Meaning of Won’t Get Fooled Again by The Who & Song Story

Rolling Stone magazine called The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again” the “greatest declaration of independence” in rock music. The composition was intended for the concept album Lifehouse, which was worked on by Pete Townsend. It was supposed to sound at the end of the work, after the murder of the main character Bobby. The project was not completed, and Won’t Get Fooled Again became the final track of Who’s Next.

The history of creation and the meaning of the song Won’t Get Fooled Again

Speaking on radio in 1985, Pete Townsend explained what Won’t Get Fooled Again was about. He conceived it as a message to the “new generation” of figures who emerged on the political scene in the early seventies.

Townsend acknowledged that the song was a challenge to government organizations, but he still didn’t see the point in taking radical action:

…in the end, the revolution changes nothing and the people suffer.

Townshend: A Career Biography

The author’s bewilderment was caused by the public’s perception of the main idea of ​​Won’t Get Fooled Again:

It is interesting that it is perceived as an anthem, although in fact it calls for caution.

Rolling stone

In 2006, conservative magazine National Review published a list of the fifty greatest conservative rock songs, topped by Won’t Get Fooled Again. Townsend reacted to the first place by posting on his personal blog, explaining the main idea of ​​the composition:

It cannot be definitely said that the song condemns the revolution. She suggests that we will, of course, fight in the streets. But a revolution, like any action, can have consequences that we cannot predict. Don’t expect to see what you expect to see. Don’t expect anything and you can get everything.

Recording and release of Won’t Get Fooled Again

The album version of the track is eight and a half minutes long. For the single, it was reduced to 3:35, which did not please the musicians. Listen to Roger Daltrey:

I was furious that they cut it. I said, “Damn, let her come out with eight minutes,” but there were always excuses that she would not fit or other technical issues at the record factory.


The single was released in the UK on June 25, 1971. In July, the record appeared in American music stores. The song peaked at number nine on the UK Singles Chart and peaked at number fifteen on the Billboard Hot 100.

Clip Won’t Get Fooled Again

Watch the video clip of Won’t Get Fooled Again” The Who.

Cover versions of Won’t Get Fooled Again

The song was performed by Van Halen, Axel Rudi Pell and other famous musicians.

Interesting Facts

  • The Who released the single Won’t Get Fooled Again instead of Behind Blue Eyes.
  • For many years, the band ended their concerts with the track Won’t Get Fooled Again.
  • It was the last song played by Keith Moon live in concert. It also became the last track he recorded with The Who in the studio.
  • Rolling Stone listed the track as one of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
  • An excerpt from the song was featured as the main theme song on the soundtrack of the television series CSI: Miami.
  • Pete Townsend did not allow Michael Moore to include the song in the Fahrenheit 9/11 documentary.
  • In 2000, the track was featured in a commercial for Nissan Maxima. Nissan later used The Who Baba O’Reily’s song in a Pathfinder commercial.

Won’t Get Fooled Again Lyrics

We’ll be fighting in the streets
With our children at our feet
And the morals that they worship will be gone
And the men who spurred us on
Sit in judgment of all wrong
They decide and the shotgun sings the song

I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and smile at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again

The change, it had to come
We knew it all along
We were liberated from the fold, that’s all
And the world looks just the same
And history ain’t changed
‘Cause the banners, they are flown in the next war


I’ll move myself and my family aside
If we happen to be left half alive
I’ll get all my papers and smile at the sky
Though I know that the hypnotized never lie
Do ya?

There’s nothing in the streets
Looks different to me
And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye
And the parting on the left
Are now parting on the right
And the bears have all grown longer overnight


Meet the new boss
same as the old boss

Won’t Get Fooled Again Lyrics Alternative

We will fight in the streets
And our children will be at our feet
The ideals they worship will come to an end
And the people who pushed us
Now judge all the bad
They decide and the shotgun sings its song

I take my hat off to the new constitution
Bow to the new revolution
Smile and smirk at the changes around
I’ll take a guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I’ll get down on my knees and pray
To not be fooled again

Change, they had to come
We always knew it
We’ve been freed from the pen, that’s all
And the world seems to be the same
And the story hasn’t changed
After all, the banners are already fluttering in a new war


I’ll go myself and take my family
If we are left even half alive
I’ll get all my papers and smile at the sky
Although I know that under hypnosis they never lie
And you?

I don’t see in the streets
No changes
They just changed slogans in between
Now share right wing views
And overnight everyone’s beards got longer


Meet the new owner
Same as old

Song quote

[Таунсенд в песне] expressed ideas that were really important to him, and expressed them for the first time.

John Entwistle
Dave Thompson, 1000 Songs that Rock Your World

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