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Baba O Riley
Song

Baba O Riley

The Who
Album:
Whos Next

Song Meaning of Baba O'Riley by The Who and what it is about


"Baba O'Riley" is a song by the English rock band the Who, and the opening track to their fifth album Who's Next in 1971.


Roger Daltrey sings most of the song, with Pete Townshend singing the middle eight: "Don't cry/ don't raise your eye/ it's only teenage wasteland".


The song is often incorrectly referred to as "Teenage Wasteland", due to these oft-repeated words in the song's chorus refrain.


"Teenage Wasteland" was in fact a working title for the song in its early incarnations as part of the Lifehouse project, but eventually became the title for a different but related song by Townshend, which is slower and features different lyrics.


Townshend originally wrote "Baba O'Riley" for his Lifehouse project, a rock opera intended as the follow-up to the Who's 1969 opera, Tommy. In Lifehouse, a Scottish farmer named Ray would have sung the song at the beginning as he gathered his wife Sally and his two children to begin their exodus to London. When Lifehouse was scrapped, eight of the songs were salvaged and recorded for the Who's 1971 album Who's Next, with "Baba O'Riley" as the lead-off track.


According to Townshend, at the end of the band's gig at the 1969 Isle of Wight Festival, the field was covered in rubbish left by fans, which inspired the line "teenage wasteland".


In another interview, Townshend stated the song was also inspired by "the absolute desolation of teenagers at Woodstock, where audience members were strung out on acid and 20 people had brain damage. The irony was that some listeners took the song to be a teenage celebration: 'Teenage Wasteland, yes! We're all wasted!'"


The song's title refers to two of Townshend's major inspirations at the time: Meher Baba, and Terry Riley. “Baba O’Riley” is named after Townshend’s guru Meher Baba and composer Terry Riley, whose experimental minimalism is reflected in the opening synthesizer line.


In the United Kingdom and the United States, it was released only as part of the album Who's Next.


Lyrics of the song Baba O'Riley by The Who


Out here in the fields, I fight for my meals

I get my back into my living

I don't need to fight to prove I'm right

I don't need to be forgiven, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

 

Don't cry, don't raise your eye

It's only teenage wasteland

 

Sally, take my hand, we'll travel south 'cross land

Put out the fire and don't look past my shoulder

The exodus is here, the happy ones are near

Let's get together before we get much older

 

Teenage wasteland, it's only teenage wasteland

Teenage wasteland, oh, yeah

Teenage wasteland

They're all wasted

Release Date

1971

Songwriter/s

Pete Townshend

Producer/s

The Who

Label/s

Polydor

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