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My Generation
Song

My Generation

The Who
Album:
My Generation

Song Meaning and Background of My Generation by The Who


My Generation” was not intended as a youth-mutiny anthem at first.


The song reflected the young Pete Townshend’s fears about adult life. “‘My Generation’ was very much about trying to find a place in society,” he told Rolling Stone in 1987.


“I was very, very lost. The band was young then. It was believed that its career would be incredibly brief.”

The recording session that created it was so intense that bassist John Entwistle had to buy three new base guitars to finish the recording because he kept breaking strings and couldn’t find replacements.


"My Generation" is a song by the English rock band the Who, which became a hit and one of their most recognizable songs.


The song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for "historical, artistic and significant" value.


Townshend reportedly wrote the song on a train and is said to have been inspired by the Queen Mother, who is alleged to have had Townshend's 1935 Packard hearse towed off a street in Belgravia because she was offended by the sight of it during her daily drive through the neighbourhood.


Townshend has also credited Mose Allison's "Young Man Blues" as the inspiration for the song, saying "Without Mose I wouldn't have written 'My Generation'.


On a later interview for Good Morning America, in 1989, the band was discussing the upcoming 1989 tour to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Tommy, and Townshend talked about the famous line "I hope I die before I get old." He said that, for him, when he wrote the lyrics, "old" meant "very rich". And it is one of the most quoted lines in rock history.


The vocal melody of "My Generation" is an example of the shout-and-fall modal frame.


This call and response is mirrored in the instrumental break with solo emphasis passing from Townshend's guitar to Entwistle's bass and back again several times.


Roger Daltrey's famous lyrical approach in "My Generation" was inspired by bluesman John Lee Hooker

Another salient aspect of "My Generation" is Daltrey's delivery: an angry and frustrated stutter.


Various stories exist as to the reason for this distinct delivery. Inspired by John Lee Hooker's "Stuttering Blues", Townshend reworked the song into its present form.


Another reason is that it was suggested to Daltrey that he stutter to sound like a British mod on speed (amphetamines).


However, producer Shel Talmy insisted it was simply "one of those happy accidents" that he thought they should keep.


Roger Daltrey has also commented that he had not rehearsed the song prior to the recording, was nervous, and he was unable to hear his own voice through the monitors.


The stutter came about as he tried to fit the lyrics to the music, and Talmy decided it worked well enough to keep.


The BBC initially refused to play "My Generation" because it did not want to offend people who stutter, but it reversed its decision after the song became more popular.


Significantly, "My Generation" also featured one of the first bass solos in rock history.


Lyrics of My Generation of The Who

 

People try to put us d-down (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

Just because we get around (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

Things they do look awful c-c-cold (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

I hope I die before I get old (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

This is my generation

This is my generation, baby

 

Why don't you all f-fade away (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

And don't try to dig what we all s-s-say (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

I'm not trying to cause a big s-s-sensation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

I'm just talkin' 'bout my g-g-g-generation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

This is my generation

This is my generation, baby

 

My, my, my generation

 

Why don't you all f-fade away (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

And don't try to d-dig what we all s-s-say (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

I'm not trying to cause a big sensation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

I'm just talkin' 'bout my g-generation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

This is my generation

This is my generation, baby

 

My, my, my generation

My, my, my generation

 

People try to put us d-down (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

Just because we g-g-get around (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

Things they do look awful c-c-cold (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

I hope I die before I get old (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

This is my generation

This is my generation, baby

 

My, my, my generation

 

(Talkin' 'bout my generation)

(Talkin' 'bout my generation) My generation

(Talkin' 'bout my generation) My generation

(Talkin' 'bout my generation) This is my generation, baby

(Talkin' 'bout my generation) This is my generation

(Talkin' 'bout my generation) This is my generation

(Talkin' 'bout my generation) This is my generation

(Talkin' 'bout my generation) This is my generation

Release Date

1965

Songwriter/s

Pete Townshend

Producer/s

Shel Talmy

Label/s

Brunswick (UK), Decca (USA)

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