By Hayden Wright
The Who’s remastered super deluxe edition of My Generation goes on sale next month, and the band has previewed some bonus material fans will enjoy on the release. “The Girls I Could Have Had” was written for the 1965 debut album and has never been released — now you can stream it online.
Pete Townshend wrote and recorded the song in his Chesham Place apartment where title track “My Generation” was written. He told NME that in 1965, the song didn’t jive with the direction other band members wanted to take on the album.
“I have often said about my early songs that I tried hard to appeal to Roger’s sense of late teenage machismo,” he said. “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.”
Lyrically, the song describes the “girls [Townshend] could have had” if he weren’t toiling away at making rock music.
“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,” he said. “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 reissue of My Generation is available November 18. Listen to the new song here: