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We Close Tonight (Pete Townshend) Towser Tunes, Inc./Fabulous Music Ltd./ABKCO Music, Inc., BMI

From the "Odds & Sods" liner notes by Brian Cady.

Produced by The Who on Ronnie Lanes Mobile Studio June 20, 1973.

 

"In Quadrophenia I wrote a song that didn't get included about this romance, this girl at school, and how I blew the relationship because I lied a lot. She was going out with a jazz musician and I was just like on the sidelines and I used to talk to her. I never thought there'd ever be a relationship but I used to like being in her presence and we used to sit next to one another, work and talk and eat together and that sort of thing. That was a far as it got. At the end of the day the jazz musician would come and pick her up and take her home. So I started to expand a bit on my musician capabilities in order to just perhaps bring myself into line a little bit with this other guy. Like, 'Well, I'm in a band and I play really well. I've got a number of guitars. I've worked with all kinds of people, all sorts of bands. I've got four or five different color jackets.' And we used to talk about jazz and stuff and I had a working knowledge about jazz because my father was a legitimate player; so I knew a little bit, but I didn't really know quite what I was talking about. The final boob was when her old man left her and she was very shattered by it, because he was older and she was very young, and she turned to me for emotional support, and apart from not being able to recognize it or being able to handle it...I got into a conversation about Charlie Parker, and said that I'd met him in a club and that he'd shaken my hand. It was a tragic thing. I remember it to this day. Because it was then she knew it was just not going to work.
So I wrote a pretty song which we actually got to the point of laying down, called 'We Close Tonight.' The last verse of it is, 'I got three red jackets and a Fender Jazz and I play guitar in a mainstream band,' and the last line of the thing is, 'You could come and see us, but we close tonight.' But the humorous songs that I was writing seemed out of place somehow in Quadrophenia. They seemed too much like little funny cameos stuck in to lighten what was essentially a sad story. So I thought, well, fuck it, if it's gonna be sad, I might as well make it sad."
--Pete Townshend

The song was not re-discovered until the 1996 remastering of Quadrophenia.

John sings the vocal of Jimmy's "interior" state and Keith sings the "exterior" liar state.

How can I explain how I feel
I'm like a little kid running at her heel
She's giving me looks like she thinks I'm a snappy dresser
How can I tell what I should plan
I've never kissed a girl or held her hand
She's waiting for me to move, I've got to impress her

I play guitar in a mainstream band
I've got three red jackets and a Fender jazz
I've got Charlie Parker's autograph
The girl I moved with's turned up on grass

She moved her seat next to mine
But I'm just playing for time
I ain't got the guts to let her see the real me
My confidence eroded away
Over hearing what children say
So I'm trying to make myself seem more appealing

I know your man is in to playing jazz bass
I tried that myself but I need more space
Like to soar and fly like the big Birdman
When I met him last week he shook my hand

Every lie I tell weaves another spell, another road that ends up blind
The Bird that shook my hand was a wanted man, I think you knew that all the time

I came so close to having you for me
But I lost you in the fantasy
I pretended to myself that you were mine already
You waited but deep in your eyes
You were watching me so wordly wise
Then you changed the subject and talked about going steady

I've got 200 records and a big hi-fi
I sit and listen to Ella and Basey all night
I played modern jazz of every variety
You could come and listen but we close tonight

 

This song appears on:

Source Length notes
Odds & Sods 2:58
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