Won't Get Fooled Again

Album: Who's Next (1971)
Charted: 9 15
  • The Who's Next album cover provides a great visual representation of the anti-authoritarian theme of "Won't Get Fooled Again." The concrete block is reminiscent of the monolith from the 1968 movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, representing an overlord that will control and oppress the masses.

    The band appears to be turning away from the object and zipping up their jeans as if they had just peed on it - notice the stains on the slab.

    The album title also plays into this song, as it asks who the next leader - one that will ultimately disappoint - will be.

Comments: 122

  • Shaun from BrazilThe bit I've never ever liked about this song (and it makes it so hard for me to like Townshend) is the phrase "the hypnotized never lie" (and then a couple of bars later) "Do you!" I hesitate to put a question mark at the end of the 'do you' tag because, if you watch Townshend's face on many of the videos of this song ('Secret policeman's ball' etc.), it's an full-frontal accusation, not a question. It's often like a self-aggrandizing ('I'm smarter than you') face, and, for me, it's a criticism of his own fans . . . Here's a better (?) and probably more accurate version: "The hypnotized don't see the lie." . . . "Do we?"
  • Les from UkThose who believe the conspiracy theory that Paul McCartney died in 1966 and was replaced by a double names Billy Shears claim this song is about that.

    'Pick up my guitar and play, Just like yesterday' (reference to the song by Paul)

    'I'll move myself and my family aside, If we happen to be left half alive
    I'll get all my papers and smile at the sky Though I know that the hypnotized never lie' (Showing how everyone got fooled by the impostor)

    'And the parting on the left, Are now parting on the right' (Paul combed his hair left to right, his replacement right to left)
    'And the beards have all grown longer overnight' (Beatles topped live performing after the swap, Paul's replacement grew a beard to hide the differences in appearance.

    For those interested Paul's replacement is taller, head shape different, ears different, teeth and pallet different, plus the voice changed considerably 1966 to 67.
  • Jack Ring from BristolWhilst entitled won't get fooled again he never actually sings won't get fooled but DON'T get fooled.
  • Birdman_euston from London, UkThe only song on my 'personal top-100' that 'grew' on me more because of the (prescient) lyrics than the music. I still don't like the interminable 'prog rock'-style synthesiser solo but the lines "the men who spurred us on sit in judgment of all wrong", "the beards have all grown longer overnight" and "meet the new boss, same as the old boss" could just as easily have been inspired by the Shah of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini and the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Brilliant!
  • Meocyber from Alma, Co I've heard Pete comment the motivation, was from 4 years earlier when 60's radical Abby Hoffman tried to come on the stage w/ the who at Woodstock. Pete, big suprise, threw him off their stage. He said many of these 60's radicals didn't represent his take on modern society and historical developments. He said beware of your "leaders" have an independent, inquiring mind, don't be just a blind follower. Excellent , excellent song. Saw them in 1982, Roger's voice just crashed into the Rocky Mountains and back...
  • Dick from Washington, DcThe Beatles' "Revolution" was a similar ethic -- leave me alone. Your political ideas about achieving a more "just" society don't justify killing millions to achieve it (duh, it's never really about justice, but about who's going to be the boss), as in the Soviet Union, and it won't be more "just" anyway; we'll all just have a new boss, a new kind of oppression, and perhaps do all over again in a couple of generations. So, he grabs his kids and his papers, moves to this side, and tries to live a private life. Which strikes me as the only mature response to a "revolution" that really never happened, wouldn't have been justified if it had, and would have produced simply a different injustice.
  • Chris from York, United KingdomI recently heard Townsend talking about this song on a BBC radio show - he said he was listening to a lot of classical music at the time. I can't rememeber which composer he referenced but he said he liked the idea of using one or two single notes and just repeating then at length. The Who were one of the few rock bands who had BALLS - I would love to have seen them when they started out they had so much aggression menace and passion. My American friends will no doubt correct me on this - but I saw a clip of the Who performing at a charity concert - I think for the NY FD - and they just
    blew all the other acts out of the water!
  • Graham from Windsor, AustraliaI like the way that John Entwistle is so cool while mayhem is going on all around him!
  • Dusty from St. Louis, MoIt's fun to do the scream. A few friends and I did this at a talent show, and the vocalist couldn't do the scream, so I did it. :)
  • Karl from Ingatestone, United KingdomThe Who wrote this song when at a time political statements did change the decade, i mean in another world they can say that Vietnam beaten Rolling Stones fans or maybe some Nine Inch Nails fans.
    i remember when Pete Townshend used to do his windmill movement on his guitar, but in 1989 he had to miss it because the crowd at The Who concert they were playing that night was full of diehards requesting 'Wont Get Fooled Again'.
    it is still the CSI theme tune
  • Cled from Hitchin, United KingdomOnce read in an interview with Daltrey that it was written as a kind of ode to Harold Wilson, Britsh Prime Minister, who months earlier had been defeated in a general election by Ted Heath. Wilson was a crook, and Heath not much better. Hence 'meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
    And we are all getting fooled again!!!!
  • Paul from Seattle, WaIt's a cynical song. It's one of the few instances in rock history where cynicism is expressed as catharsis. It's about the failure of the Sixties revolution. Their hearts were in the right place, but they had no plan. Townshend sees that the struggle isn't going to be resolved in simplistic terms - so he "smiles and grins at the change all around," recognizing that people's hearts are changing. But is that enough? Is will enough? Shouldn't we be educating ourselves on how to change things from a realistic perspective? Dalrey's scream is one of frustration, but also a catalyst for change where simple flower power failed. Most revolutions are loud. Peace 'n' love 'n' flowers won't work. To believe so would be foolishness. And you shouldn't be fooled again either.
  • Tyler from Greeneville, TnMeet the new boss, same as the old boss. Amen!
  • Camille from Toronto, OhMany excellent comments I agree with: Melanie from Seattle-you are right, that's really just about all that needs said. Chuck from Woodbury, agreed, it's about the energy The Who generates. Trivia: In 2009, this was named the sixth greatest hard rock song of all time by VH1. Let me just say, some of us listening to the song care not of its lyrical meaning, it's about the melding of voice, instruments & energy that catapults us to a really good place every time we hear it. And *who* doesn't love to sing along with the attitude-filled last line every time they hear it, "Meet the new boss!-!Same as the old boss!-!"
  • Adrienne from San Francisco, CaWhat a song-- it still sounds as fresh and ferocious as it did when it first came out. When The Who played at Concert for NYC, they stole the show with Behind Blue Eyes, Who Are you, Baba O'Reilly, and Won't Get Fooled Again.

