My Generation (The Who)

2 JANUARY 1966


The Who’s wild single ‘My Generation’ was still in the UK Top 10, after peaking at #2 some weeks before. Despite only reaching #74 in the US, this is one of the legendary songs of the ‘60s, embodying the heavy turn that rock was taking at that time. Punk before punk. Elvis would never have sung ‘Hope I die before I get old’.

Why did Daltrey sing this song with a stutter? One story is that the song began as a slow-talking blues number without the stutter, but Townshend reworked the song after being inspired by John Lee Hooker's ‘Stuttering Blues’. Another story is that it was intended to sound like a Mod on speed. It has also been suggested that the stutter implied an expletive in the lyrics: ‘Why don't you all fff... fade away!’ Daltrey has also said that he had not rehearsed prior to recording, was nervous, and was unable to hear his own voice through the monitors. The stutter came about as he tried to fit the lyrics to the music as best he could, and the band decided it worked well. The BBC initially refused to play ‘My Generation’ because it did not want to offend people who stutter, but reversed its decision after the song became more popular.

B-side: 'Shout and Shimmy' (UK), 'Out in the Street' (USA) 
Recorded: 13 October 1965, IBC Studios, London
Released: 29 October 1965 (UK), 5 November 1965 (US)
Highest chart positions: #2 (UK), #74 (US)
Length: 3:18
Label: Brunswick 05944 (UK), Decca 31877 (US) 
Writer: Pete Townshend
Producer: Shel Talmy

My Generation (The Who)

'People try to put us d-down (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Just because we get around (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Things they do look awful c-c-cold (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I hope I die before I get old (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby

Why don't you all f-fade away (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
And don't try to dig what we all s-s-say (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I'm not trying to cause a big s-s-sensation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I'm just talkin' 'bout my g-g-g-generation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby

Why don't you all f-fade away (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
And don't try to d-dig what we all s-s-say (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I'm not trying to cause a b-big s-s-sensation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I'm just talkin' 'bout my g-g-generation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby

People try to put us d-down (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Just because we g-g-get around (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Things they do look awful c-c-cold (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Yeah, I hope I die before I get old (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby'