October 29, 2020

Cooks County

Pete: "I saw a documentary on TV about a hospital in Chicago called Cooks County Hospital [sic – actually Cook County Hospital] which is the only free hospital in America and the fact that the municipal authorities were applying to the Federal Government in America to get grants to keep it open. The grants were refused so the hospital was going to close. It was in a ghetto and it was mainly black people and it was mainly drug abuse and everything else, ghetto-influenced problems, which this hospital dealt with. Of course a lot of these people, you get blasted by a shotgun in a Chicago street and you get picked up by an ambulance, you get taken to hospital and unless you’ve got a Medicare card or insurance of something you get shoved straight out again. I just felt so moved by this that I just felt in a sense that I had to scribble out a few lines about it and that’s how it came out. I just went in with the poem I’d written ‘people are suffering…’ and we turned it into this particular track."

Pete and The Who have been involved with charities in Chicago (and many other places besides) and The Who performed twice at the House Of Blues in Chicago November 12 and 13, 1999 raising money for Chicago’s Maryville Academy charity benefiting neglected and abused children. This song was performed live only once during The Who’s October 6, 1982 show at The Horizon in Rosemont, Illinois and has not been performed again after that. The ending of the version on the 1997 CD is extended by 8 seconds from the original fadeout and an echo is put on Roger’s "people are suffering…people are hungry" towards the end. Click here to see the original lyric sheet: Cooks County