    I don't know how they do it, but those songs, some of which date back to the 70s, can stand on their own today. Brilliant
  • Pat from Albuquerque, NmI read the National Review article and the high praise for "Won't Get Fooled Again." The right doesn't get it any better than the left. The new boss is "same as the old boss." Neither the right nor the left have any new, useful answers. Pete Townshend says the same thing above.
  • Dale from Laguna Niguel, CaIn its May 26, 2006 issue, the conservative National Review magazine published a list of "The 50 greatest conservative rock songs." Won't Get Fooled Again was ranked song number one.


    Apparently a pathetic effort to look cool.

    Townsend responded on his blog as follows:

    "It is not precisely a song that decries revolution -- it suggests that we will indeed fight in the streets -- but that revolution, like all action can have results we cannot predict. Don't expect to see what you expect to see. Expect nothing and you might gain everything.'' Townsend then goes on to explain that the song was simply ''Meant to let politicians and revolutionaries alike know that what lay in the center of my life was not for sale, and could not be co-opted into any obvious cause.''
  • Ross from Leicester, United KingdomI read an interview with Townshend in 1985 where he explained it was written at a time when revolutionary organisations and campaigners were active on the fringes of youth culture and some faction had apparently approached the Who to raise funds to "buy guns"(!!). Townshend was "anti-political" in his view of of the world, seeing some combination of rock music and mysticism as the way forward!
    Like a lot of classic songs it could apply to a lot of situations, but makes most sense in it's original context (ie the upheavals of the late 60s).
    Crass's single "Bloody Revolutions" covered a similar theme in response to orgnisations like the Socialist Workers Party in the late 70s.
  • Cynthia from Scranton, PaChris from Hull, MA: Pete Townshend is a god. If you're going to say mean things about him, at least spell his name right!!
  • Randall from Baton Rouge, LaI agree with a previous poster that The Concert for New York is a fantastic set of 4 songs for The Who. This song is particularly symbolic and powerful in that it was performed in October 2001, when everyone was mad at others for the 9/11 attacks. You can see the crowd go wild when Pete glares at the camera and blasts away on the guitar!
  • Ian from Augusta, MeOk like I said in the I Can See for Miles comments, it sickens to read that there are idiots like Andy who think that all Pete "really does is make a whole lot of noise". I'm sorry but that is bs. This vids prove that Pete is one of the greatest ever: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YWiLExCbWw
  • Jc from Tucson, AzTowenshend has stated that this was his statment against the Hippie movement of the late 60's - early 70's. They were phonies and asked Pete to join them and give up his life and his kids for them and to join their cause. The 'new boss" hippies) is the same as the "old boss". He basically told the counter-culture gang to f*** off and he was going to do things his way and like it.
  • Kiyoto from Vancouver, Canadamy favourite who song of all time. it is just amazing and blows me away. even better is the live version from the kids are alright, the raw power the who represent in that version is just unbelievable. and Andy, Yakima, WA i agree with you that pete townshend is not the greatest guitarist, but he manages to entertain an audience just with his guitar playing, and i think that makes him one of the best guitarist out there.
  • Michael from Oxford, -Howard, you've got a point there. And I'm pretty sure the scream in the studio version is double-tracked. That's why nobody's been able to top it. Hah!
  • Howard from Vancouver, BcI was a bit amused to see the remark by Jerry of Roxboro NC; my wife and I were going to school in NC at the time (Durham and Chapel Hill respectively) and attended that same concert in Greensboro. The songs were all from _Who's Next_--I don't *think* that the album had come out yet, so the songs were all new revelations. I remember that Townshend ceremoniously "banished" Moon from the stage for the first part of "Behind Blue Eyes" because the first part of the song required control and Moon wasn't capable of that.

