Substitute | acoustic/electric
An acoustic/electric guitar lesson on "Substitute" by the Who. It was released as a single on March 4th, 1966. It didn't appear on an album until 1971 where it was included on "Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy."
I've always thought that this was a perfect song! Written by Pete Townshend, who will go down as one of the greatest songwriters of all time as well as being a pretty mean guitar player!
From the powerful drumming, to the great bass lines, excellent vocal and of course the signature guitar riff in the intro and choruses, it all fits together so well and is super catchy.
The lyric is also excellent and has a real sense of humor about it. Lines like,"Look pretty young but I'm just back dated" and, "Substitute you for my mom, at least I'll get my washing done" are funny and really clever. I always chuckle when I hear those.
Here's a quote about the song by Pete Townshend from the liner notes of Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy:
"Substitute' was written as a spoof of [The Rolling Stones'] 'Nineteenth Nervous Breakdown.' On the demo I sang with an affected Jagger-like accent which Kit obviously liked, as he suggested the song as a follow-up to 'Generation.' The stock, down-beat riff used in the verses I pinched from a record played to me in 'Blind Date,' a feature in Melody Maker [the song was "Where Is My Girl" by Robb Storme and the Whispers].
It was by a group who later wrote to thank me for saying nice things about their record in the feature. The article is set up so that pop stars hear other people's records without knowing who they are by. They say terrible things about their best mates' latest and it all makes the pop scene even snottier and more competitive. Great. The record I said nice things about wasn't a hit, despite an electrifying riff. I pinched it, we did it, you bought it."
Another interesting thing that I came across was that Keith Moon, in a VH1 Behind the Music episode had said that he had no recollection of ever playing on the recording of "Substitute" and had actually accused the other band members of hiring another drummer!
When the single was released in the US, the line "I look all white but my Dad was black" was changed to "I try walking forward but my feet walk back" over racial concerns.
Anyways, it's a fun song to play and it's not really that difficult.
I had a blast recording my demo. It came out sounding a bit heavier than the original recording. The thing about great songs is it doesn't matter what style they're played in, they're always great!
I hope you get something from the video and that helps you to learn this Who classic. Cheers, Andy.
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