Going Mobile

Album: Who's Next (1971)
Play Video


  • This is about taking a vacation by riding around in a car with no particular destination. It was something Pete Townshend liked to do.
  • Pete Townshend wrote this. It was part of his "Lifehouse" project, which was a film script featuring The Who in a future world where rock 'n' roll saves the masses. When the movie lost funding, The Who scrapped plans for a double album and released most of the songs on Who's Next. This was much lighter and more simplified than the other songs on the album.
  • For the solo, Townshend ran his guitar through a device called an Envelope Follower. It was a type of synthesizer distortion that made it sound like he was playing under water.

Comments: 13

  • Jesse from Madison, WiThat's heavy, Barry in N.Y., N.C. Tell Keith Emerson that the synth was a novelty. In 1971, the synth was still used as a musical instrument and lead lines and basslines were still PLAYED on the synthesizer. You need to watch Tommy and consider that about 70% of what you hear not only musically but also in the sound effects department was Townshend's ARP 2500 and/or 2600 synthesizer. Townshend took the synthesizer seriously and USED it to GREAT effect. To the contributor who talks of the envelope follower, an envelope follower was built into the ARP 2600 synthesizer and works just as it sounds. It outputs a voltage in direct relation to the signal coming in. So if you play your guitar loudly, it will open the follower more - that is, a higher voltage will be output, and in softer passages, it will output a lower voltage, but always in direct relation to what's played in. How do I know? I own an ARP 2600. And it's really fun to plug a guitar into it! Or a drum machine, or a snare drum, or a microphone...
  • Barry from New York, NcThis is the track that prominently features the ARP Synthesizer. Back in 1971 the synthesizer was more of a novelty. It wasn't until the early 80s when the synth was overused and abused by musicians everywhere.
  • Wayne from Salem, VaExcellent! A "Who" song sung by Pete. This is one of their songs that I can play over and over and never tire of it. Buy the Classic Album VHS or DVD on the making of "Who's Next". They are talking about this song. And they play Keith's drum track. To Pete's acoustic guitar. Moonie drumming his ass off. Great stuff!
  • Oldpink from New Castle, InDefinitely one of the great driving songs.
    This one is so happy that it will bring nearly anyone out of a funk.
    Love Pete's little trick with the guitar, too.
    It sounds not unlike a car engine whirring.
  • Shannan from Wilmington, DeI love this song. I also like to ride around and go places and not really know where I'm going. I love Pete Townshend.
  • Heather from Los Angeles, CaI've always found this song to be thoughtful and delightful. I don't hear it that often and when I do, I turn it up.
  • Josie from Funkytown, NcThis was recorded live with Pete on vocals and acoustic guitar, John on bass, and Keith, of course, on drums. The Daltreyless band performed at The Young Vic Theatre in February 1971 after Lifehouse fell apart.
  • Adrian from Duluth, GaI used to work at a radio station in Macon, GA called Q-106. There was an african-american DJ there who had obviously never heard this song, so every time he played it he would say, "Here's the Who with Going Mobul". GOod stuff!
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScI love the line 'Watch the police and the tax man miss me.' That line's pretty funny man1
  • Elliott from Douglassville, PaYou can make toast and tea in a trailer. I think that was what Pete was talking about - the character in Lifehouse singing this was supposedly going in a trailer or camper or Winnebago or something. Unusually, this was a song that The Who never performed live.
  • Tyler from Farmington, Mi.... and C. Townshend sufferd a nervous breakdownscreaming at people about how simplistic it really was
  • Brian from Grand Forks, NdThe riding around in car explanation that is given is way too simplistic... It was part of the lifehouse concept... I would need about 30 paragraphs to get into the meaning of this song and I still wouldn't be able to effectively explain it...
  • Alex from Sacramento, Califehouse didnt lose funding it fell apart becaus it was a. to big and b. nobody understood what pete was talkin about
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Rick Springfield

Rick SpringfieldSongwriter Interviews

Rick has a surprising dark side, a strong feminine side and, in a certain TV show, a naked backside. But he still hasn't found Jessie's Girl.

Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne

Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of WayneSongwriter Interviews

The guy who brought us "Stacy's Mom" also wrote the Jane Lynch Emmy song and Stephen Colbert's Christmas songs.

Michael Bolton

Michael BoltonSongwriter Interviews

Into the vaults for this talk with Bolton from the '80s when he was a focused on writing songs for other artists.

Elton John

Elton JohnFact or Fiction

Does he have beef with Gaga? Is he Sean Lennon's godfather? See if you can tell fact from fiction in the Elton John edition.

Tim Butler of The Psychedelic Furs

Tim Butler of The Psychedelic FursSongwriter Interviews

Tim and his brother Richard are the Furs' foundation; Tim explains how they write and tells the story of "Pretty In Pink."

George Clinton

George ClintonSongwriter Interviews

When you free your mind, your ass may follow, but you have to make sure someone else doesn't program it while it's wide open.