    But anyway, the reason I'm posting this is to respond to the several remarks about "Daltrey's scream" near the end of this song. It's certainly not just Daltrey's any more: when The Who played Vancouver a number of years ago, the entire audience waited for that scream, and when it came, it came from everyone's throat and almost raised the roof of the stadium. Bet it's been the same ever since _Who's Next_ came out.
  • Ashley from Edmonton, AbLove this song
    Lyrical genius
    if i do say so myself
  • John from Manchester, United KingdomDuring the UK fuel protests in 2000 the protesters adopted the song as their anthem, but applied a twist to the song title "You Wont Get Fuelled Again" !!!!
  • Phoebe from Caribou, MeThe lyrics are great! They also have great meaning! (And the banners have all flown, in the last war.) and (We'll be fighting in the street, with out children at our feet.) This song is the best about that generation!
  • Gene from San Diego, CaFunny. Sounds like almost every revolution there has been. The American Revolution, French Revolution, Bolshevik Revolution...great song. Hopefully, we won't get fooled again.
  • Chuck from Woodbury, NjI believe it's more about the energy the WHO created, as well as unsettling for the same old sh-t from our bureaucrats. It's not in the hands of a few voters...many voters, who are individualized.

    The lesson is to stand together, as this fine band did over decades. It almost happened in the early '70's, but nothing close since. We can't make a difference, if we are not heard collectively.

    History speaks for itself, so wake-up free world! Show your displeasure by voting out those a-holes you complain about daily, rather than your long-held party allegiance!

    They sure are the ones we elected here in NJ...as the true middle-class sinks into the oblivion of their elected officials paychecks and special interests! We won't have a "real" word until many elections are held over years, here....

    Meet the new boss! Same as the old boss!!! Feel it in your wallet, at your family's expense? I sure do.


