The Who's 50 Greatest Songs

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

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18. "I'm One" ('Quadrophenia', 1973)

Opening with Townshend singing in a heartbreaking high tenor over acoustic guitar, "I'm One" flips on the second verse, with the singer flicking out his electric guitar like a switchblade and the band rushing in alongside him. "When I was a nipper, I always used to feel that the guitar was all I had," Townshend said, introducing the song live in 1973. "I wasn't tough enough to be a member of the gang, not good-looking enough to be in with the birds, not clever enough to make it at school, not good enough with the feet to make a good football player. I was a fucking loser. I think everybody feels that way at some point."

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