In the up-and-down singles chart history of The Who in the US, they were onto a winner on September 26, 1970 — and with a song that never made the UK countdown at all.
By that year, the band’s reputation as a powerhouse live attraction was assured, as was their place on album rock radio. But the peerless English quartet had had only limited success at pop radio in the States. Up to September of that year, only two of The Who’s 11 previous chart singles had made the US Top 20, and key releases such as “My Generation,” “Pictures Of Lily” and, more recently, “The Seeker” had all failed to make the Top 40.
Then came the American release of “See Me, Feel Me,” adapted for the single from the Tommy rock opera of the year before. The Who had performed the song at Woodstock in August 1969, just a few months after the release of the Tommy album. It was even more fresh in the minds of their audience from the release of the Woodstock movie the following March.
A live favorite through the decades
“See Me, Feel Me” is, in a way, the invisible Who classic, because it’s not identified by that title in its original form, as part of the Tommy album’s final song “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” The memorable refrain is followed by the valedictory “Listening To You,” as it has been at many a Who performance — including their appearance at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, where they played it along with “Baba O’Riley” and “My Generation.”
The song entered the Billboard Hot 100 at No.75, and made steady progress up the chart for the following two months and more. In the issue cover dated December 5, the song peaked at No.12, the band’s highest position on the American singles chart since “I Can See For Miles” reached No.9 some three years earlier.
Buy or stream “See Me, Feel Me” as it appears in its original form within the song “We’re Not Gonna Take It” on the album Tommy.