“Long Live Rock” by The Who

Song of the Day

August 15, 2017

Written by Pete Townshend
Produced by Glyn Johns & The Who
Recorded in 1972
Released on the LP Odds and Sods on September 28, 1974

“Long Live Rock” had a rather odd path to publication as it was considered and ultimately passed over for three potential projects in 1971 and 1972, The song was written by Pete Townshend in 1971, during a time when he was developing a concept album called Lifehouse. That project was ultimately shelved and select songs were recorded for the 1971 release Who’s Next, with “Long Live Rock” being excluded.

The Who in 1972

The song was recorded in 1972 and intended as the title cut for another defunct project called Rock Is Dead—Long Live Rock, which was envisioned as an autobiographical album and television special about The Who’s history. However, the band felt as though it sounded too much like the material on Who’s Next and the Rock Is Dead—Long Live Rock project was ultimately scrapped with 1973’s double album Quadrophenia ultimately filling the role of revisiting the band’s early history. “Long Live Rock” was finally released in 1974 on the outtakes and rarities compilation Odds & Sods and was later released as a single in 1979.

Listen to “Long Live Rock”:

Song Lyrics

Down at the Astoria the scene was changing
Bingo and rock were pushing out x-rating
We were the first band to vomit at the bar
And find the distance to the stage too far
Meanwhile it’s getting late at ten o’clock
Rock is dead they say, long live rock

Long live rock! I need it every night
Long live rock! Come on and join the line
Long live rock! Be it dead or alive

People walk in sideways pretending that they’re leaving
We put on our makeup and work out all the lead-ins
Jack is in the alley selling tickets made in Hong Kong
Promoter’s in the pay box wondering where the band’s gone
Back in the pub the governor stops the clock
Rock is dead they say, long live rock

Long live rock! I need it every night
Long live rock! Come on and join the line
Long live rock! Be it dead or alive

Landslide, rocks are falling, falling down upon our very heads
We tried but you were yawning, look again
Rock is dead, rock is dead, rock is dead

The place is really jumping to the high watt amps
‘Til a twenty inch cymbal fell and cut the lamps
In the blackout they danced right into the aisle
And as the doors fly open even the promoter smiles
Someone takes his pants off and the rafters knock
Rock is dead they say, long live rock, long live rock

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