This has always been one of my favorites songs, from one of my favorite albums.
I covered the whole record a while ago, but today the song really hit me… I heard it on the radio and knew I had to do it, especially after my buddy Rob said The Who was going to tour Quadrophenia in the New Year!
I know you can make anything into anything… Some of Nostradamus’ writings being a great case in point…
He would say something like “And so the lamb offered itself on the hill…” and some scholar would say “Well of course this means there will be an attack in 2012…”
Yes, I am being facetious. I am sure some of his predictions are accurate, but some are just pulling shit out of thin air… or out of something else…
However, it is perhaps a bit ironic looking at these lyrics now, given the events of the past few days. Maybe I am reading too much into them… Maybe I am not. You decide.
I remember seeing this movie when I was a lad… It was rated R. We snuck in, so excited to see nudity… and the only thing we got was some dude naked in a tub… Sigh… Not what two horny teens were expecting. Ah well. I only came to appreciate the film much later… and of course, the amazing genius of Pete Townshend and The Who.
“I went back to the doctor
To get another shrink.
I sit and tell him about my weekend,
But he never betrays what he thinks.
Can you see the real me, doctor?
I went back to my mother
I said, “I’m crazy ma, help me.”
She said, “I know how it feels son,
‘Cause it runs in the family.”
Can you see the real me, mother?
The cracks between the paving stones
Look like rivers of flowing veins.
Strange people who know me
Peeping from behind every window pane.
The girl I used to love
Lives in this yellow house.
Yesterday she passed me by,
She doesn’t want to know me now.
Can you see the real me, can you?
I ended up with the preacher,
Full of lies and hate,
I seemed to scare him a little
So he showed me to the golden gate.
Can you see the real me preacher?
Can you see the real me doctor?
Can you see the real me mother?
Can you see the real me?”
You can also enjoy the song and the Opening Credits here…
According to Wikipedia:
“The Real Me” is a song written by Pete Townshend on The Who’s second full-scale rock opera, Quadrophenia in 1973. This is the second track on the album. It concerns a boy named Jimmy, a young English Mod with four distinct personalities. The song describes how he angrily deals with several individuals to identify “the real me.”
The song features an impressive bass performance by John Entwistle. According to a 1996 interview with Entwistle by Goldmine Magazine, the bass part was recorded on the first take. Entwistle claimed he was “joking around” when he played the part, but the band loved it and used it in the final version.
Aside from the verses about the psychiatrist, mother and preacher, Townshend’s original demo of the song on his solo album Scoop 3 includes another verse about rock and roll in general. The arrangement of the song is also much slower than what it would end up as in Quadrophenia.
Townshend has always referred to it as “Can You See the Real Me”, rather than the more accepted abbreviated title.”