Pinball Wizard

The Who

About Pinball Wizard

"Pinball Wizard" is a song written by Pete Townshend and performed by the English rock band the Who, and featured on their 1969 rock opera album Tommy. The original recording was released as a single in 1969 and reached No. 4 in the UK charts and No. 19 on the U. S. Billboard Hot 100. The B-side of the "Pinball Wizard" single is an instrumental credited to Keith Moon, titled "Dogs (Part Two)". Despite the title, it has no musical connection to the Who's 1968 UK single "Dogs".


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Ever since I was a young boy
I've played the silver ball
From Soho down to Brighton
I must have played them all
But I ain't seen nothing like him
In any amusement hall
That deaf dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pinball!

He stands like a statue
Becomes part of the machine
Feeling all the bumpers
Always playing clean
He plays by intuition
The digit counters fall
That deaf dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pinball!

He's a pinball wizard
There has got to be a twist
A pinball wizard
S'got such a supple wrist

How do you think he does it? I don't know!
What makes him so good?

He ain't got no distractions
Can't hear those buzzers and bells
Don't see lights a flashin'
Plays by sense of smell
Always gets a replay
Never seen him fall
That deaf dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pinball

I thought I was
The Bally table king
But I just handed
My pinball crown to him

Even on my favorite table
He can beat my best
His disciples lead him in
And he just does the rest
He's got crazy flipper fingers
Never seen him fall
That deaf dumb and blind kind
Sure plays a mean pinball!

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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 »

9 fans

Written by: Peter Townshend

Lyrics © Wixen Music Publishing, Spirit Music Group, Abkco Music Inc.

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

12 facts about this song

Song Development
"Pinball Wizard" was written and composed by Pete Townshend, the lead guitarist and one of the founders of the British rock band, The Who.
The song was first released as a single in 1969 and it is a part of the rock opera album called "Tommy".
"Pinball Wizard" was inspired by Townshend's friend and rock critic, Nik Cohn, who was a pinball fan. He wrote the song in an attempt to get a favourable review from Cohn for their "Tommy" album.
Chart Performance
Shortly after its release, "Pinball Wizard" climbed the charts in several countries, reaching the top 5 in the UK and making its way to the top 20 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
Pop Culture Reference
The song became such a popular cultural reference to pinball that it later influenced the creation of the musical "The Who's Tommy", which was eventually transformed into a movie and a pinball machine.
Deaf, Dumb, and Blind Protagonist
The song's lyrics focus on a "deaf, dumb and blind kid" who plays a mean pinball, hinting at the character of Tommy Walker, the protagonist of the rock opera.
Musical Elements
“Pinball Wizard” is famous for its distinctive acoustic guitar intro, played by Townshend himself, which is a popular hallmark of the song.
Despite its initial mixed reviews, "Pinball Wizard" is considered one of the greatest rock songs of all time now, and it remains a staple of The Who’s live shows.
Cover Versions
The song has been covered by many artists, including Elton John, whose version became a top 10 hit in the UK and US in 1975.
The Who's Signature Song
"Pinball Wizard" is considered a signature song of The Who and it has become orthodoxy at radio stations, helping the band gain worldwide acclaim.
Awards and Ranking
The song has made it to various music lists and rankings, including Rolling Stone's list of "500 Greatest Songs of All Time".
Use in Film
Elton John's version of "Pinball Wizard" features in the 1975 film "Tommy", based on The Who's rock opera, where John makes a cameo as a pinball champion, using oversized boots to reach the game's controls.

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    Pinball Wizard

    65,877     1,795

    Top Hot 100 Songs 1969

    Billboard #19



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