W is for... Who Are You?

"Who Are You", composed by Pete Townshend, is the title track on The Who's 1978 release, Who Are You, the last album released before drummer Keith Moon's death in September 1978. The song became one of the band's biggest hits in North America.

Musically, the origins of  "Who Are You" can be traced back to "Meher Baba M4 (Signal Box)", a 1971 synthesizer instrumental track that was later released on Pete Townshend's solo album, Psychoderelict. Early performances of the song were seen in both 1976 and 1977.

The lyrics of "Who Are You" were inspired by an incident Townshend experienced. After going out drinking with Steve Jones and Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols, Townshend was found in a "Soho doorway" by a policeman, who let him go if he could safely walk away.

The album version includes a third verse compared to the much shorter single. Additionally, a "lost verse" mix of the song was released on the 1996 reissue of Who Are You, with a completely different second verse: "I used to check my reflection / Jumping with my cheap guitar / I must have lost my direction, cause I ended up a superstar/ One-nighters in the boardroom/ Petrify the human brain/ You can learn from my mistakes, but you're posing in the glass again".

The song is unusual in that it contains two instances of the "F" word – at 2:16 and 5:43 (at 2:14 and 4:27 in the single edit version) – yet has been played frequently in its entirety on rock radio stations (although, in the wake of the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction and ensuing crackdown by the FCC, this song is now often heard in an edited form, expunging this word and replacing it with "hell"). The expletives, while not clearly enunciated and slightly obscured by Moon's drum fills, are nevertheless quite audible. This led to some controversy when ABC's unedited broadcast of The Who's Live 8 performance retained them. The American single edit changes this to "Who the hell are you?" and can be heard at 1:55. Other versions replaced the phrase with just one of the main choruses, "Tell me, who are you" and "I really want to know".

The son is the theme to the TV show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. An episode - Season 1 Episode 6 - even took its title from the song, and Roger Daltrey guest-starred in season 7 episode "Living Legend".

And with this little bit of background.. here is today's earworm:


 What does tomorrow bring?

Will it be XTC?  The Xcerts?  Xscape?

or maybe "X"?  "Xanadu"?  "X Offender"?

Tune in to find out! 

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