In a Nutshell
Pete Townshend was only twenty years old when he wrote "My Generation." Almost fifty years later, the song and its most famous line—"I hope I die before I get old"—is still played and still covered. It's easy to understand why: the song is as simple, musically and lyrically, as it is powerful.
But there's something a bit strange about a song that celebrates the young and denounces the old surviving this long – almost half a century. And there's more than a little irony in young musicians paying tribute to the song's now 65-year old writer, Pete Townshend, by repeating his most famous line.
"My Generation" is a great song by great band. But its message and its legacy are worth thinking about.
About the Song
||Musician(s)||Roger Daltrey (lead vocals), Pete Townshend (guitar, back-up vocals), John Entwistle (bass, back-up vocals), Keith Moon (drums)
|Label||Decca (U.S.), Brunswick (U.K.)|
Explore the ways this song connects with the world and with other topics on Shmoop
Pete Townshend may have just been angry with the Queen Mum for towing his car, but the song that grew out of this anger, "My Generation," was enormously influential. During the tumultuous 1960s
, young people in America and Europe embraced the song and its stinging denunciation of age.
The song was also crucial to the evolution of The Who. While the band's rhythm and blues roots
are evident in the song's call and response vocals, the band's shift toward a more stripped down rock and roll
is also apparent.
On the Charts
"My Generation" reached #2 in Britain, and #75 in the U.S.
The song is #11 on Rolling Stone's list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.