, FL
There is nothing more painful than Hilary Duff's version of this. It has a synth bass solo and "less offensive lyrics" for crying out loud. How did Pete let her do this?
- Griffin, New York, NY
is true H. Duff killed the best song in the world, its shameful that most people liked Duff in the first place. I did not belive it at first so i downloaded it on limewire. Sh*t i almost cried when i heard duff sing it
- lily, Vancouver, Canada, United States
I just took a history of rock class and I was told that Roger stutters in the song because he had a friend that used to stutter when he got angry. So Roger used the stutter to illustrate the frustration between the older and younger generations.
- Pete, Medford, NJ
Rogers stutters in the song were intentional as most of the older generation saw the younger generation as being stupid and ileterate. So Roger intentionaly stuttered to get a rise of the older folks :-)
- George, Parma, OH
one of my favorite songs ever.
- jordan, shokan, NY
I heard the stutter was because Roger couldn't read the lyrics when they were recording in the studio. It sounded okay so they left it in.
- Stuart, Melbourne, Australia
Keith Moon was constantly on speed, that's why he was such a good drummer.
- tom, brisbane
Patti smith covered this in ohio on jan. 26th, 1976. It is a non lp bside which is only on the cd version of her album horses
- Max, new york, United States
Keith moon died of a drug overdose. the drug was perscribed to him for his alchohol problem.
He drove into a pool and didn't die.
He went into a hotel he was registered in with a woman at 2am and she wasn't allowed in because she wasn't registered. He then went outside and drove through the front of the foyer and said take this to my room its registered! so ha
- jack, faraham, England
oasis cover is good...
- alejandro, Mexico D.F., Mexico
the thought of the bakstreet boys covering stairway sent a chill down my spine macthed only by that of skinless bloodsoked eternal nightmares.
- sam, alton, IL
One brilliant amazing song that I love. I heard from my dad that on stage live they say, 'Why dont you all, ffff F**k Off!' Legeandary
- Vincent, St. Davids, England
yes the way hilary duff sings this song is just terrible! it makes me so mad!
- Nicole, Hampstead, NC
This is #11 on Rolling Stone's list of 500 greatest songs.
- Ross, Independence, MO
The Hillary Duff cover is worse than 'Behind Blue Eyes"? you've got to be kidding me?
- Stefanie magura, Rock Hill, SC
Are you kidding me? Hilary f**king Duff does a cover of this??? Okay, she should be slaughtered, just to put it frankly. Why do people think they can even touch songs like My Generation? It would be like the Backstreet boys covering stairway to heaven.
- Matt, Millbrae, CA
This song rules! I love classic rock. It makes me feel like a teenager no matter how old i get!
- andrew, seatle, WA
The HIlary Duff cover is by far the most vomit inducing thing I have ever heard. (yes, worse than Limp Bizkit's cover of Behind Blue Eyes)
- Michael, Melbourne, Australia
one of the best rock songs ever
- eddie, Petaluma, CA
Yeah! The studders are pretty cool aren't they? Just a quick question. I didn't know that people on speed studdered,do they? Does anyone know?
- Stefanie magura, Rock Hill, SC
okay fintan! how did you know that Hillary Duff covered it? I didn't.
- Stefanie magura, Rock Hill, SC
"and according to the american government alcohol is not a drug."

That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard, and I have heard some dumb things. No offense Edward, but you do realize there are lots of rumors about the US amongst Europeans that aren't exactly so. For your edification, Title 27 Chapter 8 of the U.S. Code regulates alcohol, and it most certainly does establish it as a drug, to be regulated by the Treasury Department - a throw back to the old days when Moonshiners weren't paying taxes on their distilled spirits. Perhaps you are confused because the Food & Drug Admministration does not have regulatory authority obver alcohol. But the Gov't certainly does classify Alcohol as a drug. What else would they classify it as, a Nutrient?
- Tom, Newark, DE
Oh yeah, and long live John Entwistle
and Keith Moon!!
- Taylor, Austin, TX
In my opinion this is one of the greatest rock songs of all-time.
- Taylor, Austin, TX
Green Day did a pretty good cover of the song. It's on their second album, "Kerplunk".
- Hammerlock, Grand Rapids, MI
I like this song, the stutters are really cool and original
- Shana, Pembroke, Canada
Oh, I forgot: Hilary Duff recently covered it, changing the "I hope I die before I get old" line to "I hope I don't die before I get old"....
Now where's your point, girl??!!
- Fintan, Cheltenham, England
Keith did drive his pool into a car, and he did drive through a brick wall, but Moon being Moon, didn't die.
And yes, Pete did lose his hearing for about half an hour.
- Fintan, Cheltenham, England
1.Keith Moon goes to the 'buddy holly story' premiere with his girlfriend. September 1978
2. Keith Takes a handful of hemenivrin, his medicine for alcoholism, and goes to sleep.
3. wakes up way early in the morning, grills a steak, downs it and washes it down with a glass of wine, and takes more pills.
4.Goes to sleep- doesnt wake up
- Tyler, Farmington, MI
I saw Oasis perform this live a couple of years ago. Liam sang the line, "Why don't you all f**k off!" I just thought he was being arrogant - I never realised that was from Quadrophenia (to be fair, neither did he probably). They've kind of adopted this as their last song at gigs now.
- Gaz, Derby, England, England
Dear Edward,
Keith Moon DID die of a drug overdose. He was prescribed sleeping pills when he was a rehab outpatient, and the pills were meant to be taken under the supervision of a doctor. He took some, went to sleep, woke up, and took some more. Yes, he drove his cars through a wall and into a swimming pool, but neither of those incidents were fatal. Perhaps you were mixing him with Brian Jones, who drowned in his swimming pool?
- Greg, Portland, OR
Keith Moon did not die of a drug overdose, he drove his car through a brick wall and into a pool when he was drunk, and according to the american government alcohol is not a drug.
- Edward Hall, London, England
"Why don't you all f-f-f-fade away" was originally supposed to be "Why don't you all f-f-f-f**k off" from the Quadrophenia movie
- joe d, Hamden, CT
no no no Jeffrey..townshend did lose his hearing on the Smother Brothers performance..he talked about it in an interview on vh1
- Daniel, Sissonville, WV
Townshends didn't lose his hearing during the Smother Brothers performance. He lost it because he would stand to close to the speakers when Daltrey would scream.
- Jeffrey, Cleveland, OH
You have to to post comments.
Justin Hayward of The Moody BluesJustin Hayward of The Moody Blues
Justin wrote the classic "Nights In White Satin," but his fondest musical memories are from a different decade.
Phil Hurtt ("I'll Be Around")Phil Hurtt ("I'll Be Around")
Phil was a songwriter, producer and voice behind many Philadelphia soul classics. When disco hit, he got an interesting project: The Village People.
Pegi YoungPegi Young
After many years working on the Bridge School, Pegi is establishing her career as a singer/songwriter.
dUg Pinnick of King's XdUg Pinnick of King's X
dUg dIgs into his King's X metal classics and his many side projects, including the one with Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam.