"Penny Lane" by The Beatles
The Beatles Penny Lane
May 12, 2018
The Band Up Cripple Creek
The Band Up on Cripple Creek
May 19, 2018

The Who Substitute

The Who Substitute

Power Pop

Ugh. There has probably been a time when we realized we were somebody’s substitute for another person — and we were not happy about it. “Substitute” was written by written by Who member Peter Townshend. The Who released the single in 1966, and it charted well internationally but not in the U.S. It went to #5 in the UK and Australia, #2 in The Netherlands, #13 in Germany, and #3 in New Zealand. The song was released later on their 1971 Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy album, and that compilation album went to #11 in the U.S. and became a platinum record.

The story is that “Substitute” was inspired by the song “The Tracks of My Tears” by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. There’s a line that says: “Although she may be cute/ She’s just a substitute.” And Townshend’s mind took it from there. The American single had a lyric change. The line “I look all white but my Dad was black” became “I try walking forward but my feet walk back.” Also the track was shortened.

“Substitute” is classified as power pop, which is a form of hard rock with a pop melodic line. There have been numerous covers of the song, including versions by The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, and Blur.

The Who at that time were Peter Townshend (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Keith Moon (drums, percussions), John Entwistle (bass guitar, vocals), and Roger Daltrey (lead vocals). They are considered to be one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century.

Here are the lyrics to “Substitute” by The Who:

You think we look pretty good together
You think my shoes are made of leather

But I’m a substitute for another guy
I look pretty tall but my heels are high
The simple things you see are all complicated
I look pretty young, but I’m just back-dated, yeah

Substitute your lies for fact
I can see right through your plastic mac
I look all white, but my dad was black
My fine looking suit is really made out of sack

I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth
The north side of my town faced east, and the east was facing south
And now you dare to look me in the eye
Those crocodile tears are what you cry
It’s a genuine problem, you won’t try
To work it out at all you just pass it by, pass it by

Substitute me for him
Substitute my coke for gin
Substitute you for my mum
At least I’ll get my washing done

But I’m a substitute for another guy
I look pretty tall but my heels are high
The simple things you see are all complicated
I look pretty young, but I’m just backdated, yeah

I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth
The north side of my town faced east, and the east was facing south
And now you dare to look me in the eye
Those crocodile tears are what you cry
It’s a genuine problem, you won’t try
To work it out at all you just pass it by, pass it by

Substitute me for him
Substitute my coke for gin
Substitute you for my mum
At least I’ll get my washing done

Substitute your lies for fact
I can see right through your plastic mac
I look all white, but my dad was black
My fine-looking suit is really made out of sack

For other songs by The Who: “I Can’t Explain,” “I Can’t Explain,” and “My Generation.”

Check Out The Groove Pad for More 1960s Music

The Pass the Paisley Groove Pad is a resting stop, a place to┬áchill out and listen to the featured song on the┬ástereo. If the mood strikes you, click on the juke box to access and listen to the 50+ free online songs there. The TV has several channels, with selections updated twice a week. Every now and then, Pass the Paisley hosts an all-request of 1960s and 1970s songs for a Be-In at the juke box in the Groove Pad. Keep on truckin’. Hope you enjoyed “Substitute” by The Who.

2 Comments

  1. […] For more songs by The Who:” “I Can’t Explain” and “Substitute.” […]

  2. […] other songs by The Who: “Substitute” and “I Can See For […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *