The Who's 50 Greatest Songs

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

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35. "The Acid Queen" ('Tommy', 1969)

Townshend described Tommy's Acid Queen character as a metaphor for peer pressure – a "black-hearted gypsy who had promised to bring Tommy out of his autistic condition but was actually a sexual monster, using drugs to break him." Moon's anarchic drumming and Townshend's torrential guitar and chilling lyrics ("His head, it shakes/His fingers clutch/Watch his body writhe") drive home the dark drama. When Tina Turner took on the role of the Acid Queen for the 1975 film version of Tommy, she played it even more predatorily than Daltrey does on the LP. Townshend called her performance "stunning."

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