Won’t get fooled again? Of course we will

Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss

Roger Daltry telling us we don’t get fooled again … again

I was listening to the Who’s Won’t Get Fooled Again recently. It’s a great song anyway but the words have been earwigging me ever since, like those old prayers and responses in church one can never shake off  —

I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution

Take a bow for the new revolution

Smile and grin at the change all around me

Pick up my guitar and play

Just like yesterday

Then I’ll get on my knees and pray

We don’t get fooled again

Don’t get fooled again

No, no!

The foreboding organ solo begins. Then,  keraaang —slam that guitar, Pete Townsend,  thunder out that bassline, John Entwistle, and thrash those drums Keith Moon as only you can. The revolution starts right here!

Has adolescent anger and frustration ever been captured so well? Or sounded so urgent, so stirring, so cool?

I called up the lyrics and was struck by the progression of the song.

Early on we have the  call to arms from the frustrated young man so moved to anger at the world as Roger Daltry sings of the revolution fermenting, his pure, strident vocals carried on the drums, guitar and bass, as he announces

We’ll be fighting in the streets
With our children at our feet
And the morals that they worship will be gone

But already, there are dark intimations of how this revolution will actually play out, as

The men who spurred us on
Sit in judgement of all wrong
They decide and the shotgun sings the song

This caveat is perhaps lost on the  stadium rebels singing along and pogoing with fervent zeal.

Change doesn’t come — it never does — and the so-young-to-be-so-jaded singer notes

We were liberated from the fold, that’s all

The world looks just the same

And history ain’t changed

By the time Daltry has reached the last verse, the once fresh and soaring voice now drips with sarcasm and disillusionment as he tips his hat one last time to the new constitution, takes a bow for the new revolution.

Nothing left for the thwarted revolutionary  now, just to

Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday

And just pray that we:

Don’t get fooled again

And will they?


Meet the new boss

Same as the old boss

It’s a bit of a jump but I found myself thinking of my own adolescent children and  how my fuddy-duddy, old guard wisdom is being largely ignored — as it has to be. They have to revolt against me to find their own voice.

But if they ever do push against society’s injustices and limitations, you’d have to think they will get fooled again,

Cause the banners, they are flown in the next war

Like we all were and ever will be.

This is where art comes in, perhaps, as we try to deal with our disappointments. Pick up that guitar and play.

— Enda Sheppard

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