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“Baba O’Riley” by The Who- Song Facts and History


Have you ever wondered why The Who called the classic track “Baba O’Riley” instead of calling it “Teenage Wasteland”? The “Teenage Wasteland” section was a completely different song that Pete Townshend combined with his “Baba O’Riley” idea to form the song. That’s why! We have other song facts and history on this classic track in tonight’s Guitar Pic At Six.

So how did they come up with the title for the classic track?

The first part of the title comes from Meher Baba, who was Pete Townshend’s spiritual guru. The second part comes from Terry Riley, an experimental, minimalist composer Townshend admired – many of the keyboard riffs and sound effects on Who’s Next were a result of Riley’s influence. According to the Who’s Next liner notes, Townshend wrote it as his vision of what would happen if the spirit of Meher Baba was fed into a computer and transformed into music. The result would be Baba in the style of Terry Riley, or “Baba O’Riley.””

This song also marked one of the first times a synthesizer was used to form the rhythm of a song. Until then, just about everyone using a synthesizer was using it as a lead instrument. The synthesizer part was played from tape at their concerts because it was too difficult to reproduce live.

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