The Who's 50 Greatest Songs

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

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25. "How Many Friends" ('The Who by Numbers', 1975)

When Townshend first played the brutally honest, emotionally desolate songs that would comprise The Who by Numbers, Moon walked over and gave the guitarist a hug. By the sound of "How Many Friends," he could've used it. "How many friends have I really got?/ You can count 'em on one hand," Daltrey sings on this elegiac tune, which alluded to Townshend's conflicted sexual identity and distance from the Who. "There was something else behind that song," Townshend said later. "That rock itself was supposed to deliver something different. That was a hope that wasn't fulfilled."

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