Friday, June 7, 2013

"Rough Boys" by Pete Townshend

Song#:  0399
Date:  11/15/1980
Debut:  92
Peak:  89
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Rock

Rough Boys by Pete Townshend on Grooveshark

Pop Bits:  Townshend's third single from his "Empty Glass" album was actually released as a single months earlier in the UK where it peaked at #39. The song is arguably one of his most controversial or talked about compositions. The lyrics have a gay subtext and many mistakenly heard it as a sort of "coming out" for Townshend. And years later in an interview, he made some remarks that fueled that fire. But Townshend then clarified what his responses meant and maintains that regardless of any experimentation he might have done in the free-willed 60s, that he is hetero. The lyrics of the song were basically a commentary on how the punks in the UK were dressing just like the gays in the US were - in tough military/leather styles. Regardless, the song didn't amount to much on the pop chart but it remains a kind of classic in the Townshend catalog.

ReduxReview: Whatever the lyrics may mean to Townshend or to others, it don't matter to me. I just think this is a pretty killer song. It may have been a little too punk-ish for pop radio and I'm sure any whiff of lyric controversy didn't help, so I'm not shocked it wasn't a hit - even though it should have been. However, I will say that I certainly don't mind lyrics like "Tough boys, come over here, I wanna bite and kiss you..."

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Townshend is a 1993 Tony Award winner. He co-wrote the musical "The Who's Tommy," based off of the famous rock album classic. Townshend won the award for Best Original Score. The show was nominated for Best Musical, but lost out to the musical version of "Kiss of the Spider Woman."


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