The Who's 50 Greatest Songs

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

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49. "Relax" ('The Who Sell Out', 1967)

Written just prior to Townshend's first LSD experience, this uncharacteristic slice of paisley power pop echoes the Beatles' advice for trippers – "Turn off your mind, relax and flow downstream" – from "Tomorrow Never Knows." "Relax" is reminiscent of the material Syd Barrett was recording with Pink Floyd, featuring a Hammond organ (played by Townshend) rising and falling tranquilly in the background. It concludes with a fury of acid-rock guitar that would launch some of the Who's more explosive onstage jams during their extensive tours in 1967 and '68, though it soon left their live set.

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