January 28, 2021

We’re Not Gonna Take It

Pete: "Again something written before Tommy had actually been formed as a total idea, and that particular song wasn’t about Tommy’s devotees at all. It was about the rabble in general, how we, myself as part of them, were not going to take fascism, were not going to take dreary, dying politics; were not going to take things the way they were, the way they always had been and that we were keen to change things." Another Pete explanation of the song: "They’ve paid their money and they’ve walked in the door thinking they’re going to get a shortcut to God-realization. [Tommy] starts to make the rules hard. He says ‘you can’t drink, you can’t smoke dope, you can’t do this, you can’t do that, you’ve got to play pinball, you’ve got to do it my way; if you don’t do it my way, you’re out.’ And he starts to get so tough that they rebel. ‘We don’t want your religion. What we want is a shortcut away from all our problems.’ That’s what they really want." Additional lyric lines: "You’re gonna do it my way or you won’t get home at all.. You won’t hear Uncle Ernie say ‘Let’s play pinball!’ You don’t have to take it but one in a million will."

The finale, usually known as "See Me, Feel Me," was released as a single in the U.S. to capitalize on its appearance in the hit movie Woodstock. It hit the charts there September 23, 1970 and reached #12. It was released in the U.K. on October 10 but failed to chart. "See Me, Feel Me" constituted the last 3’22 of "We’re Not Gonna Take It." It appears in the single form on the CD The Who: The Ultimate Collection.