Behind Blue Eyes

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"Behind Blue Eyes"
Single by The Who
from the album Who's Next
B-side "Going Mobile"
Released 6 November 1971
Format 7"
Recorded 8 July 1971[1] at Olympic Studios in London, England
Genre Rock
Length

3:42 (album version)

3:27 (original version)
Label Decca, MCA, Track, Polydor
Writer(s) Pete Townshend
Producer(s) The Who, Glyn Johns
The Who singles chronology
"Let's See Action"
(1971)
"Behind Blue Eyes" / "Going Mobile"
(1971)
"Join Together"
(1972)
Who's Next track listing
  1. "Baba O'Riley"
  2. "Bargain"
  3. "Love Ain't for Keeping"
  4. "My Wife"
  5. "The Song Is Over"
  6. "Getting in Tune"
  7. "Going Mobile"
  8. "Behind Blue Eyes"
  9. "Won't Get Fooled Again"

"Behind Blue Eyes" is a song by English rock band The Who. It was released in November 1971 as the second single from their fifth album Who's Next and was originally written by Pete Townshend for his Lifehouse project.[2][3] The song is one of The Who's most well known recordings and has been covered by many artists.

Overview[edit]

The song starts off with a solo voice singing over an arpeggiated acoustic guitar in the key of E Minor, which remains throughout the entire song. A bass guitar and ethereal harmonies are added in later. Eventually, the song breaks out into a full-scale rock anthem when a second theme is introduced near the end - but it ultimately wraps up with a brief reprise of the quieter first theme. Songs written in alternating sections were something of a trademark of Townshend's writing of the period, going back at least to Tommy, where it was used in "Christmas" and "Go to the Mirror!" The guitar riff at the end of the rock anthem section is also used after the bridge during the song "Won't Get Fooled Again", perhaps serving as a link between the two songs when both were intended to be parts of a single rock opera. (There is similar thematic recapitulation in Tommy and Quadrophenia.)

The version of "Behind Blue Eyes" on the original Who's Next album was the second version the band recorded; the first version was recorded at the Record Plant in New York on 18 March 1971 and features Al Kooper on Hammond Organ.[4] The first version was released as a bonus track on the 1995 CD reissue of Who's Next.

Pete Townshend has also recorded two solo versions of the song. One, the original demo of the song, was featured on the Scoop album. The demo along with a newer recording of the song featuring an orchestral backing was featured in The Lifehouse Chronicles.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1971) Peak
position
France (SNEP)[5] 147
US Billboard Hot 100[6] 34

Lifehouse story[edit]

"Behind Blue Eyes" is sung from the point of view of the main villain of Lifehouse, Jumbo. The lyrics are a first-person lament from Jumbo, who is always angry and full of angst because of all the pressure and temptation that surrounds him, and the song was intended to be his "theme song" had the project been successful.

Personnel[edit]

In the media[edit]

Covers[edit]

Limp Bizkit cover[edit]

"Behind Blue Eyes"
Single by Limp Bizkit
from the album Results May Vary
Released 28 November 2003
Recorded 2002
Genre Alternative rock
Length 4:28 (without hidden track), 6:05 (with hidden track)
Label Flip, Interscope
Writer(s) Pete Townshend
Producer(s) Rick Rubin
Limp Bizkit singles chronology
"Eat You Alive"
(2003)
"Behind Blue Eyes"
(2003)
"Home Sweet Home/Bittersweet Symphony"
(2005)

"Behind Blue Eyes" was covered by American nu metal group Limp Bizkit. It was released in November 2003 as a single from their album Results May Vary. Limp Bizkit's arrangement is notable for featuring a Speak & Spell during the bridge.[8] The song is followed by a hidden track titled "All That Easy", after a few seconds of silence, so the total length is 6:05. However, the hidden track is not featured in the single release.

