Why Is It Called Baba O’Riley?

Welcome! Have you ever heard the iconic rock classic ‘Baba O’Riley’? It is a timeless song from the legendary rock band The Who.

What’s so intriguing about this song, however, is its unusual name. Why is it called ‘Baba O’Riley’?

In this article, we will explore the fascinating backstory behind the popular song. So settle in and learn more about the story behind the name ‘Baba O’Riley’.

Why Is It Called Baba O’Riley?

The song “Baba O’Riley” is one of the most popular and enduring songs of The Who, the classic British rock band, and the title of the song has perplexed many of the band’s fans. Though the lyrics make no mention of the name Baba O’Riley, the song is one of the most famous and recognizable rock tunes of all time.

So why exactly is this piece of music called “Baba O’Riley”?

The Meaning Behind the Song Title Baba O’Riley

The title of “Baba O’Riley” has nothing to do with its lyrical content, which is about teenage wasteland.

The members of The Who, who wrote the music for the song, had originally wanted to call it “Teenage Wasteland,” but their producer, Glyn Johns, suggested that they change the title to “Baba O’Riley”, which was inspired by two of the band’s major influences, Meher Baba, an Indian guru, and Terry Riley, the American minimalist and avant-garde composer.

The Influences Behind Baba O’Riley

Lead vocalist of The Who and primary songwriter Pete Townshend was a follower of Meher Baba, an Indian mystic and spiritual leader.

Though not mentioned in the song lyrics, Meher Baba heavily inspired the writing and production of the song. Terry Riley was another major influence on “Baba O’Riley”. Riley was a pioneer of minimalism in classical music, and he had a major influence on Townshend’s music, particularly “Baba O’Riley”.

The Synthesizer Connections to Baba O’Riley

The synthesizer used on the song is also connected to the title. Pete Townshend had originally intended to use a regular Mellotron on “Baba O’Riley,” however he wasn’t able to obtain one and instead had to rely on a VCS3 synthesizer.

This synthesizer was owned by keyboardist John Entwistle and was christened ‘My Baba O’Riley’ by Entwistle, referring to its playability.


So there you have it: the intriguing meaning behind The Who’s classic song “Baba O’Riley”, which is a tribute to two of the band’s major influences, Meher Baba and Terry Riley. Now next time you hear this song, you can appreciate it not just for its musicality and electric energy, but also for the references to these two iconic personalities.

Citation URL:https://www. historyofrockmusic. com/the-who/baba-o-riley. htm https://www. grunge. com/189720/the-real-story-behind-the-whos-baba-oriley/

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