    PS: Towshend is awesome and timeless.
  • Troy from Tamuning, Guam, United StatesSimply put, the greatest song in the history of rock. I saw them perform this as a blues in Frankfurt in 1997 and it totally made sense even as blues. And at The Concert for NYC, the crowds reaction to this song that was 30 years old at the time was amazing. In fact, the Who's performance at The Concert for NYC was the only reason I bought the DVD in the first place.
  • Pete from Worcester, MaThis is the "greatest rock song of all time period
    by the GREATEST live act in rock history. This song will ring in the church at my funeral someday.
  • Michael from OxfordDo it like him more than once in their entire lives, you mean...
  • Joe from ??, KyTo answer your question, Michael from Oxford, I would say you define the "best" scream the same as you would the "best" song or guitar solo, or something like that. However, I think that Bruce Dickinson's scream after the beginning of "Number of the Beast" by Iron Maiden is the greatest scream of all time. THAT, is a blood-curling scream right there. But I agree with most of you other guys too. Daltrey's scream is pretty amazing. Don't know anybody else who can do it like him.
  • Michael from OxfordNot to disagree or anything, but how do you define "best" scream? Clearly not in terms of most blood-curdling, as this one's definitely nowhere near as scary as, for example, Roger Waters in "Careful with That Axe, Eugene". I'd really like to know...
  • Andy from Yakima, WaOk, more comments. I disagree with the people who say Pete is a great guitarist; he's ok, but most of what he does is simply make a lot of noise. There are many guitarists who are better. Pete is, however, a fantastic songwriter, and the rest of The Who are/were great musicians. Also, for those debating what the song is about, remember that Pete wrote it originally as part of a story. I'm sure Lifehouse itself was supposed to relate to real life in some manner, but I really think the lyrics are mostly related to the plot of Lifehouse. Finally, someone suggested that the synthesizer part came from Meher Baba's biographical information. That's correct... for Baba O'Reilly, not this song.
  • Andy from Yakima, WaThis is the best song ever made. A couple of comments: 1) After listening closely hundreds of times, I still can't predict all of Moonie's cymbal crashes and drum fills 2) I am a Who superfan, have read numerous biographies, seen documentaries, etc., and never have i heard anything indicating the alleged facts about the song / synthesizer representing a revolution. And I suspect the "fact" about Townshend having various politicians in mind was just plain made up by somebody. I strongly second J from Wynnewood's suggestion that these the facts be deleted unless they can be documented. (editor's note - good call, we dug up the source on that one, which now appears in the facts)
  • Jerry from Roxboro, NcI saw The Who in 1975 in Greensboro. I'm still going to concerts and I've yet to see any concert by anyone that beats The Who circa: 1975. I don't remember them doing an encore, but there was no way that they could have come back out and done anything to top what they had just done. Everyone in the coliseum lept to their feet and screamed when Daltry did his famous Yeeeeeeeeeeah!. It made me want to cry. I was so pumped when I walked out that night, that I thought I'd never sleep again. To this day, I consider it to be one of life's top ten greatest moments. Townsend is probably the most underrated guitarists of all time. He never gets the credit that he so rightly deserves.
  • Scott from Boston, MaI love how it has the lesser scream 4:29 in to get you ready for the big one. I played for this for one of my friends who had never heard it and told him Daltrey's scream was the single greatest moment in any rock song ever. He heard the first scream and was like "That's it." I told him "just wait." Needless to say he was amazed.
  • Melanie from Seattle, WaYYYYEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!! ...and that's just about all that needs to be said. this song is perfection.
  • Lynn from Milwaukee, WiThis may sound political, although I'm not really that way, however think about the war in Iraq. Think about how the people there must feel when someone else seems to be in control and how it does and does not affect their life. The pointlessness of it all in some respects. So much of this song seems to apply to it if you really think about it. It's amazing that so long ago this was written, but how so much of it is relative and one can apply to the situation there now, so many years later. I guess the foresight of revolution and war is timeless in some respects and was captured so eloquently in this song. This song made sense then, and now and will probably forever.

    Lynn, Milwaukee, Wi
  • Mike from Pembroke Pines, FlWGFA is an epic song.I can say with confidence
    that I know no other song that I can literally
    listen to over and over again in infinity and
    never ever grow tired of.It's the ultimate
    quintessential rock n' roll anthem for generations to come.

    Pete Townshend once said:

