Working Music: The Who

January 27, 2009 § Leave a comment

Nothing can get me going better than the first minute of Baba O’Riley by The Who. Written by Pete Townshend, I think this song is the quintessential The Who song, and there’s plenty to choose from!

Check out the story behind the song’s interesting backtrack after the cut!

Townshend became a discple of Indian spiritualist Meher Baba in the late 1968’s and based their album Tommy on his teachings. Below is a snippet from the Wikipedia entry of Baba O’Riley:

The song’s iconic backing track was derived from deep within the Lifehouse concept. Townshend wanted to input the life information of Meher Baba into a synthesizer, which would then generate music based on that information. That music would have been the backing track for “Baba O’Riley,” but in the end, the frenetic sequence was played by Townshend on a Lowrey Berkshire Deluxe TBO-1 organ using its marimba repeat feature.[2] This modal approach used for the synthesizer track was inspired by the work of minimalist composer Terry Riley. The names of Riley and Meher Baba were incorporated into the song title as a tribute by Townshend. Although they never actually did it in concert, The Who considered pulling a person from the audience and programming their vital statistics into a synthesizer that would, in effect, translate that person into a musical theme around which a song could be built (an idea later resurrected as the Lifehouse Method).

Pretty cool idea. plugging the “life information” of a person into a synthesizer and getting a song out of it. Nevertheless, its a great song from a great band!


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