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Behind Blue Eyes (Pete Townshend) Towser Tunes, Inc.; Suolubaf Music; ABKCO Music, Inc.; Careers BMG Music Publishing (BMI)

Played onstage at the Young Vic (and staying in the live set for years) this is the second version recorded at Olympic. Initially considered as a single, it only achieved this aim in the USA later in 1971. [The main song in the Lifehouse film intended for the villain, Jumbo. The origin of the song comes from an event that occurred after The Who's June 9th, 1970 concert in Denver. Pete was tempted by a groupie. He went back to his room alone and wrote a prayer beginning, "if my fist clenches, crack it open..." It was released as a single in the U.S. and Europe. Cash Box has the single entering the U.S. charts on October 30, 1971. It reached #24 there but reached only #34 in the official Billboard charts.

Pete's demo version was later released on his 1983 solo LP Scoop and his 1999 LP Lifehouse Chronicles. Live versions can be found on Who's Next Deluxe Edition (1971), The Who By Numbers 1996 CD (1976), Concerts For The People Of Kampuchea (1979), the 30 Years Of Maximum R&B video (1979), Who's Last (1982), Join Together (1989), The Who/Live featuring the rock opera Tommy video (1989), The Blues To The Bush (1999) and The Who & Special Guests Live at the Royal Albert Hall video (2000).]

 

The original version of 'Behind Blue Eyes' was recorded at the Record Plant on March 17-18, 1971. Al Kooper on organ. [Leslie West added a guitar part to this track that appears only on the bootleg From Lifehouse To Leeds. It was mixed out for both the 1995 Who's Next and 2003 Who's Next Deluxe Edition CD's. Humorous banter that precedes this take on the original From Lifehouse To Leeds bootleg appears on disc three of Thirty Years Of Maximum R&B.]

 

From "The Who By Numbers" linernotes by Brian Cady:

[The Who always had fun "banishing" Keith from the stage for the beginning of this song. At one show, Pete said they had always had a problem doing good harmonies until they found the problem, after which Keith slunk off. He, of course, would sneak back on stage to take up his position at his kit for the last half of the song.]

No one knows what it's like
To be the bad man
To be the sad man
Behind blue eyes

No one knows what it's like
To be hated
To be fated
To telling only lies

But my dreams
They aren't as empty
As my conscience seems to be

I have hours, only lonely
My love is vengeance
That's never free

No one knows what it's like
To feel these feelings
Like I do
And I blame you

No one bites back as hard
On their anger
None of my pain and woe
Can show through

But my dreams
They aren't as empty
As my conscience seems to be

I have hours, only lonely
My love is vengeance
That's never free

When my fist clenches, crack it open
Before I use it and lose my cool
When I smile, tell me some bad news
Before I laugh and act like a fool

If I swallow anything evil
Put your finger down my throat
If I shiver, please give me a blanket
Keep me warm, let me wear your coat

No one knows what it's like
To be the bad man
To be the sad man
Behind blue eyes

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