The Who - Who Are You




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 recognized him and said he would let him go if he could safely walk away.


"Who Are You" was written about meeting Steve Jones and Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols after an awful 13-hour encounter with Allen Klein who, in my personal opinion, is the awesome rock leech-godfather. In one sense the song is more about the demands of new friendship than blood-letting challenge. Roger's aggressive reading of my nihilistic lyric redirected its function by the simple act of singing "Who the fuck are you..." when I had written "Who, who, who are you..." Steve and Paul became real 'mates' of mine in the English sense. We socialized a few times. Got drunk (well, I did) and I have to say to their credit, for a couple of figurehead anarchists, they seemed sincerely concerned about my decaying condition at the time.


— Pete Townshend




However, as explained by Townshend in his autobiography Who I Am, the last verse is about an early incident, that happened on the last North American leg of the 1971 tour: the day before the first concert in Charlotte, North Carolina, Townshend took the opportunity to visit the Meher Spiritual Center—a retreat owned by his guru Meher Baba—in nearby Myrtle Beach.






Lyrics



Who are you? Who, who, who, who?

Who are you? Who, who, who, who?

Who are you? Who, who, who, who?

Who are you? Who, who, who, who?


I woke up in a Soho doorway

A policeman knew my name

He said, "You can go sleep at home tonight

If you can get up and walk away."


I staggered back to the underground

And the breeze blew back my hair

I remember throwin' punches around

And preachin' from my chair


Well, who are you?

(Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)

I really wanna know

(Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)

Tell me, who are you?

(Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)

'Cause I really wanna know

(Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)


I took the tube back out of town

Back to the Rollin' Pin

I felt a little like a dying clown

With a streak of Rin Tin Tin


I stretched back and I hiccuped

And looked back on my busy day

Eleven hours in the Tin Pan

God, there's got to be another way


Well, who are you?

(who are you? Who, who, who, who?)

Oh, who are you?

(Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)

Come on tell me who are you?

(Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)

Alright who the fuck are you?

(Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)


Who are you?


Who are you? Who, who, who, who?

Who are you? Who, who, who, who?

Who are you? Who, who, who, who?

Who are you? Who, who, who, who?


I really wanna know

(Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)

I really wanna know

(Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)

Come on tell me who are you

(Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)

'Cause I really wanna know

(Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)


I know there's a place you walked

Where love falls from the trees

My heart is like a broken cup

I only feel right on my knees


I spit out like a sewer hole

Yet still receive your kiss

How can I measure up to anyone now

After such a love as this?


Well, who are you?

(Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)

Come on tell me who are you

(Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)

Oh, I really wanna know

(Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)

Tell me tell me who are you

(Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)


Come on come on

(Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)

Ah who the fuck are you?

(Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)

Who are you?

(Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)

Oh tell me who are you

(Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)


I really wanna know

Oh, I really wanna know

Come on tell me who are you, you, you, you