The Kids Are Alright (song)
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|"The Kids Are Alright"|
Cover of the 1966 Netherlands single
|Single by The Who|
|from the album My Generation|
|The Who singles chronology|
"The Kids Are Alright" was not released as a single until more than six months after it first appeared on the LP, first in the United States, and in the UK the following month. While not a huge hit at the time (reaching number 41 in the UK and number 85 in the US), the song, along with the album's "My Generation", became anthems for the group and the Mod subculture of England in the 1960s. It later became the name of the documentary for the band in 1979. The song was edited for the U.S. single and this version has become much more common than the original full-length U.K. album version. The edit of the song features a substantially shortened instrumental break. A promotional film for the song was shot in Hyde Park in July or August of 1966. In addition to appearing on My Generation, the beginning of the song can be heard on Quadrophenia, after the song "Helpless Dancer" has faded out.
The song uses a standard I-IV-V chord progression in the key of D while the chorus uses a ii-V-IV-I chord progression.
In present-day live performances, The Who add a long extra section to the end of "The Kids Are Alright", with partly improvised lyrics discussing the lessons learned since the song's composition. A version of this can be heard on Live at the Royal Albert Hall, recorded in 2000, in which Townshend assesses:
"When I wrote this song I was nothing but a kid, trying to work out right and wrong through all the things I did. I was kind of practising with my life. I was kind of taking chances in a marriage with my wife. I took some stuff and I drank some booze. There was almost nothing that I didn't try to use. And somehow I'm alright."
After John Entwistle's death, the extra lyrics occasionally made reference to him, and his love of old red wine, which later inspired their song "Old Red Wine", a tribute to Entwistle.
In 2006, the song was listed at no. 34 in Pitchfork's list of the 200 greatest songs of the 1960s.
The song has been covered by bands such as The Queers, Goldfinger, Eddie and the Hot Rods, Dropkick Murphys, Hi-Standard, Green Day, Pearl Jam, The Raveonettes, and Belle & Sebastian who closed their set with it at the Bowlie Weekender in 1999. In 1995, the band Flatus recorded a version for their album Talk Show Hero. In 2008, Billy Bob Thornton's band The Boxmasters recorded a version of the song as the closing number on the second disc of their album The Boxmasters. The song was also recorded for a covers album by Matthew Sweet and Bangles' vocalist Susanna Hoffs. Keith Moon, the drummer of The Who, also recorded a cover of this song for his solo album Two Sides of the Moon. In 2016, the song was featured in the Nickelodean television show School of Rock.
In popular culture
This song is referenced in the title of the song "The Kids Aren't Alright" by the Offspring, the unrelated Fall Out Boy song of the same title, "The Kids Are Insane" by Urge Overkill, "The Kids Are All Wrong" by Lagwagon, "All the Kids Are Right" by Local H, and "The Kids" by The Parlor Mob, in which the main chorus line is 'No the kids ain't alright', as well as the song "Kids" by Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue. The title of the song was also used the film The Kids Are All Right and for an episode of the US television show Supernatural. It was also punned and featured in The Simpsons episode "The Kids Are All Fight".