The Who

About Overture

"Overture" is a song by English rock band the Who, written by Pete Townshend. The track is one of three instrumental tracks released on Tommy, although it does feature some lyrics towards the end; the other two being "Underture" and "Sparks". On 9 October 1970, the song was released as the B-side of "See Me, Feel Me" – which did not chart – and was titled "Overture from Tommy".


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Captain Walker didn't come home
His unborn child will never know him
Believe him missing with a number of men
Don't expect to see him again

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The Who

The Who are an English rock band formed in 1964 by Roger Daltrey (lead vocals, guitar, harmonica), Pete Townshend (vocals, guitar, keyboards), John Entwistle (vocals, bass) and Keith Moon, (drums, vocals). They became known for energetic live performances which often included instrument destruction. The Who have sold about 100 million records, and have charted 27 top forty singles in the United Kingdom and United States, as well as 17 top ten albums, with 18 Gold, 12 Platinum and 5 Multi-Platinum album awards in the United States alone. more »

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Lyrics © Spirit Music Group, Songtrust Ave

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13 facts about this song

Album Classification
"Overture" is one of the tracks from the epic rock opera, "Tommy". It was completed by Pete Townshend and the band; "The Who" in 1969.
Music Composition
The "Overture," while composed by Pete Townshend, also features the talents of other band members, Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle, and Keith Moon.
Conceptual Structure
Instead of following a typical song structure, "Overture" reflects a piece of classical music, introducing many of the musical themes that would be reprised later in "Tommy".
Notable Lyrics
The opening lines of "Overture," reveal the story's setting- "Captain Walker didn't come home, his unborn child will never know him." It suggests the overarching narrative of a soldier, presumed dead, and his child.
Musical Motifs
One of the most recognizable motifs in the "Overture," it's the melody that will later become "See Me, Feel Me", a significant song revision that occurs several times throughout "Tommy".
Performing Record
"Overture" was performed live by The Who shortly after the completion of their album, "Tommy," creating an immersive experience for the audience.
Sound Elements
One of the distinct characteristics of the "Overture" is the extensive use of the French horn, which was played by the band's bassist, John Entwistle.
Album Success
The album reached number 4 on the UK albums chart and number 2 on the Billboard 200 in the US, making it one of The Who's most commercially successful albums that featured the song "Overture".
Genre Influence
"Overture" and the album "Tommy" played a significant role in shaping the landscape of progressive rock and rock opera and continue to inform those genres to this day.
Critical Acclaim
The "Overture" from "Tommy" is widely admired by music critics for its unconventional structure and musicianship. It’s often mentioned as one of the best examples of a rock opera album.
The song and its concept album were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998, signifying its lasting impact and influence on music history.
Film Adaptation
A film adaptation of Pete Townshend's rock opera "Tommy", which includes the "Overture" was made in 1975, starring notable actors and musicians of the era.
Stage Adaptation
"Tommy" has also been adapted into a successful stage musical, with the "Overture" serving as its opening song, premiered in La Jolla, California in 1992.

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    "Overture Lyrics." Lyrics.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 4 Dec. 2023. <https://www.lyrics.com/lyric-lf/242159/The+Who/Overture>.

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