The Who's 50 Greatest Songs

From power-pop anthems to operatic epics to stadium-size rockers and beyond

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30. "5:15" ('Quadrophenia', 1973)

The debut single on Quadrophenia, and the lead track of the album's second disc, is delivered in call-and-response vocals by Daltrey and Townshend. Amid images of polymorphous sexuality, they describe a pill-loving protagonist ("Out of my brain on the train") over Townshend's dukes-up guitar lines, brash horns by Entwistle and rollicking piano by moonlighting Joe Cocker sideman Chris Stainton. Unlike most of Quadrophenia, which required painstaking work, "5:15" came to Townshend quickly ("While I was killing time between appointments," he recalled) and was written in the studio the day it was recorded.

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