Bell Boy (song)

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"Bell Boy"
Song by The Who from the album Quadrophenia
Released October 19, 1973
Recorded 1 June 1973 at Olympic Studios and "The Kitchen" in Battersea, London [1]
Genre Rock
Length 4:55
Label MCA
Writer Pete Townshend
Producer The Who, Kit Lambert, Glyn Johns
Quadrophenia track listing
"Drowned"
(13)
"Bell Boy"
(14)
"Doctor Jimmy"
(15)

"Bell Boy" is a song recorded by The Who for the 1973 album Quadrophenia and 1979 movie of the same name. It was never released as a single.

Besides the main lead vocal by frontman Roger Daltrey, the song features vocals by drummer Keith Moon (most of whose relatively few vocals for the band dated from the '60s). Moon mostly talks (or sings) his lines in a cartoonish voice with an exaggerated Cockney accent; however the bridge and the last line are sung in his natural voice. The shouts of "Bell Boy" are the lines of Jimmy from the disgusted realization of what the Ace Face actually was, symbolic of the theme of disillusionment throughout the album.

Lyrically, this is the final straw for Jimmy, having just found out that the Ace-Face he had looked up to as a Mod was now a Bell Boy, working for everyone rather than ruling over everyone at the same Brighton hotel the Mods had smashed up back in 1963 ("I don't suppose you would remember me/But I used to follow you back in '63"). In the short story written by Townshend in the album's libretto/liner notes, it is explained that Jimmy never thought he'd be let down by being a Mod (given everything else had let him down).

The band performed this in 1973 and 1974 as part of their Quadrophenia set. This quickly became a fan favourite because of Moon's comedic vocals, and fans persisted on requesting it even after it was dropped in 1975 until Moon's death. The song was revived for the 1996-1997 Quadrophenia world tour, but with the Ace-Face guest replacing Moon's role. The song was performed once more at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 30 March 2010 at a benefit concert for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Tom Meighan of Kasabian sang Moon's part during the show. At Quadrophenia and More shows and 12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief, it was performed with archival video footage of Keith Moon.

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