In the great pantheon of rock ‘n’ roll, The Who has always stood out as a group I never quite “got.” They have all the elements of a band I should be a big fan of – gritty lead singer, tasteful guitar player, monster bass player, and go-for-broke drummer – but something about their music never connected with me. Maybe it’s because the arrangements would occasionally jerk around abruptly or production just wasn’t as good back then. I think a larger issue, though, is I just couldn’t put up with Pete Townshend whining all the time.
Occasionally, however, he would come across a lyric I could identify with, even if the execution was never quite there. One of those instances occurred in the song “Behind Blue Eyes.” Some great lyrics, but the song shifts awkwardly in the middle section and sort of pulls me out of what’s going on. Thankfully, though, several years down the road another group would give the song a new and unexpected new life – well, for me anyway.
I am a lover of all things Irish. Heck, with a last name like “Sheridan” it’s practically a requirement. Traveling to Ireland one day is currently at the top of my bucket list, and I seem to add new reasons to want to go every day. The music from there does something to my soul whenever I hear it, and you can’t listen to Irish music for very long without running across The Chieftains. On their 1992 project An Irish Evening, the group is joined by Roger Daltrey for a live version of “Behind Blue Eyes” that is, in my opinion, superior to the original version.
Since this is “bad guy” week here on the blog, I thought this song was particularly fitting, since it basically talks about, well, being a bad guy. And since I never pass up a chance to share an Irish song, here’s a link featuring The Chieftains, Roger Daltrey, and a very young Jay Leno. As Sean O”Casey once said, “All the world’s a stage, most of us are desperately unrehearsed.”