October 22, 2020

Eyesight to the Blind

From the Tommy liner notes by Brian Cady:

This song was originally written by Sonny Boy Williamson (the second artist to record under that name), real name Alex "Rice" Miller, and was released in February 1951. Pete picked up the song from Mose Allison’s 1959 cover version although The Who’s version more closely resembles the Williamson original.

There is a change to the lyrics. Williamson’s lyric is "Her daddy must have been a millionaire, ’cause I can tell be the way she walks." Allison changed it to "Her daddy’s got some money…" and The Who to "Her daddy gave her magic…"

Early drafts of Tommy also included Mose’s "Young Man Blues" and "One Room Country Shack." In most early song lists, this song came immediately before "The Acid Queen."

A version with an alternate vocal surfaced in the U.K. in 1972 and was included on the Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs CD and also as a bonus track on the Japanese issue of 2004’s Then and Now. (Thanks to Ron Crandall for additional help on this item.)