Substitute

Pete Townshend

About Substitute

"Substitute" is a song by the English rock band The Who, written by Pete Townshend. Released in March 1966, the single reached number five in the UK and was later included on the compilation album Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy in 1971. In 2006, Pitchfork ranked "Substitute" at number 91 on the "200 Greatest Songs of the 1960s".


Year:
1987
3:34
152 
#3

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You think we look pretty good together
You think my shoes are made of leather
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
(Substitute) I see right through your plastic Mac
(Substitute) I look all white but my dad was black
(Substitute) My fine-looking suit's 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, just pass it by...pass it by

(Substitute) Me for him
(Substitute) My coke for gin
(Substitute) You for my mum
(Substitute) At least I'll get my washin' done

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

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, just pass it by...pass it by

(Substitute) Me for him
(Substitute) My coke for gin
(Substitute) You for my mum
(Substitute) At least I'll get my washin' done
(Substitute) Your lies for fact
(Substitute) I see right through your plastic Mac
(Substitute) I look all white but my dad was black
(Substitute) My fine-lookin' suit's really made out of sack

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Pete Townshend

Peter Dennis Blandford "Pete" Townshend (born 19 May 1945) is an English rock guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and author, known principally as the guitarist and songwriter for the rock group The Who, as well as for his own solo career. His career with The Who spans more than 40 years, during which time the band grew to be considered one of the most influential bands of the 1960s and 1970s, and, according to Eddie Vedder, "possibly the greatest live band ever." more »

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Written by: Peter Townshend

Lyrics © T.R.O. INC.

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind


10 facts about this song

Origin
"Substitute" is a song by the English rock band 'The Who', written by Pete Townshend, the band's primary songwriter.
Release Info
The song was released in March 1966 initially in the UK.
Unique Release
"Substitute" is one of the songs which was released with different B-sides on its initial release. In the UK, the B-side was "In The City," a track written by Keith Moon and John Entwistle. In the US, the B-side track was "Waltz for a Pig," recorded by The Who's managers.
Lyrics Disputes
A lyric in "Substitute" - "I look all white, but my dad was black" - was altered to "I try going forward but my feet walk back" due to its sensitive racial context during the '60s.
Chart Success
The song reached number 5 in the UK charts and is regularly placed in lists of the greatest rock and roll songs of all time.
Influence
The opening line "you think we look pretty good together" was a not-so-veiled jab at the Rolling Stones, who had a hit with "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction."
Tour Highlight
"Substitute" has remained a staple of The Who's live performances, being played at almost every concert since its release.
Contribution to the British Rock Canon
"Substitute" is often cited as one of the songs that helped establish the aggressive, power-chord driven rock sound that became a defining characteristic of the British Rock Invasion.
Other Versions
The song has been covered by several artists over the years, including The Ramones and Sex Pistols. One of the most famous interpretations is a reggae cover by Jamaican artist Gregory Isaacs.
Legal Controversy
There was a legal dispute over the song's rights. The producer of The Who's early records, Shel Talmy, claimed ownership but after a lengthy legal battle, Pete Townshend was identified as the rightful owner.

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