We're Not Gonna Take It (The Who song)
|"We're Not Gonna Take It"|
|Single by The Who|
|from the album Tommy|
|Released||5 July 1969|
|The Who singles chronology|
According to Pete Townshend, "We're Not Gonna Take It" was not originally written for the Tommy storyline. He instead says that it was inspired by the people's reaction to politics.
Again something written before Tommy had actually been formed as a total idea, and that particular 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."— Pete Townshend
In the storyline of Tommy, this song describes Tommy's followers rejection of 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.
"They've paid their money and they've walked in the door thinking they're going to get a shortcut to God-realization. [Tommy] starts to make the rules hard. He says 'you can't drink, you can't smoke dope, you can't do this, you can't do that, you've got to play pinball, you've got to do it my way; if you don't do it my way, you're out.' And he starts to get so tough that they rebel. 'We don't want your religion. What we want is a shortcut away from all our problems.' That's what they really want.— Pete Townshend
The disciples become disillusioned with Tommy; that is often the way with heroes. They feel that the whole idea has become commercialized and begin to question their hero worship.— Pete Townshend
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.