You Better You Bet

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"You Better You Bet"
Single by The Who
from the album Face Dances
B-side"The Quiet One"
Released27 February 1981
Recorded4 November 1980;
Odyssey Recording Studios, London
GenrePower pop
LabelWarner Bros. (US)
Polydor (UK)
Songwriter(s)Pete Townshend
Producer(s)Bill Szymczyk
The Who singles chronology
"You Better You Bet"
"Don't Let Go the Coat"

"You Better You Bet" is a song by the British rock band The Who, appearing as the first track on their 1981 album Face Dances. It is sung by frontman Roger Daltrey with backing vocals from Pete Townshend and bassist John Entwistle. Townshend's guitar part is performed on a Rickenbacker 360/12.

"You Better You Bet" became a hit and one of The Who's most recognizable songs. It was the last single by the band that reached the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100, reaching No. 18. The track was at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Tracks chart for five weeks beginning 4 April 1981.[1] It was also their last single to hit the Top Ten in the UK, peaking at No. 9.


"You Better You Bet" was written by Pete Townshend as a love song for his girlfriend at the time: "I developed ['You Better You Bet'] over several weeks of clubbing and partying. I had gone through a lean period in my marriage and was seeing the daughter of a friend of mine. I wanted it to be a good song because the girl I wrote it for is one of the best people on the planet."[2] Townshend also commented: "'You Better You Bet' was a very spontaneous lyric. A fairly spontaneous, peppy song; it's a pop song, really, it's just a pop song."[3]

Roger Daltrey praised the song's vocal melody, comparing it to Elvis Presley: "A wonderful, wonderful song. The way the vocal bounces, it always reminds me of Elvis."[4] and stated: "'You Better You Bet' is still one of my favourite songs of all."[2]

The song makes references to both the group T. Rex, and the group's own 1971 album Who's Next, with the line: "I drunk myself blind to the sound of old T. Rex... and Who's Next". The synthesizer riff is performed on a Yamaha E70 home organ.[3]


"You Better You Bet" was released as the first single from Face Dances in February 1981, backed with the John Entwistle-penned "The Quiet One". The song peaked at number 9 in the United Kingdom; in America, the single reached number 18. The single's relative underperformance is thought to have been because Warner Bros. Records had decided to boycott independent promoters in America, which resulted in less airplay for the track.[2] Pete Townshend reflected on the single's success, "A surprise hit single for us... We even went back on Top of the Pops."[5]


"You Better You Bet" has seen positive critical reception since its release. Rolling Stone ranked the song as the band's 32nd best, stating, "Tough and to the point, 'You Better You Bet' reflects the way Townshend's enthusiasm for punk rock was tightening his songwriting. Addressed to his new girlfriend, it also hits a note of sly nostalgia when Daltrey sings about getting drunk "to the sound of old T. Rex.'"[5] Mike DeGagne of AllMusic praised the song as "arguably the strongest track on Face Dances" and concluded, "The Who's use of synthesizers fit in perfectly with the beginning of the decade, while the song's alliterative chorus and clever use of sarcasm and wit gave it lyrical sustenance."[6]

Music video[edit]

A music video for the song was produced in black and white featuring the band and keyboardist John Bundrick playing onstage. It was the fourth video played upon MTV's launch on 1 August 1981.[7] The video was also the 55th video to be aired on MTV, making it the first video to be shown on MTV more than once.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 677.
  2. ^ a b c Grantley/Parker, Steve/Alan. The Who by Numbers: The Story of The Who Through Their Music. Helter Skelter. p. 196.
  3. ^ a b Cady, Brian. "'Face Dances' Liner Notes". Archived from the original on 19 December 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  4. ^ "You Better You Bet".
  5. ^ a b Browne, David; Fricke, David; Dolan, Jon; Grow, Kory; Gehr, Richard; Greene, Andy; Hermes, Will (3 March 2016). "The Who's 50 Greatest Songs: 32. "You Better You Bet" ('Face Dances', 1981)". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 26 August 2020.
  6. ^ DeGagne, Mike. "You Better You Bet". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 August 2020.
  7. ^ "MTV LAUNCH FIRST DAY SATURDAY AUGUST 1st , 1981 Part 2". YouTube. Retrieved 12 January 2012.