"Behind Blue Eyes" is a song by English rock band The Who. It was released in November 1971 as the second single from their fifth album Who's Next and was originally written by Pete Townshend for his Lifehouse project. The song is one of The Who's most well known recordings and has been covered by many artists.
The song starts off with a solo voice singing over an arpeggiated acoustic guitar. A bass guitar and ethereal harmonies are added in later. Eventually, the song breaks out into a full-scale rock anthem when a second theme is introduced near the end - but it ultimately wraps up with a brief reprise of the quieter first theme. Songs written in alternating sections were something of a trademark of Townshend's writing of the period, going back at least to Tommy, where it was used in "Christmas" and "Go to the Mirror!" The guitar riff at the end of the rock anthem section is also used after the bridge during the song "Won't Get Fooled Again", perhaps serving as a link between the two songs when both were intended to be parts of a single rock opera. (There is similar thematic recapitulation in Tommy and Quadrophenia.)
The version of "Behind Blue Eyes" on the original Who's Next album was the second version the band recorded; the first version was recorded at the Record Plant in New York on 18 March 1971 and features Al Kooper on Hammond Organ. The first version was released as a bonus track on the 1995 CD reissue of Who's Next.
Pete Townshend has also recorded two solo versions of the song. One, the original demo of the song, was featured on the Scoop album. The demo along with a newer recording of the song featuring an orchestral backing was featured in The Lifehouse Chronicles.
"Behind Blue Eyes" is sung from the point of view of the main villain of Lifehouse, Jumbo. The lyrics are a first-person lament from Jumbo, who is always angry and full of angst because of all the pressure and temptation that surrounds him, and the song was intended to be his "theme song" had the project been successful.
U.S. chart run:
Cashbox (12 weeks): 82, 68, 54, 44, 37, 30, 26, 25, 24, 24, 38, 47
Roger Daltrey - vocals,
Pete Townshend - acoustic guitar, lead guitar, backing vocals,
John Entwistle - bass guitar, backing vocals,
Keith Moon - drums,
In the media:
This was the song selected for CSI: NY's opening, but the CBS director, Leslie Moonves, chose "Baba O'Riley" instead.,
It was in the close of the season two finale of Cold Case.,
During season two of Californication, Sheryl Crow's cover plays.,
Rupert Giles is depicted performing this song in a coffee house in the Season 4 episode "Where the Wild Thing Are" of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". Anthony Stewart Head actually sang the lyrics himself for this scene.,
Limp Bizkit cover:
"Behind Blue Eyes" was covered by American nu metal group Limp Bizkit. It was released in November 2003 as a single from their album Results May Vary. Limp Bizkit's arrangement is notable for featuring a Speak & Spell during the bridge. The song is followed by a hidden track titled "All That Easy", after a few seconds of silence, so the total length is 6:05. However, the hidden track is not featured in the single release.
Allmusic writer Stephen Thomas Erlewine panned the cover, calling it "boneheaded".
The music video features Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry. It contains scenes from the motion picture, Gothika, in which Berry stars. It depicts Berry and Durst in a relationship similar to the storyline of the film. Upon release, the video received positive reviews from critics, with many complimenting its interpolation of the films' theme.
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)
Germany (Media Control AG)
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)
US Billboard Hot 100
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)
US Mainstream Rock Tracks (Billboard)
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)
End of year chart (2004)
German Singles Chart
"Behind Blue Eyes" has also been covered by numerous other artists, including Bryan Adams, Sheryl Crow, Stratovarius, Elf, Testudo, Ian Stuart Donaldson, Jon English, Pearl Jam, Suzanne Vega, Vanessa Petruo, Silvertide, The Chieftains (some live and recorded versions featuring Roger Daltrey), Skrewdriver, Unknown Hinson, Beat Pitcherz, and Lights.
In Buffy the Vampire Slayer the song had been performed by character Rupert Giles (played by Anthony Stewart Head) in the episode "Where the Wild Things Are".,
Austrian rapper Chakuza and German rapper Bizzy Montana, sampled the song on their free track "Behind Blue Eyes". It's not known if they had sampled The Who's original version or Limp Bizkit's version.,
Crosby, Stills & Nash do a cover of "Behind Blue Eyes" during live performances, calling it "a song we wish we had written".,
Timo Kotipelto and Jani Liimatainen made a version of the song during live performances and later in their studio album Blackoustic.,
Within Temptation made a cover of the song for the Belgian radio station Q music during their special 15 year anniversary program Within Temptation Friday, where the band choose some songs to cover not related to their style of music. The song was then included on their cover album The Q-Music Sessions, released in April 2013.,
The band Spiritual Sin recorded a version of the theme in 2013 for his first album called Downstream, was recorded in an unconventional way, most of the subject in a Magnetophone was recorded giving the song a Vintage Sound,
Famous parody cover version Behind Blue Pants was created in 2014. World wide meme.