The Who: Won't Get Fooled Again Meaning
Song Released: 1971
Won't Get Fooled Again Lyrics
With our children at our feet
And the morals that they worship will be gone
And the men who spurred us on
Sit in judgement of all wrong
They decide and the shotgun sings the song
I'll tip my hat to the new...
anonymous Sep 24th, 2013 9:41am report
The song is about the bogus political systems that seem to run the world. At election times the populace are presented with a choice of who to vote for, but in reality they all stand for the same thing so there is no choice and no change.The status quo is maintained. "Won`t Get Fooled Again" is sarcasm for "actually we get fooled all the time"
anonymous Jan 26th, 2013 1:20am report
quite interesting that people interpret this song as anti- "counter culture". when two years earlier .Townsend produced the ultimate "counter-culture " No1 record "something in the air" by Thunderclap Newman(and the trippy "my White Bicycle" by Tomorrow,) definitely a case of "meet the new boss, the same as the old boss"
anonymous Dec 3rd, 2012 12:26pm report
Pete Townshend stated that this is his way of attacking the counter-culture of his times. It's a cynical anthem doubting the effectiveness of revolutions in inducing any real change.
The song instrumentally symbolizes a revolution against the system. The narrator describes this as a popular uprising aimed to remove the old regime and system. "The morals that they worshipped will be gone!"
But even with such an uprising, "The world looks just the same!/And history ain't changed!/'Cause the banners they all flown/In the last war!" The scenes look familiar, the demands were the same as they were the last time around, and not much has changed. And so when the narrator sings the refrain, "We don't get fooled again!", we know that he's just cynically laughing at the rebels and what they think the outcome of such a revolution will be, as opposed to what really happens.
He further stresses this with such lyrics as "And nothing in the street/Looks any different to me./And the slogans are replaced/by the by!" before warning us ourselves "Don't get fooled again!" (As opposed to saying that he won't get fooled "We don't get fooled again.")
As the song progresses, we can feel that it is the theme song to an actual revolution occurring, first rather calmly, and then getting more hectic, before reaching a point wherein the suspense builds up through Keith Moon's drum solo. The suspense is finally broken through the iconic and climatic screech of victory, "YEEAAAH!!!" indicating the success of the revolution, but wait! Not 7 seconds afterwards, the narrator introduces us: "Meet the new boss! Same as the old boss!" The revolution is successful, but we have no real change: the powers that be will continue to function in the same way, and no change has been achieved. The song instrumentally ends in much the same way as it has begun, perhaps hinting at another replay, and another "revolution".
anonymous Jan 10th, 2011 1:52am report
It's quite possible that George Orwell's Animal Farm was one of the (direct/indirect) inspirations for this song. The idea that so called grass roots revolutions are doomed to fail, because of the gap between leaders and followers in terms of education and morality.
The new leadership may start out in an idealistic way, vowing to never make the same mistakes as the old regime, but over time the new leaders get corrupted with power and, since there is no serious opposition, become indistinguishable from the old ones: meet the new boss, same as the old boss!
anonymous Feb 13th, 2010 2:36am report
Adding a little perspective:
The impressive movie of 1971 (the year of the release of Who's Next) was "2001: A Space Odyssey".
The Monolith in the film represented a change in human development and, so, The Who are desecrating that movie's omnipresent Monolith, on the album cover, by pissing on it.
Pete Townshend used that very image to mock the future that he saw coming. He did it not to say that they were wrong, but to warn them that the heroes of tomorrow just may not look very different from the heroes of yesterday.
The reason for that is that we are still humans here, after all, not some wise outerspace-begotten superbeings.
Basically, it's a warning about getting caught up in the kind of revolution that can't be deliver by pretenders.
anonymous Jun 19th, 2009 6:37pm report
"We'll be fighting in the streets. With our children at our feet" A revolution on home grounds with everyone suffering. The chorus: congratulating the new revolution and being happy until they realize that everything's the same just with different names and then hoping that it doesn't happen again. A major thing to realize about this song is that the "revolution" is just attempting to change ideas that don't have to be in a violent way. "And the world looks just the same. And history ain't changed" Again, everythings the same. "Cause the banners, they are flown in the next war" The rebels will soon be rebeled against. "I'll move myself and my family aside" Give up everything for 'the cause' (revolution) "Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss" just emphasising my point there. It's about the constant change that results in no change except different words and another revolution to tip your hat at.
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