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"5:15" redirects here. For the Bridgit Mendler song, see 5:15 (Bridgit Mendler song).
German single sleeve
Single by The Who
from the album Quadrophenia
B-side "Water"
Released 10 May 1973 (single)
5 October 1973 (album)
Format 7" single
Recorded June 1972 & '73
Genre Hard rock, art rock
Length 5:00 (album version)
4:16 (Single mix/edit)
Label Track Records/MCA
Writer(s) Pete Townshend
Producer(s) The Who
The Who UK singles chronology
"Squeeze Box"
Quadrophenia track listing

"5.15" (sometimes written "5:15" or "5'15") is a song written by Pete Townshend of British rock band The Who from their second rock opera, Quadrophenia (1973). The song reached number 20 on the UK Singles Chart,[1] while the 1979 re-release (accompanying the film and soundtrack album) reached number 45 on the Billboard Hot 100.[2]

Although written as "5.15" on the single cover, on the back cover of Quadrophenia (the album from which the song is taken) it is written as "5:15".


The lyrics of "5.15" were written to describe Quadrophenia's protagonist, Jimmy, traveling to Brighton on a train. The song's writer, Pete Townshend, said of the song's lyrics:

His train journey down to Brighton, sandwiched between two city gents is notable for the rather absurd number of purple hearts he consumes in order to wile away the time. He goes through a not entirely pleasant series of ups and downs as he thinks about the gaudier side of life as a teenager that we see in newspapers like the News Of The World. '5:15' was written in Oxford Street and Carnaby Street while I was killing time between appointments. I must try it again sometime, it seems to work![3]

—Pete Townshend

A demo for the song doesn't exist, as the track was written in the studio on the day the song was recorded.[3] The whistle heard on the track was the result of Townshend's driver bribing a British train driver with five pounds to play the train's whistle as it pulled out, despite breaking the station rules.[4]

"5.15" saw single release in Britain and Europe prior to the release of Quadrophenia in May 1973. Backed with the Lifehouse outtake "Water," the single charted at #20 in Britain and #46 in Germany.[4][3] The single was not released in America, where "Love, Reign o'er Me" and "The Real Me" were chosen as singles instead. Roger Daltrey later commented on the song's single release, "Really, it was the only single on Quadrophenia we could have released."[4]


In the song, the main character Jimmy has taken the titular train to Brighton, consumed a lot of drugs, recollecting his life with the Mods, the cultural movement to which he belongs (even if he has dropped out for now), and their duels with the Rockers. Jimmy's memories are extremely disjointed, consisting mainly of anger, confusion, violence, sexual frustration, and rootlessness.

"5.15", like many of the songs from Quadrophenia, is self-referential - "M-m-m-my generation" is a line - and thus represents an angrily self-centered, teenage disconnection with society, family and the opposite sex. 'Jimmy' was "born in the war" (that is, World War II and its aftermath) and does not understand why he should care about it (or anything) in the context of his extravagant Mod values.

Soundtrack version[edit]

US single sleeve
Single by The Who
from the album Quadrophenia
B-side "I'm One"
Released September 1979
Format 7" single
Writer(s) Pete Townshend
Producer(s) The Who
The Who singles chronology
"Long Live Rock"
"You Better You Bet"

In 1979, "5.15," as well as nine other tracks from Quadrophenia were remixed by John Entwistle for the soundtrack album to the film adaptation of the original rock opera.[5] This version of "5.15" was released as a single in September 1979 to promote the album, reaching #45 on the Billboard Hot 100 in America.[4]

Live performances[edit]

Live performances of "5:15" would include, in addition to the Who's four members, a full brass section and a piano. During the Who reunion tour from 1999 to 2002, bassist John Entwistle would play a solo in mid-song, lasting several minutes, only accompanied by drummer Zak Starkey.


The Who

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Who Official Band Website - Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle, and Keith Moon | | 5'15
  2. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p5822/charts-awards/billboard-singles
  3. ^ a b c Cady, Brian. "'Quadrophenia' liner notes". The Hypertext Who. 
  4. ^ a b c d Grantley, Steve; Parker, Alan. The Who by Numbers: The Story of the Who Through Their Music. Helter Skelter. pp. 105–114. 
  5. ^ Grantley, Steve; Parker, Alan. The Who by Numbers: The Story of the Who Through Their Music. Helter Skelter. pp. 182–184.