    "rock n roll won?t solve your problems, but it allows you to dance all over them".
  • Veddie Edder from Seattle (coincidence)This song seems to be explaining what went on in Orwell's 'Animal Farm'.
  • J from Wynnewood, Pato moderators: recommend that the first two "facts" -- and the later one about Townshend having various politicians in mind -- be deleted. They are not facts, but opinions (unless you cn document them). I have never seen ,heard, or read any commnts from the band that uppot the first two, and the third -- even if true, not very informative, surprising, or interesting.
  • Reg from Kemptville, OnThis one song changed my musical tastes. It actually lead me to a life-long love of Progressive Rock. Although only 13 at the time of the release of "Who's Next", I had already been listening to rock/pop for 5 years. Suddenly I realized that rock and roll could be really serious music (as compared to the'bubble gum' I had been exposed to on the radio.)
  • J from Wynnewood, PaJust finishing watching the "Classic Albums" DVD about the origins and creation of Who's Next. There was a discussion over on the Baba O'Reilly page about what constitutes "facts" when talking about meanings and origins. Well, this DVD provides *the* facts, as far as they're available: Townshend, Daltrey, Entwistle, and members of their management, production, etc. team from the recording sessions all talk at length about the making of the songs. Here is what Townshend, live on camera, says about Won't Get Fooled Again (transcribed as accurately as I can do it); where I've enclosed a word in asterisks, Pete laid HEAVY emphasis on that word: "Won't Get Fooled Again was not a defiant statement it was a *plea*, it was a plea, y'know, please, don't y'know in this story *please* don't feel that because you've come to this concert, because you've come to this place that you've got an answer. Please don't make *me* on the stage the new boss. y'know cause I'm just the same as the guy who was up here before. y'know *you're* in charge." One can quibble about what the Pete Townshend of 1971 really meant vs. what the Pete Townshend of 1999 thinks he remembers that he meant, but it's moot: you can interpret it any way you want, but this is as authoritative an explication as it's possible to get without access to a time machine. :-)
  • J from Wynnewood, PaA couple of quick comments. First, if you were The Who, and you had to pick one or two songs to play at a big public event, would they be "Boris the Spider" and an old blues cover -- or two songs that are going to have 200,000 people screaming out "It's only teenage wasteland!" and "We won't get fooled again!" in unison? Hmm... tough decision. Second, someone mentioned "The Kids Are Alright"; if you have _any_ interest in The Who, you must get the new DVD release, if only for the incredible live performances of Baba and WGFA -- it's a goldmine, but Townshend is on a different plane for these two songs.
  • Skip from Brampton, CanadaBest song of all time, by the best band of all time! Love live The Who!
  • Steve from Cincinnati, OhThe single best song in rock history, period. I once did my best scream along with Daltrey while I was driving, and it took me about 30 minutes to recover. Considered driving to the ER, but embarrassment stopped me. I still wonder if I had a mini-stroke.
  • Bryan from New York, NyTownshend performs an exceptional acoustic performance of this song on the Who's Next DVD. He's the only man who can make acoustic guitar and vocals rock that much, check it out.
  • Jack from Riverside, CaWho said Jimmy Page worked on this?

    He didn't. Only time he worked with The Who was the first album.
  • Shannan from Wilmington, DeI love this song. I love the scream at the begining too. Wow!! Roger has a great scream. I love the Who.
  • Max from New Brunswick, NjThis is one of my favorite rock screams of all time, Daltrey has got some lungs on him!
  • Ben from Indianapolis, United StatesIt is THE rock anthem
  • Joe from Bellingham, Wamy favorite band of all time. the who are gods of rock and roll
  • John from London, United StatesThis was released in 1971, not 1968 -the year of political agitation.
  • Nick from Pittsburgh, PaDaltry is such a beast in this song. His scream at the end is absolutely insane!
  • Mark from Mchenry, IlI don't know how my post turned up 3 times. Each time I opened this window to see if anyone had added a comment after me, there was another copy of my post showing up. Hopefully, it will stop.
  • Mark from Mchenry, IlAugust 4, 1976, I saw The Who in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida. Surprisingly, there were only 18,000 people there, but that meant it was pretty easy to get fairly close to the stage, which I did. When they launched into this song, which was THE anthem, in my mind, I and everyone else went nuts. I could not believe I was watching The Who perform this song about 40 feet away from me. It was as good as anything I've ever seen in concert. Pete leaping all over the stage and doing the windmill, Roger doing his own windmill with the microphone cord, Keith beating the daylights out of the drums, and John standing stoically and laying down some awesome bass lines. At one point in the concert, Keith Moon stood up on his bass drum and said, "Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Tommy." They then proceeded to play a large number of selections from that album. What a show! And what a great, great song this is. In my opinion, it is flawless.
  • Sondra from Burbank, CaFor the person who said every band sells out: Have you ever heard of the Beatles? Or even Pink Floyd? Some bands DO still have some integrity.

    But the Who are different. They never took themselves too seriously. To me it doesn't seem like a sell out because they were never above that kind of stuff to begin with. So they're not hypocrites. Bob Dylan on the other hand. It makes me cringe everytime I hear that Kaiserpermanente Blowin' in the Wind commercial. That's just wrong.
  • Jeeves from Dc, Dcevery band sells out some song(s) but why this. like how zeppelin sold out rock and roll to caddilac. at least theyre not like kiss
  • Bryan from New York, NyThis is the most exciting song ever. You can use it to get pumped up, but The Who uses it to close their concerts, and it's a great ending. Definitely their song with the most talent, but beat out by Baba O'Riley's pure magical sound.
  • Paul from Muskegon, MiJimmy Page actually helped Pete Townshend with the guitar riffs on this song.
  • Colin from New Egypt, NjThis song was used when the Idianapolis Colts took the field in Super Bowl XLI.

