When you get to the 1:25 mark of Pete Townshend‘s demo for “Doctor Jimmy,” from the spectacularly fascinating Quadrophenia box set, listen closely and tell me what’s missing from the album version, the version we know so well and listened to while trying to make sense of our teenage angst.[audio:https://www.rocktownhall.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/10-Doctor-Jimmy-DemoDemo-Version.mp3|titles=”Doctor Jimmy” (Demo)]
On the record, doesn’t Roger sing “Her fella’s gonna kill me/Ah, fuck him will he” or “…Ah, fuckin’ will he”? Growing up, couldn’t we (ie, those old enough to have lived in the post-prudish/pre-neo-prudish era from the 1970s to at least into the late-1980s) hear that nasty word on FM radio?* In the privacy of his home studio was Pete too prudish to sing the word, or has it been garbled for deluxe reissue purposes? It sounds to me like it was garbled after the fact. Was Pete that much a prude then, when he cut the demo, or has he become one now, perhaps in hopes that his demo version will begin getting airplay and outshine the sterling full-band version, the one on which Roger sings “fuck” as boldly as he does the previous couplet about deflowering a young woman? As I mentioned on last week’s Saturday Night Shut-In, there’s a treasure trove of psychodereliction evident in the 2 CDs of Townshend demos.
<small>*As an aside, does anyone else recall the “fuck” in The Who’s “Who Are You” the first curse word in a big United States FM radio song to be garbled? Or maybe it was the “black girls just want to get fucked all night” line in The Rolling Stones’ “Some Girls” that first got this treatment?</small>