The Who: “The Real Me” (1974)

The bold opening statement from Quadrophenia was released as the album’s last single, but listeners had already tuned out.

Kronomyth 8.2: The Real Me with an Undoctored Ending

This is our introduction to Jimmy, Pete Townshend’s proxy in Quadrophenia. It’s a bracing slap in the face as Jimmy/Townshend challenges whether anyone really knows what’s going on inside of his head. The single differs slightly from the album track in that it doesn’t end with Daltrey’s “me” being echoed out. To my mind, this song is one of Quadrophenia’s towering achievements, a fitting bookend to “Love Reign O’er Me” at the end.

The flip side is “I’m One” from the same album, an acoustic number that goes electric midway through and points forward to the music of The Who By Numbers. It’s not one of my favorite Who songs, although it’s important to the Quadrophenia story as Jimmy joins the Mods. This single didn’t chart particularly well, despite a clever promo for the single (see below), and I wonder if Americans hadn’t tired of Townshend’s concept albums after Tommy.

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The Real Me promo adOriginal 7-inch single version

A1. The Real Me (Peter Townshend) (3:26)
B1. I’m One (Peter Townshend) (2:39)

Original 7-inch single version (France)
A1. The Real Me (Pete Townshend) (3:26)
B1. Doctor Jimmy (Pete Townshend)

Original 7-inch single version (Japan)
A1. The Real Me (Pete Townshend) (3:22)
B1. Water

The Plastic

Released on 7-inch single on January 12, 1974 in the US (MCA/Track, MCA-40182), Canada (MCA/Track, MCA 40182), France (Track, 2094 118) and Japan (Track, ECPB 260-TR) with regional picture sleeve; reached #92 on the US charts (charted on February 2, 1974 for 3 weeks).

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