    J.T. Snow uses this song when he pitches

    This is used at Yankee Stadium in the first inning
  • Colin from New Egypt, Nj8 minutes and 30 seconds that define rock. Thee best song ever. Powerfull drumming by Keith Moon,Explosive guitar by Pete Townshend,Moving vocals by Roger Daltrey and Quiet but awesome bass performance by John Entwhistle
  • Ray from Stockton, Njthis has to be the Who's greatest contribution to rock. I mean this is a great song. Great lyrics(revolution) and great guitar and drums. Keith Moon and Pete Townshend are the best.
  • Dave from Redditch Worcs, EnglandWhen i hear the intro,it just sends shivers down my spine,Pete Townshend is a legend on the guitar. ....DAVE....WORCS....U.K.
  • George from Okieland, OkThe only other Who song that could be called "comparitive" would be "Magic Bus". I say this for popularity reasons too.
  • Susan from Npr, FlMy favorite part of this song is during the long synthesizer piece right when Keith Moon starts coming in with the drums, and they play back and forth. I also like the very end of it. Love the way Keith Moon played drums! It's amazing to watch old clips of him playing and to realize he did that almost continuously throughout a concert. I've read all about the problems, including how he sometimes had to "remember" how to play like Keith Moon after a year off, but I've never seen or heard anyone like him. Just my opinion, no debate here. I'm in awe of him and just wish his life had turned out better! Everything I like best by The Who inlcuded him playing drums. (I do admire the others, too.)
  • Tony from Saugus, MaI believe as part of the lifehouse project that the synthesizer track was made by taking the attributes of his guru Meher Baba and inputting it into the synthesizer
  • Derek from Sarnia, CanadaRoss: Rolling Stone Magazine's opinion means much less than all of ours...I can't stand their lists...I would rank it much higher...in my opinion Roger Daltry's scream is the best ever in rock
  • Melissa from Fairborn, OhI like the long version the most because the song runs eight minutes and 30 seconds.
  • Alexander from Kiensiflodikov, Icelandgreatest...who...song...ever...no...competition...
  • Fyodor from Denver, CoTownshend later lamented the cautionary aspect of this song, saying that it reflected his conservative family-oriented lifestyle at the time and that he would have preferred the song to be more pro-revolution (or at least more pro-socialism). But then, Townshend always had this irrepressible urge to criticize and denigrate his own work, so who knows?
  • Charles Wallace from Portland, OrThis is often cited as a political song: a classic example of rebellion and rage in rock music.

    Ironic, because "Won't Get Fooled Again" is a deeply anti-politcal song. Perhaps "apolitical" would be more precise. Townshend couldn't be clearer: politics are meaningless posturing, and nothing of substance ever changes.

    You could praise the song for its realism, depicting a world in which the vast majority of people are dominated by a powerful elite: we are all brainwashed ("hypnotised"), and little more free than slaves.

    Or, you could decry its essentially fatalistic, apathetic tone. Human nature--Townshend's narrator says--is that there are always despots, and they rule over us. Positive change isn't possible, so why bother struggling for it?

    The song reflects a rebellious attitude, but it's all on the surface. Does rebellion have any meaning, if not accompanied by action? The narrator grins knowingly at "the change all around", none of which consitutes real change.

    Similarly, his contrary attitude is merely posturing, with nothing real to back it up. His rage is mere posturing, every bit as much as the posturing of so-called revolutionaries.
  • Danny from Sydney, AustraliaThis song performed live is godlike...this song alone is godlike.
  • Chris from Sunnyvale, CaThe Who had hundreds of great songs, but this one really kicks ass.
  • Tom from Dosen't Matter, CtDuring this song in one of the Who's concerts, Keith Moon passed out due to a dose of horse tranquilizers before the concert...after being dragged off stage Roger Daltrey asks "Does anybody here play the drums" and some random 19 year old came up and finished the remaining 3 songs, just thought you might want to know :-)
  • Mark from Lincoln, NeMy favorite Who song, by far. All 4 band members contribute perfectly. Superb chorus hook. Great ending, none other like it. Not bad for a "bunch of ugly geezers".
  • Mark from Virginia Beach, Vaany bigtime Who fan must buy The Kids Are Alright DVD to see the live version of this that a 17 year old kid got them to perform semi-against their will.
  • AnonymousOh, and mentioning Kiss and Van Halen in the same breath as The Who -- somebody's got some problems distinguishing gimmicky crap (K & VH) from real rock.
  • AnonymousIt's clear throughout the song that the singer holds no hope for any revolution ("Smile and grin at the change all around/Pick up my guitar and play/Just like yesterday" -- i.e., nothing has really changed), as is consistent with Townshend's view. I don't know whether Townshend himself suggested the bit about the synthesizer representing a revolution, but you can't take everything a rock musician says about his intentions as gospel. Townshend might have been telling some silly git of a journalist to sod off, the guy wouldn't let go, so Townshend laid this preposterous "interpretation" on him.

