Next month, the Who will release a huge box-set special edition of My Generation, their 1965 debut album. The set, which will be available in a mammoth five-disc set, includes a few previously unreleased songs, and one of those songs is “The Girls I Could’ve Had,” a fairly atypical song for this band. It’s a whole lot bluesier than most of the young band’s faster, fiery numbers, and it’s also the rare Who song that’s about not getting laid. Below, listen to the demo version of the song that Pete Townshend recorded in his London apartment, and read what Townshend has to say about it.
And here’s what Townshend says about the song in a statement to The Guardian:
I have often said about my early songs that I tried hard to appeal to Roger’s sense of late teenage machismo. Either that, or I attempted to sound like Jan & Dean so that Keith Moon — who was a surf music fan – would get behind the song. Here, a rather machismo and bragging song slipped away because it was more about me than Roger Daltrey, and certainly not a surf number. It’s about my lack of success with girls when I lived at Chesham Place, partly because I spent all my time in my studio. Roger did very well with girls; it would never have worked for him to sing this lyric. The lyric is also fantastical. I make it sound as though I was turning down girls every day. In real life I was probably piqued that rarely happened. My tape machine was my mistress.
The special edition of My Generation is out 11/18.