* Audio file gathered from BigGreenC's personal music library
Substitute - The Who (4/4)
Introduction: D A G D (4 times) D G D D You think we look pretty good together D G D D You think my shoes are made of leather Em Em But I'm a substitute for another guy Em Em I look pretty tall but my heels are high Em Em The simple things you see are all complicated Em Em A A I look pretty young but I'm just back-dated yeah D A G D Substitute lies for fact D A G D I can see right through your plastic mac D A G D I look all white, but my dad was black D A G D(hold) My fine-looking suit is really made out of sack I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth The north side of my house faced east and the east was facing south 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 you just pass it by, pass it by Substitute me for him Substitute my coke for gin Substitute you for my mum At least I'll get my washing done But 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 Break: D A G D (4 times) I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth North side of my town faced east and the east was facing south And now you dare to look me in the eye But crocodile tears are what you cry If 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 At least I'll get my washing done Substitute lies for fact I can see right through your plastic mac I look all white but my dad was black My fine looking suit's really made out of sack
The concept for the song was supposedly originally inspired by Townshend’s idea that The Who were a 'substitute' for The Rolling Stones (Townshend had been particularly impressed by The Stones' hit "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and was determined to come up with a memorable riff in response), though it was later described as a comment about the blurring between image and reality.
The title was also inspired by Townshend's admiration of The Miracles' 1965 song, "The Tracks of My Tears", in particular, writer Smokey Robinson's use of the word "substitute" in one of the verses: “Although she may be cute / She’s just a substitute / Because you’re the permanent one.”
The song is notable not just for the lyrics, but also John Entwistle's bass riff (reportedly Entwistle turned his bass as high as possible for the recording, without the band's knowledge). A closer inspection of this riff, which occurs in the middle instrumental part of the song, reveals a strong similarity between it and Paul McCartney's bass line in "I Saw Her Standing There", both rhythmically and harmonically.
In an appearance on BBC Radio, Townshend stated that "Substitute" simply "was about nothing" and it "had no hidden meaning".
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