    It's one of a few true rock anthems, like "Baba O'Reilly" and "Street Fighting Man" (particularly the version on "Get Yer Ya-Yas Out") -- the rock equivalent of the "St. Crispin's Day" speech in Henry V -- that would make anyone with a pulse run out and storm the barricades.
  • Alan from Louisville, KyThis and "Pinball Wizard" are my two favorite Who songs -- I can't sit still during the intro of either one. In fact, some of my fellow musician buddies refer to WGFA as a "Tommy outtake"....
  • Scott from Riverton, UtVan Halen does an AWESOME rendition of "Won't Get Fooled Again" and in my opinion Sammy Hagar can seriously hold his own for the scream!!!
  • Nathan from Defiance, OhOne of the top five greatest rock songs, in my book. Only Revolution, Satisfaction, Like a Rolling Stone, and Layla could possibly surpass it.
  • John from Tampa, FlPete may not like the song anymore - mostly out of boredom from playing for 30 + years, but Pete knows what the fans want and they want "Won't Get Fooled Again". Just like Richie Blackmore can't stand "Smoke On The Water" but he HAS to play it. Otherwise they'll get forgotten quicker. And these guys know this.
  • Sumner from Paragould, AkRoger Daltrey has an awesome voice.
  • Alfred from Sidmouth, CoBut I like "There's A Doctor" better than this
  • Alfred from Sidmouth, CoRoger's Scream is amazing
  • Scott from Columbus, OhPure and simple... the reason this song remains in the "limelight" is beause it F'ing rocks....it demonstrates all of the bands abilities.
    The drummming in this song is SO damn Phenomenol...and Roger D's voice is WAY up to par when he screams in the end...in fact it could start a revolution (in and of itself) which is probably why Pete T. does not like it.
    I think he always admired Rogers vocal prowess and it caused alot of drama...when in fact Pete was always the dream behind the music ......It's a shame he never seems to see that.
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScI don't get it either. why is the song every time the Who play live at somewhere like Live8 or the concert for new york. whatever though, i guess it's their decition.
  • Chase from Pasadena, CaNissan used several of The Who's songs including this, and "Bargain." Don't forget Hummer (or H2) with "Happy Jack."
  • Bryant from Ottawa, CanadaThis is directed at some of the comments made by "Taylor, Commack, NY"... First of all please spell Townshend and Daltrey right, it's Townshend not Townsend, and Daltrey not Daltry.. Second of all the who is not "Townsend and Daltrey's group", they are in the group, but Entwhistle and Moon (although dead) are as much a part of it as the frontmen Townshend and Daltrey. In fact I would say that Kieth Moon is the main reason the band was so successful. His maniacal drumming is arguably the best in the world (2nd to John Bonham in my opinion) and he filled in the gaps in the music. When a drummer uses as many fills as moon, a steady bass player is needed Entwhisle was the perfect person for this. He is also one of the best (in close competition with the beatle's McCartney, Jonsey of Zeppelin, and Floyd's Waters) My point is the Who is a 4 person band, not a 2 person band.. In fact in my opinion the Who ceased to exist when Moon died in 78.
  • Tim from Dalton, MaI think we get it Rick from Arizona...my favorite part of the song is the chorus
  • Rick Sobotka from Sedona, AzWhen Daltry was recording his legendary screem, the rest of the Who was just outside of the studio. When they heard what Daltry layed down, they thought he was actually being electrocuted!
  • Ross from Independence, MoThis song is #133 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of 500 greatest songs.
  • Taylor from Commack, NyIf Townsend doesn't like this song anymore, then why the hell do The Who play this song like everytime they do a 1 or 2 song performance such as live aid and live 8, also the concert for New York. It's Townsend and Daltry's group, so surely they wouldn't play it so much if Pete doesn't like it.
  • Bob from Kelowna, CanadaSelling out a great rock classic is tragic. This song isn't about the Nissan Maxima amd therefore should not be used as advertising material. If only the misuse of rock n' roll was outlawed...
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScI think it's funny that it's my cousin's favorite song. My cousin Quinten, is 5 years old, and "Won't Get Fooled Again" is his favorite song. So sometimes when I here it, I think of hom. He's a huge Who fan.
