Guitar And Pen (Pete Townshend) Towser Tunes, Inc. (adm. by Longitude Music Co.) - BMI

From the Who Are You liner notes by Matt Resnicoff with additions by Brian Cady:

Recorded at Ramport and RAK Studios in March 1978. Pete and Rod Argent both play keyboards.

"This is a song about song-writing. A deliberate attempt to cynically evoke Gilbert and Sullivan, the intended irony fell flat when smart critics accused me of sounding like Gilbert and Sullivan. Often my best tricks fail because I become too wound up in them, too convinced by them myself to remain a foil. I played this today and I like it. It delights me. It's honest. Nice to hear Keith Moon singing nearly coherent backing vocals. I played really nifty piano. Fuck the critics. This is theatre, darling!"
--Pete Townshend

"I like 'Guitar And Pen' for what it is...I can understand why people hate it but I like it a lot."
--Roger Daltrey

"I think it's too pompous, too classical."
--John Entwistle

The original version is 13 seconds shorter than the 1996 remix because it was sped up about a tone higher from the original tape. The remix also differs by having quite a bit more echo added to it. "Guitar and Pen" was never performed live by The Who.]

The "Olypmic Mix" was Recorded at Ramport in April 1978.

An alternate mix, with a more aggressive guitar track, by Glyn Johns and Jon Astley done in May, 1978 that was rejected in favour of the one that appeared on the album. Previously unreleased.

This version differs from the above by having the guitar more fuzztoned and louder in the mix. Another version of "Guitar and Pen" with a guitar part and vocal mix different from either one here was on the 1992 Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs CD.

You're alone above the street somewhere
Wondering how you'll ever count out there

You can walk, you can talk, you can fight
But inside you've got something to write
In your hand you hold your only friend
Never spend your guitar or your pen
Your guitar or your pen
Your guitar or your pen
Your guitar or your pen
Your guitar or your pen

When you take up a pencil and sharpen it up
When you're kicking the fence and still nothing will budge
When the words are immobile until you sit down
Never feel they're worth keeping, they're not easily found
Then you know in some strange, unexplainable way
You must really have something
Jumping, thumping, fighting, hiding away
Important to say

When you sing through the verse and you end in a scream
And you swear and you curse 'cause the rhyming ain't clean
But it suddenly comes after years of delay
You pick up your guitar, you can suddenly play
When your fingers are bleeding and the knuckles are white
Then you can be sure, you can open the door
Get off of the floor tonight
You have something to write

When you want to complain, there's no one can stop you
But when your music proclaims, there's no one can top you
You are wearing you heart on your jumping feet
You've got a head start away from the street

But is that what you want, to be rich and be gone?
Could be there's just one thing left in the end
Your guitar and your pen

When you sing to your mum, and you hum and you croon
And she says that she'd like it "with more of a tune"
And you smash your guitar at the end of the bed
Then you stick it together and start writing again
And you know that it won't be too long 'til your back
To bring her some money, she's calling you "honey"
Stashed in a bloody great sack
In your Cadillac

You're alone
You're alone

You're alone above the street somewhere
Wondering how you'll ever count out there

You can walk, you can talk, you can fight
But inside you've got something to write
In your hand you hold your only friend
Never spend your guitar or your pen
Your guitar or your pen
Your guitar or your pen
Your guitar or your pen
Your guitar or your pen
Your guitar or your pen
Your guitar or your pen
Your guitar or your pen
Your guitar or your pen

Never spend your guitar or your pen

This song appears on:

Source Length notes
Who Are You 5:58
Who Are You 6:02 Olympic '78 Mix
Thirty Years Of Maximum R & B 5:49
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