20 Best The Who Songs of All Time

Best The Who Songs of All Time

The Who, a legendary British rock band formed in the mid-1960s, has left an indelible mark on the world of music. With a unique blend of rock, pop, and even operatic elements, their songs have resonated with generations of fans. 

In this article, we’ll dive into the 20 best The Who songs of all time, exploring their impact, significance, and the stories behind these timeless tunes.

20 Best The Who Songs of All Time

“Substitute” (1966): The Birth of a Classic

The journey begins with “Substitute,” a song that embodies The Who’s early sound. This track, released in 1966, marked their emergence into the music scene. With its catchy riffs and energetic vocals, “Substitute” remains a testament to the band’s early creative prowess.

“The Real Me” (1973): A Glimpse into Quadrophenia

From their landmark album “Quadrophenia,” “The Real Me” stands as a showcase of the band’s instrumental and lyrical brilliance. The song’s dynamic shifts and enthralling storytelling offer listeners a glimpse into the complexities of the human experience.

“I Can See for Miles” (1967): An Exploration of Sound

“I Can See for Miles,” from the album “The Who Sell Out,” epitomizes the band’s experimentation with sound. With its innovative production techniques and bold vocal delivery, the song showcases The Who’s willingness to push musical boundaries.

“Baba O’Riley” (1971): An Anthem of a Generation

“Baba O’Riley,” often referred to as “Teenage Wasteland,” captures the essence of youthful rebellion and a generation’s longing for connection. This track from “Who’s Next” remains an anthem that resonates across the ages.

“I Can’t Explain” (1965): A Sonic Introduction

“I Can’t Explain” served as The Who’s introduction to the music world. This single from 1965 showcases their raw energy and paved the way for the band’s future sonic explorations.

“See Me, Feel Me” (1969): The Power of Tommy

From the iconic rock opera “Tommy,” “See Me, Feel Me” encapsulates the emotional depth and spiritual journey of the album. With its evocative lyrics and sweeping melodies, the song has become a live favorite.

“Behind Blue Eyes” (1971): Vulnerability in Music

“Behind Blue Eyes” showcases a different side of The Who, delving into vulnerability and introspection. This soulful track from “Who’s Next” explores the inner struggles of an individual facing a world of complexities.

“Pinball Wizard” (1969): Tommy’s Unforgettable Character

“Pinball Wizard,” a central figure in “Tommy,” became an iconic symbol of resilience and triumph. With its lively rhythm and infectious chorus, the song stands as a testament to The Who’s ability to craft memorable characters within their music.

“Love, Reign o’er Me” (1973): Emotional Resonance

“Love, Reign o’er Me,” another gem from “Quadrophenia,” is a song of emotional resonance. Its soaring vocals and poignant lyrics make it a centerpiece of the album’s exploration of identity and self-discovery.

“Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere” (1965): Embracing Freedom

“Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere” captures the spirit of the mid-60s, a time of cultural revolution. With its lyrics embracing the idea of breaking free from societal constraints, the song’s message remains relevant to this day.

“The Kids Are Alright” (1965): A Celebration of Youth

“The Kids Are Alright” exudes a youthful exuberance that encapsulates the essence of The Who’s early years. This track from “My Generation” captures the spirit of a generation finding its voice.

“5.15” (1973): Riding the Rails of Quadrophenia

“5.15” transports us to the world of “Quadrophenia,” depicting the protagonist’s journey on the train. The song’s dynamic shifts mirror the emotional turbulence of its central character.

“Young Man Blues” (1970): Capturing Live Energy

Recorded live at Leeds, “Young Man Blues” is a testament to The Who’s electrifying performances. This track captures the raw energy of their live shows, showcasing their ability to captivate audiences.

“Who Are You” (1978): An Identity Questioned

“Who Are You” delves into questions of identity and self-examination. With its memorable chorus and introspective lyrics, the song reflects the band’s evolution and challenges.

“Blue, Red and Grey” (1975): A Touch of Whimsy

“Blue, Red and Grey” provides a whimsical departure from The Who’s signature sound. This acoustic track from “The Who by Numbers” adds a touch of introspection and vulnerability to their repertoire.

“Pictures of Lily” (1967): A Lively Tribute

“Pictures of Lily” is a lively tribute to youthful fantasies and infatuation. Its upbeat tempo and playful lyrics make it a standout track from The Who’s discography.

“The Song is Over” (1971): Reflecting on Time

“The Song is Over” is a reflection on the passage of time and the fleeting nature of moments. With its poetic lyrics and emotive melodies, the song resonates on a profound level.

“I’m a Boy” (1966): Gender and Identity Explored

“I’m a Boy” delves into themes of gender and identity, addressing societal norms and expectations. The song’s narrative complexity makes it a thought-provoking addition to their repertoire.


“My Generation” (1965): A Defiant Anthem

“My Generation,” an anthem of youthful rebellion, encapsulates the essence of The Who’s early sound. Its rebellious spirit and memorable chorus have made it an enduring classic.

“Won’t Get Fooled Again” (1971): A Call for Change

“Won’t Get Fooled Again” is a powerful call for change and a refusal to repeat past mistakes. With its iconic synthesizer intro and passionate vocals, the song remains a staple of The Who’s live performances.


Are these the only top songs by The Who?

While these 20 songs are considered some of the best by The Who, the band has a rich catalog with many other noteworthy tracks. These selections represent a snapshot of their musical journey.

What albums are these songs from?

These songs are taken from various albums across The Who’s discography, including “Quadrophenia,” “Who’s Next,” “Tommy,” and more.

How has The Who’s music influenced rock culture?

The Who’s music has had a profound impact on the rock genre, influencing generations of musicians and shaping the way rock music is performed and experienced.

What makes “Won’t Get Fooled Again” so iconic?

“Won’t Get Fooled Again” is iconic for its combination of passionate vocals, intricate instrumentation, and thought-provoking lyrics that resonate with listeners seeking change.

How did “Tommy” revolutionize rock music?

“Tommy” is often credited with popularizing the rock opera format, merging storytelling and music into a cohesive narrative, setting a new standard for creativity in the rock genre.

Where can I listen to these songs?

These songs are available on various music streaming platforms, allowing you to experience the magic of The Who’s music firsthand.


The 20 best The Who songs of all time take us on a journey through musical evolution, self-discovery, and societal reflection. From their early days of rebellious anthems to their more introspective and experimental later works, The Who’s impact on the music world is undeniable. As you explore these songs, you’ll gain insight into the band’s artistry, innovation, and enduring legacy.

That’s all! You can also check out 10 Best Coolio Songs of All Time and 10 Best The Jackson 5 Songs Of All Time.

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