Brilliant Blues

Album: White City: A Novel (1985)
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Songfacts®:

  • Townshend wrote this about the musician Pete Wylie. In an article published December 13, 2008 in The Guardian, Wylie said: "Before punk rock, Townshend was my hero. I'd always liked Who songs, but discovering his politics and way of playing guitar gave me a way in. His protest songs weren't tirades, they made you feel emotional about them. He is fantastic at articulating rage. When I started having hits like 'Story of the Blues Parts,' I started talking about Liverpool and the state of things under the Conservatives. Out of the blue in '85 Townshend did this interview with Janice Long saying he'd written a song originally called 'Turn The Mersey Blue.' He said it was inspired by 'this guy called Pete Wylie, who's a Liverpudlian songwriter, and who represents those guys who no matter how famous they get, they don't leave Liverpool and still fight back.' I couldn't believe it. It was basically about how red Merseyside is and how the Tories - the blues - would never get in. Janice arranged for me to meet him, but I bottled out. It will happen, but I'm nervous because he's everything I've ever aspired to as a rock star. I love the song. I never expected to tell anyone the story."
  • White City: A Novel is a concept album set in a downtrodden housing estate in White City, West London, near to where Townshend grew up. The songs had a loose storyline concerning urban despair and this number was adapted from an earlier unrecorded number that Townshend had written titled "Turn The Mersey Blue." The song was originally about how the left-leaning Labour party dominate the political scene in Liverpool and it evolved into a tirade against Maggie Thatcher's right-wing Conservative government, who were in power at the time.

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