Baba O'Riley Introduction
The mass confusion starts with the title, and from there it only gets worse. Some say the song is about Vietnam, others say Woodstock, and, of course, many are sure it's about drugs. After all, isn't every song from this era about Vietnam, hippies, or drugs?
Maybe it would be nice (if a bit boring) if things were that simple. Instead, "Baba O"Riley" is a complicated song shaped by the equally complicated spiritual and musical path Who leader Pete Townshend was wandering by 1970. Don't worry: The power chords are still there. The Who is still The Who. Windmilling Pete Townshend is still windmilling Pete Townshend. He was never about to abandon his rock and roll roots. Still, by 1970 he wasn't quite the same guy he had been in 1965, when he penned "My Generation."
That means we can only really understand "Teenage Wasteland" – er, "Baba O'Riley" – by looking at how Pete Townshend changed between 1965 and 1970. Then we can turn to the real questions. Like, who is Baba O'Riley? What does he have to do with some girl named Sally? And where exactly is this teenage wasteland?
About the Song
|Artist||The Who||Musician(s)||Roger Daltrey (vocals), Pete Townshend (vocals, synthesizer, piano, guitar), John Entwhistle (bass), Keith Moon (drums), Dave Arbus (violin)|
|Producer(s)||The Who, Glyn Johns|
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This song was also meant to be just a small part of a dystopian rock opera. In the fictional world Townshend imagined, people are forced to live life through "experience suits" and are stuck drifting away from their own humanity. This scary world in which people aren't in control of their own lives is, of course, reminiscent of George Orwell's 1984 and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, and a whole bunch of other dystopian literature.
But "Baba O'Riley" probably has a catchier beat.