1001 Songs Challenge #338: Won’t Get Fooled Again (1971)
On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…
The Who – Won’t Get Fooled Again (1971)
We’re leaving the US, dear reader, and returning to the UK and to London to check up on The Who. They have made three prior appearances with My Generation, Substitute and Pinball Wizard in the 1960s. Into 1971 now and The Who’s latest album, Who’s Next, has been released which includes the classic track, Baba O’Riley. However, 1001 Songs has overlooked that track in favour of Won’t Get Fooled Again.
Won’t Get Fooled Again was originally intended as the closing track on a rock opera, Lifehouse, a project which was ultimately abandoned. The Who retained Won’t Get Fooled Again though as their final track. In the piece, the narrator appears to sing about violence and trouble in the streets, revolution is in the air, it’s time for a change. The transition ultimately comes and it is welcomed. The only problem is that the narrator observes not all that much is different under a new hierarchy. He is adamant that the people will not be fooled as they were previously but it sounds like the masses will fall for a new power and that revolution will once again be required.
Won’t Get Fooled Again is an epic track, lasting more than eight minutes. Pete Townshend’s excellent lyrics are there once more while Roger Daltrey reliably belts this one out, and even throws in some impressive screaming at the end. The song is also notable for its use of synthesisers and even throws in a bit of a solo towards the end. The music isn’t as good as Baba O’Riley for me but it’s still one hell of a good track and shows that The Who were not content with playing it safe, they were progressing and trying different things.
Favourite songs so far:
The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)
Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)
The Beach Boys – God Only Knows (1966)
The Doors – The End (1967)
The Beatles – A Day in the Life (1967)
The Kinks – Days (1968)
Derek & The Dominos – Layla (1970)
David Bowie – Life on Mars? (1971)
Rod Stewart – Maggie May (1971)
Led Zeppelin – When the Levee Breaks (1971)