"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. The song is one of The Who's most well known recordings and has been covered by many artists. If pressed to pick a favorite song Roger Daltry said "Behind Blue Eyes" in an interview with Dan Rather. Daltry's dog, Nelly, a pointer, was hit by a car and died on the day it was recorded. He said you can hear the sadness of the dog's passing in his voice.
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. 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.
"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.
"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. 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.
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.
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, 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