Pete Townshend Reflects On Making Tommy A 'Pinball Wizard'

petetownshend 021518

Pete Townshend has recalled the story about how The Who's superhit song "Pinball Wizard" came to be part their 1969 album Tommy.

Speaking to Uncle Joe Benson on the "Ultimate Classic Rock Nights" radio show, Townshend said, "I tell a kind of a tall story, which is that I wrote 'Pinball Wizard' in order to get a good review from a friend of mine called Nik Cohn.

"But I'd already written 'Pinball Wizard' for Nik Cohn; I just hadn't played it to him. He came to hear the Tommy recordings and he was quite impressed. I said to him later in private, 'What do you think?' He said, 'I don't hear a hit. … Pete, you say this is a collection of singles - it's a collection of singles okay, but I don't hear a hit single.'"

"I said, 'What about if I swing in 'Pinball Wizard?'" Townshend recalled. "That meant then that my deaf, dumb and blind boy had to become a pinball player - which meant going back into the piece and changing a lot of the lyrics!"

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