The Seeker (The Who song)
|Single by The Who|
|B-side||"Here for More"|
|Released||21 March 1970|
|The Who singles chronology|
Around the time of the song's release, Townshend explained its meaning in an interview with Rolling Stone:
Quite loosely, "The Seeker" was just a thing about what I call Divine Desperation, or just Desperation. And what it does to people. It just kind of covers a whole area where the guy's being fantastically tough and ruthlessly nasty and he's being incredibly selfish and he's hurting people, wrecking people's homes, abusing his heroes, he's accusing everyone of doing nothing for him and yet at the same time he's making a fairly valid statement, he's getting nowhere, he's doing nothing and the only thing he really can't be sure of is his death, and that at least dead, he's going to get what he wants. He thinks!
"I suppose I like this least of all the stuff", wrote Townshend the following year. "It suffered from being the first thing we did after Tommy, and also from being recorded a few too many times. We did it once at my home studio, then at IBC where we normally worked then with Kit Lambert producing. Then Kit had a tooth pulled, breaking his jaw, and we did it ourselves. The results are impressive. It sounded great in the mosquito-ridden swamp I made it up in Florida at three in the morning drunk out of my brain with Tom Wright and John Wolff. But that's always where the trouble starts, in the swamp. The alligator turned into an elephant and finally stampeded itself to death on stages around England. I don't think we even got to play it in the States."
This is not entirely true, as the band did perform it for about two weeks on their 1970 American tour. The Who revived the song briefly in 2000 and then extensively starting on the 2006–2007 tour for Endless Wire.
The lyrics name-check several people who had high profiles in contemporary pop culture: musicians Bob Dylan (as "Bobby Dylan") and the Beatles, and advocate of psychedelic drugs Timothy Leary. Townshend was a devotee of the teachings of Meher Baba, a Persian-Indian mystic whose 1966 treatise/pamphlet God in a Pill? famously lambasted drug use as a means of consciousness expansion. Similarly, Townshend was an opponent of drug abuse throughout this period.
Nicky Hopkins plays piano on '"The Seeker".
Released in the UK as Track 604036 on 21 March 1970, "The Seeker" reached number 19 in the charts. Released in the US as Decca 7-32670, it hit the Billboard charts on 11 April 1970, eventually peaking at number 44. The B-side, "Here for More", is one of the few Who songs written by lead singer Roger Daltrey.
- It was covered in 1988 by The Smithereens, as a B-side of their single "Only a Memory". A live version appears on the live CD Smithereens Live (1988).
- It was covered by Fish on the re-release of his 1993 album Songs from the Mirror.
- It appears in the movie American Beauty (1999).
- The song is used in the opening credits of the 1999 American crime film The Limey starring Terence Stamp.
- It was covered by 4 Hr. Ramona on the 2000 album Who Cares: A Tribute to the Who.
- It appears in The Simpsons episode "A Tale of Two Springfields" (5 November 2000).
- It was covered by Zen Guerrilla in 2000 on the 7" Sub Pop single, "The Seeker" b/w "Half Step".
- Canadian rock band Rush included a version of "The Seeker" in their EP Feedback (2004) and again on their live album/DVD R30: 30th Anniversary World Tour (2005).
- It was covered by The Black Crowes on their 2006 tour, featuring guitarist Rich Robinson on lead vocals.
- A cover version appears in the 2007 music rhythm game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock and the master version appears in the core soundtrack for the 2015 music video game Rock Band 4.
- It appears in the opening few minutes of the British detective drama TV series Lewis episode "Whom the Gods Would Destroy" (18 February 2007).
- It was covered by The Raconteurs, featuring Pete, in the Attic Jams, in 2007.
- It appears in the opening credits of Bill Maher's American documentary film Religulous in 2008.
- It appears in the video game Grand Theft Auto IV (2008) on the radio station Liberty Rock Radio.
- It was covered by Guns N' Roses on 7 November 2012 for the first time at their 12 show Las Vegas residency "Appetite for Democracy" and has since become a setlist staple.
- It was covered by Yonder Mountain String Band on 12/30/2012 in Boulder, CO, with guests Nick Forster (electric guitar) and Christian Teele (drums).
- It was covered by Mick Hucknall in 2013 during his tour.
- It was covered once again by Guns N' Roses during their "Not In This Lifetime" tour.
- It appears in the television advertisement for first Choice Holidays 2016. 
- It was used for pro skateboarder Daniel Haney's part in Arcade Skateboards' video, Who? (2002).
- A cover by Spirit Music Group ft. Must Save Jane appeared in the final trailer of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016.
|Chart (1970)||Peak position|
|Canadian RPM Top Singles||21|
|UK Singles Chart||19|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||44|
- John Atkins (1 February 2000). The Who on Record: A Critical History, 1963-1998. McFarland. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-7864-4097-9.
- Janovitz, Bill. "The Seeker – Song Review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
- Cott, Jonathan (14 May 1970). "A Talk with Pete Townshend". Rolling Stone. Straight Arrow Publishers, Inc. (58): 33.
- Townshend, Pete (9 December 1971). "Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy: Pete Townshend on 'Tommy'". Rolling Stone. Straight Arrow Publishers, Inc. (97): 72.
- "The Who Concert Setlist at Memorial Auditorium, Dallas on June 19, 1970". setlist.fm. Retrieved 2011-01-14.
- "The Who Concert Setlist at Berkeley Community Theatre, Berkeley on June 16, 1970". setlist.fm. Retrieved 2011-01-14.
- "The Who Concert Setlist at Berkeley Community Theatre, Berkeley on June 15, 1970". setlist.fm. Retrieved 2011-01-14.
- "The Who Concert Setlist at Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim on June 14, 1970". setlist.fm. Retrieved 2011-01-14.