The Who's 50 Greatest Songs

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

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45. "Bargain" ('Who's Next', 1971)

One of the most euphoric moments on Who's Next got an assist from guitarist Joe Walsh. In 1970, the Who took Walsh's hard-rock trio the James Gang on tour as an opening act. Perhaps as a way to say thanks, Walsh gave Townshend a Gretsch acoustic guitar, which he ended up playing on "Bargain" when the band recorded it. Townshend began work on the song while demo'ing material for his Lifehouse project. "On Lifehouse, it was a love song, but a song about a higher love, a love between disciple and master," he said. What emerged was an open-hearted expression of Townshend's devotion to Sufism, and religious faith in general: "How much of a bargain it would be even to love everything in order to be at one with God," he said later. Over the course of several sessions with producer Glyn Johns at London's Olympic Studio, "Bargain" grew into a triumphant anthem, with Moon delivering an explosive yet intricate performance many consider one of his finest and Daltrey sending the song's powerful sentiment skyward. Daltrey said years later that Who's Next songs like "Bargain" were "rooted inside of us."

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