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Pictures of Lily

Pictures of Lily

The Who

Song Meaning of Pictures of Lily by The Who

The song opens with the singer bemoaning his inability to fall asleep. He feels better and is able to fall asleep when his father shows him the photos of the song's titular Lily. He soon starts to feel more in love with Lily in person than in a picture and wants his father to introduce them. But "Lily" has actually been deceased since 1929, his father tells him. The vocalist bemoans at first, but soon returns to his fantasy.

Townshend cited the song's inspiration—music hall singer and Edward VII mistress Lillie Langtry—in his 2012 memoir Who I Am. The song's lyrics say that she passed away in 1929, which is the same yer the singer passed away.

According to Townshend he has been quoted that the song is about masturbation and how important it is to a young guy.

Lyrics of Pictures of Lily by The Who

I used to wake up in the morning

I used to feel so bad

I got so sick of having sleepless nights

I went and told my dad

He said, "Son, now, here's some little somethings"

And stuck them on my wall

And now my nights ain't quite so lonely

In fact I, I don't feel bad at all

I don't feel bad at all


Pictures of Lily made my life so wonderful

Pictures of Lily helped me sleep at night

Pictures of Lily solved my childhood problems

Pictures of Lily helped me feel alright


Pictures of Lily

Lily, oh Lily

Lily, oh Lily

Pictures of Lily


And then one day, things weren't quite so fine

I fell in love with Lily

I asked my dad where Lily I could find

He said, "Son, now don't be silly

She's been dead since 1929"

Oh, how I cried that night

If only I'd been born in Lily's time

It would have been alright


Pictures of Lily made my life so wonderful

Pictures of Lily helped me sleep at night

For me and Lily are together in my dreams

And I ask you, "Hey mister, have you ever seen


Pictures of Lily?"

Release Date



Pete Townshend


Kit Lambert



More songs from this artist click below:

Other Songs

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