Pinball Wizard (3:03)

Cover of Live from Isle of Wight

From Live from Isle of Wight and 76 other releases

“Pinball Wizard” is a song written by Pete Townshend and performed by the English rock band The Who, and featured on their 1969 rock opera Tommy. The original recording was released as a single in 1969 and reached #4 in the UK charts.

The lyrics are written from the perspective of a pinball champion, called “Local Lad” in the Tommy libretto book, astounded by the skills of the opera’s eponymous main character, Tommy Walker: “That deaf, dumb, blind kid sure plays a mean pinball”, and “I thought I was the hobby table king, but I just handed my pinball crown to him.”

Townshend once called it “the most clumsy piece of writing [he’d] ever done”; nevertheless, the song was a gigantic commercial success and one of the most recognized tunes from the opera. It was a perpetual concert favourite for Who fans due to its pop sound and familiarity.

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