Originally, as told by Pete Townshend, the song "wasn't about Tommy's devotees at all. It was about the rabble in general, how we, myself as part of them, were not going to take fascism, were not going to take dreary, dying politics; were not going to take things the way they were, the way they always had been and that we were keen to change things." In the storyline of Tommy, this song describes Tommy's followers rejecting Tommy's new religion that bans drinking and drugs and centers around pinball. The song reprises the "See Me, Feel Me" and "Listening to You" themes that were seen previously throughout the album.
In addition to being released on the Tommy album, "We're Not Gonna Take It" was released as a single in different forms. In America, it was the B-Side to "I'm Free", another album track. However, in 1970, the "See Me, Feel Me" portion was released as a single, backed with "Overture from Tommy". This version has been included on numerous compilation albums.