Pete Townshend: "Gets everything going with a quick look in at the psychiatrists, at home and even a quick visit to the local vicar. Mental security is unfortunately not obtained."
The demo version has the additional lines, "Rock & Roll's going do me in; do me an evil wrong. Funny how your best friends turn out; it was good for oh so long. I stop myself getting letters and then the people try to turn me back. Publisher wants my memoirs and the limousines are black. Can you see the real me, rock & roll?" On his liner notes to Scoop 3, where the demo appears, Pete says these lines were to have been sung by The Godfather.
The Who's version was released as a single in the U.S. January 12, 1974 with b-side "I'm One." It peaked at #92 in Billboard and #82 in Cash Box. The ending was edited to cut back to an instrumental section prior to the final "Can you see the real mememememe" and faded out which gave it a running time of 3'26. It was also released as a single in France, Belgium and Japan. A live version appears on The Who & Special Guests Live at the Royal Albert Hall video (2000)
I went back to the doctor
To get another shrink.
I sit and tell him about my weekend,
But he never betrays what he thinks.
Can you see the real me, doctor?
I went back to my mother
I said, "I'm crazy ma, help me."
She said, "I know how it feels son,
'Cause it runs in the family."
Can you see the real me, mother?
The cracks between the paving stones
Look like rivers of flowing veins.
Strange people who know me
Peeping from behind every window pane.
The girl I used to love
Lives in this yellow house.
Yesterday she passed me by,
She doesn't want to know me now.
Can you see the real me, can you?
I ended up with the preacher,
Full of lies and hate,
I seemed to scare him a little
So he showed me to the golden gate.
Can you see the real me preacher?
Can you see the real me doctor?
Can you see the real me mother?
Can you see the real me?