I Can't Explain (Pete Townshend) Fabulous Music, Ltd.

From the My Generation liner notes by Brian Cady:

 

Produced by Shel Talmy at Pye Studios, London in the second week of November 1964.
Lead guitar: Pete Townshend
Rhythm guitar: Jimmy Page
Piano: Perry Ford Backing
Vocals: The Ivy League (John Carter, Perry Ford, Ken Lewis)

Released in the U.K. as Brunswick 05926 on January 15, 1965 and after an initial dip eventually reaching #8. Released in the U.S. as Decca 31725 on February 13, 1965 where it reached #97 on the Billboard charts, but #57 in Cash Box. The B-side in both countries was "Bald Headed Woman."

"I Can't Explain" is probably the song The Who have most often performed live.

The stereo mix on My Generation: Deluxe Edition is missing the tambourine that is present on the mono version.

From the Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy liner notes by Brian Cady:

"It can't be beat for straightforward Kink copying. There is little to say about how I wrote this. It came out of the top of my head when I was 18 and a half. It seems to be about the frustrations of a young person who is so incoherent and uneducated that he can't state his case to the bourgeois intellectual blah blah blah. Or, of course, it might be about drugs."
--Pete Townshend

Released in the U.K. as Brunswick 05926 on January 15, 1965 and after an initial dip eventually reaching #8.
Released in the U.S. as Decca 31725 on February 13, 1965 where it reached #97 on the Billboard charts, but #57 in Cash Box.
The B-side in both countries was "Bald Headed Woman."

"I Can't Explain" is probably the song The Who have most often performed live.

Track one on My Generation - The Very Best Of The Who. A stereo version is available on My Generation: Deluxe Edition.

From the Live at Leeds liner notes by Chris Charlesworth with additions by Brian Cady:

The Who's first single was an unashamed attempt at copying the riff style of The Kinks, who were also produced by the American expatriate Shel Talmy. This similarity to The Kinks aside, 'I Can't Explain' was still an explosive debut, describing the frustration of being unable to express yourself, not just to the girl of your dreams but, in a broader sense, to the world as a whole.

Perhaps the best testament to 'I Can't Explain' is that throughout their career, The Who almost always opened their live shows with this song, occasionally alternating it with 'Substitute' and during this period, 'Heaven and Hell.' Is there any other band in the entire history of rock whose first single was so good, so timeless, that they could continue to use it as their opening number on stage for 25 years?

The original single, released on January 15, 1965 featured Jimmy Page on second guitar and the Ivy League on backing vocals. Live, Keith would chirp in unless sound engineer Bob Pridden discreetly switched off his vocal mike. It reached #8 in the U.K. charts.

Shel Talmy denies that Jimmy Page played on this, or any other, Who song.

In the U.S. it was released February 13, 1965 and reached #97 in the Billboard charts and #57 in Cash Box.

Other live versions can be found on The Kids Are Alright soundtrack (1965), Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970, Who's Last (1982), The Blues To The Bush (1999) and The Who & Special Guests Live at the Royal Albert Hall video (2000).

Track 2 on the 1995 and 2001 CD's.

Got a feeling inside (Can't explain)
It's a certain kind (Can't explain)
I feel hot and cold (Can't explain)
Yeah, down in my soul, yeah (Can't explain)

I said ... (Can't explain)
I'm feeling good now, yeah, but (Can't explain)

Dizzy in the head and I'm feeling blue
The things you've said, well, maybe they're true
I'm gettin' funny dreams again and again
I know what it means, but

Can't explain
I think it's love
Try to say it to you
When I feel blue

But I can't explain (Can't explain)
Yeah, hear what I'm saying, girl (Can't explain)

Dizzy in the head and I'm feeling bad
The things you've said have got me real mad
I'm gettin' funny dreams again and again
I know what it means but

Can't explain
I think it's love
Try to say it to you
When I feel blue

But I can't explain (Can't explain)
Forgive me one more time, now (Can't explain)

I said I can't explain, yeah
You drive me our ot my mind
Yeah, I'm the worrying kind, babe
I said I can't explain

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