  • Mark from Manassas , VaOf course this is subjective, but "Won't Get Fooled Again" is by far the quintessential rock song. The lyrics tell a meaningful story, anger is present through the entire song, and the structure of the music fit the lyrics perfectly. Why this is not played more often on the radio is a mystery to me. It's always a thrill to see footage of the band playing this live, whether it's 1975 or 2002. Check out the live version on The Kids Are Alright DVD. Its a treat.
  • Vincent from St. Davids, EnglandTonshend is a genius! This song is ultimate proof of that!
  • Anthony from Clearwater, FlThis is the greatest rock song of all time, plain and simple!
  • Katie from Gasoline Alley, AustraliaDaltrey's scream rocks my socks! I'm glad that Pete Townshend still sticks by some of his principles.
  • Nick from Denver, CoMoore is the mirror image of Limbaugh. He is just as fake - thank you, Townsend, for not letting your song get sullied by this contrarian-jingoistic film.
  • Harvey from Jackson, Miso..Pete hates this tune now??...Considering the impact on Rock history this track made....who cares??
  • Fintan from Cheltenham, Englandthe live version of the scream (Shepperton Studios, Keith's last appearance :( ) is even better!
  • Shana from Pembroke, CanadaI LOVE the scream in this song...I really like the Who and this song is pretty good, but they have better...
  • David from Waco, TxTownsend got the trademark "windmill" from Keith Richards. In the early days he saw him doing it before a Rolling Stones show and thought he had stolen it. Later he asked him abought it and Richards told him he had had a cramp
  • Peter from Providence, RiWasnt a big fan the first few times i heard it i would even stop the song halfway through...then when i finally listened to the whole song..and heard daultry scream..i was sold..id give my lefy eye to sing like daultry
  • Will from Electric LadylandActually Johnathon, a lot of Democrats really dislike Farenheit also. I don't think its doing much, because it just gave more fuel to the republicans fire, and more fuel to the democrats fire. Lots of fire.
  • Jonathan from Ann Arbor, MiSeriously Cassie, how can you live in Detroit and be a republican? Anyways, this song is the best. It's so uplifting and so rocking. That scream is so... perfect. It makes you want the song to never end. well in the words of The Who, "Long Live Rock."
  • Tyler from Farmington, Miin that simpsons episode, pete tturns his amp to 'whuh-oh!'.
  • Ash from Charleston, WvCassie: bet you haven't seen the movie, though, have ya?
  • Cassie from Detroit, MiThat's a good thing, if i were Townshend i wouldn't want that ass to use my music in his taken-out-of-context-BS either.
  • John from Wilmington, NcPete Townsend refused to allow Michael Moore to use this song in Farenheit 911.
  • Alex from New Orleans, LaWeird Al has an unreleased parody of this called "Won't Eat Prunes Again"
  • Ben from New York, NyGreat song, strong from beginning to end. The guitar solo that starts around the 3:30 and ends in Pete's trademark Windmills is one of my favorites.
  • Tom from Trowbridge, EnglandIt was funny when The Who appeared on The Simpsons. Pete turned his amps up to the max and his playing this caused the wall that Homer had built to fall down.(Homer built the wall to divide the city in 2, in case you haven't seen the episode.)
  • Nicoletta from Bronx, Nyspike lee used this as the ending to "summer of sam" and what a great ending it was.
  • Chris from Hull, MaTownsend needs to lighten the hell up - he's so self righteous.
  • Brian from Paoli, InThis is the theme song to the show CSI Miami. And a true rock classic, very well written song.
  • Josh from Sunbury, PaKISS uses this song before they drop their black curtain in front of their stage.... right at the part where Roger Screams... and the drums kick in....is where they drop the curtain.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Jello BiafraSongwriter Interviews

The former Dead Kennedys frontman on the past, present and future of the band, what music makes us "pliant and stupid," and what he learned from Alice Cooper.

Steven Tyler of AerosmithSongwriter Interviews

Tyler talks about his true love: songwriting. How he identifies the beauty in a melody and turns sorrow into art.

Dr. JohnSongwriter Interviews

The good doctor shares some candid insights on recording with Phil Spector and The Black Keys.

Facebook, Bromance and Email - The First Songs To Use New WordsSong Writing

Do you remember the first time you heard "email" in a song? How about "hater" or "Facebook"? Here are the songs where they first showed up.

History Of RockSong Writing

An interview with Dr. John Covach, music professor at the University of Rochester whose free online courses have become wildly popular.

N.W.A vs. the WorldSong Writing

How the American gangsta rappers made history by getting banned in the UK.