The Creepy Story Behind ‘I Can See For Miles’ By The Who
Pete Townshend - Beat-Club / Youtube
One could admit that “I Can See For Miles” is a true The Who’s classic, and its legacy is still appreciated by today’s standards. But unlike its wonderful façade, something menacing lurks at the shadows of this fairly quintessential track.
In terms of success, “I Can See For Miles” became one of the band’s most successful tracks, recorded at The Who’s 1967 LP The Who Sell Out. It’s the band’s highest-charting single in the US, climbing at the top 10. So, there’s no doubt that every Who fan knows this by heart. What about the story? Well, we’ll tell you the rest.
Behind its back, the song is weird in today’s definition of the word. In fact, When Pete Townshend wrote the song after meeting his future wife, Karen, it mirrors the musician’s thoughts that no matter where he is at, he will still keep an eye on her actions. The title pretty much sums up what he thinks. Manipulative and controlling, if you must say.
“I know you’ve deceived me, now here’s a surprise
I know that you have ’cause there’s magic in my eyes”
The conclusive warning that she can’t get out and have fun is a red flag. But still, Townshend made it looked like the song’s lyrics were leaning more on winning back the old love they once shared, rather than a man who obsesses in monitoring his partner. Karen and Pete were married for 40 years until they divorced in 2009.
On another note, this was the song that prompted Paul McCartney to write “Helter Skelter” for their White album. Macca wanted to top the Who’s “most raucous rock ‘n’ roll, the dirtiest thing they’d ever done,” thus the birth of this treasured gem.
For whatever reasons did Pete Townshend wrote about “I Can See For Miles,” one thing’s definite: it deserves its withstanding praise in the annals of rock and roll.