Allmusic writer Stephen Thomas Erlewine panned the cover, calling it "boneheaded".[8]

The music video features Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry. It contains scenes from the motion picture, Gothika, in which Berry stars. It depicts Berry and Durst in a relationship similar to the storyline of the film. Upon release, the video received positive reviews from critics,[who?] with many complimenting its interpolation of the film's theme.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2003–2004) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[9] 4
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[10] 3
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[11] 13
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[12] 16
Denmark (Tracklisten)[13] 2
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[14] 1
France (SNEP)[15] 17
Germany (Media Control Charts)[16] 2
Ireland (IRMA)[17] 26
Italy (FIMI)[18] 28
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[19] 4
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[20] 5
Norway (VG-lista)[21] 2
Poland (ZPAV)[22] 3
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[23] 1
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[24] 1
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[25] 5
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[26] 18
US Billboard Hot 100[27] 71
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[28] 18
US Mainstream Rock Tracks (Billboard) 11
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[29] 25

Year-end[edit]

End of year chart (2004) Position
German Singles Chart[30] 15

Other covers[edit]

"Behind Blue Eyes" has also been covered by numerous other artists, including Bryan Adams, Sheryl Crow, Stratovarius, Elf, Testudo, Ian Stuart Donaldson, Jon English, Pearl Jam, Suzanne Vega, Vanessa Petruo, Silvertide, The Chieftains (some live and recorded versions featuring Roger Daltrey), Skrewdriver, Unknown Hinson, Beat Pitcherz, and Lights.

  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer the song had been performed by character Rupert Giles (played by Anthony Stewart Head) in the episode "Where the Wild Things Are".
  • Austrian rapper Chakuza and German rapper Bizzy Montana, sampled the song on their free track "Behind Blue Eyes".[31] It's not known if they had sampled The Who's original version or Limp Bizkit's version.
  • Crosby, Stills & Nash do a cover of "Behind Blue Eyes" during live performances, calling it "a song we wish we had written".
  • Timo Kotipelto and Jani Liimatainen made a version of the song during live performances and later in their studio album Blackoustic.
  • Within Temptation made a cover of the song for the Belgian radio station Q music during their special 15 year anniversary program Within Temptation Friday,[32] where the band choose some songs to cover not related to their style of music. The song was then included on their cover album The Q-Music Sessions, released in April 2013.
  • The band Spiritual Sin recorded a version of the theme in 2013 for his first album called Downstream, was recorded in an unconventional way, most of the subject in a Magnetophone was recorded giving the song a Vintage Sound

References[edit]

  1. ^ 20th Century Masters-The Best of The Who: The Millennium Collection Liner Notes
  2. ^ "Behind Blue Eyes : The Who". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  3. ^ "The Streets lead Ivor nominations". BBC News. 2005-04-11. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  4. ^ Who's Next - 1995 Remastered Edition CD Booklet Page 23
  5. ^ "Lescharts.com – The Who – Behind Blue Eyes" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  6. ^ "The Who Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for The Who. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  7. ^ TV.com
  8. ^ a b http://www.allmusic.com/album/results-may-vary-r657916/review
  9. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Limp Bizkit – Behind Blue Eyes". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  10. ^ "Limp Bizkit – Behind Blue Eyes – Austriancharts.at" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  11. ^ "Ultratop.be – Limp Bizkit – Behind Blue Eyes" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  12. ^ "Ultratop.be – Limp Bizkit – Behind Blue Eyes" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  13. ^ "Danishcharts.com – Limp Bizkit – Behind Blue Eyes". Tracklisten. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  14. ^ "Polish Singles Chart |". 
  15. ^ "Lescharts.com – Limp Bizkit – Behind Blue Eyes" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  16. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche – musicline.de" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  17. ^ "Chart Track". Irish Singles Chart.
  18. ^ "Italiancharts.com – Limp Bizkit – Behind Blue Eyes". Top Digital Download.
  19. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Limp Bizkit search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  20. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Limp Bizkit – Behind Blue Eyes". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  21. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Limp Bizkit – Behind Blue Eyes". VG-lista. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  22. ^ "Polish Singles Chart |". 
  23. ^ "Polish Singles Chart |". 
  24. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Limp Bizkit – Behind Blue Eyes". Singles Top 60. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  25. ^ "Limp Bizkit – Behind Blue Eyes – swisscharts.com". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  26. ^ "Archive Chart" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  27. ^ "Limp Bizkit Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for Limp Bizkit. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  28. ^ "Limp Bizkit Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Alternative Songs for Limp Bizkit. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  29. ^ "Limp Bizkit Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Pop Songs for Limp Bizkit. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  30. ^ http://www.mtv.de/charts/Single_Jahrescharts_2004
  31. ^ http://www.megajoin.com/search.php?q=Behind+Blue+Eyes+remix+Chakuza&type=video
  32. ^ http://www.within-temptation.com/qcovers/