Bob Dylan Says Pete Townshend’s ‘My Generation’ Does No Favors For Anyone

Music and poetry have gone hand in hand for centuries since lyrics are often as important as the melody. So, perhaps, his songwriting talent distinguished Bob Dylan as a musician since he has been masterfully infusing poetry into his music. In his new book, however, Dylan didn’t focus on his poetry as he discussed other musicians’ tracks. One of those tracks was the Who’s ‘My Generation,’ written by Pete Townshend. In an exclusive excerpt shared by New York Times, Dylan addressed the song and reflected on his thoughts.

Dylan’s new book, ‘The Philosophy Of Modern Song,’ has enabled the musician to share his thoughts and feelings on other popular tracks. The singer focused on the poetry of various hits, and the inspiring and complex lyrics of ‘My Generation’ made it only fair for Bob Dylan to write about the song.

The musician expressed that the Who classic was a song that did no favors to anyone and cast doubt on everything. The rock icon remarked that in ‘My Generation,’ the lyrics target the people who try to vilify you and ‘slap you around,’ as they want to take you down. The singer explained that these people hate you so much because you are bold and willing to ‘pull out all the stops.’

Many hate those who put their soul and energy into a purpose. Dylan emphasized that people despise you, or the persona in ‘My Generation,’ as you are inspired, which makes them ‘allergic’ to you. Your presence intimidates these people. They give you ‘frosty looks’ since they’ve had enough of your spirit, and there were millions of others, just like you, multiplying every day.

Bob Dylan’s reflection on ‘My Generation’:

“This is a song that does no favors for anyone and casts doubt on everything.

In this song, people are trying to slap you around, slap you in the face, vilify you. They’re rude, and they slam you down, take cheap shots. They don’t like you because you pull out all the stops and go for broke. You put your heart and soul into everything and shoot the works because you got energy and strength, and purpose.

Because you’re so inspired, they put the whammy on, they’re allergic to you, and they have hard feelings. Just your very presence repels them. They give you frosty looks, and they’ve had enough of you, and there’s a million others just like you, multiplying every day.”

The musician reflected that the song presents a persona that everyone hates since they are passionate and willing to ‘go for broke’ to achieve what they want. People look down on them, or ‘you,’ since your presence is a threat. Yet, even if they have had enough, millions of others will follow and act like you.