So apparently, if it weren’t for this song, Charles Manson never would have heard the Beatles “Helter Skelter” and have murdered all those people. Legend goes that Paul McCartney read that this song was the “heaviest” ever made, and without even hearing it, took it upon himself to write a metal song, a genre that didn’t really exist yet. The funny thing is, this song is not that heavy. It’s a beautiful psychedelic pop song wrapped up in themes of revenge, be them romantic or otherwise. It’s funny because as I write this, I do recall reading something from Paul McCartney when he finally heard the alleged Who song in question, sort of laughing at the “false” inspiration. Amazingly, the folks at Wikipedia have the quote for us all to enjoy,
“Umm, that came about just ’cause I’d read a review of a record which said, ‘and this group really got us wild, there’s echo on everything, they’re screaming their heads off.’ And I just remember thinking, ‘Oh, it’d be great to do one. Pity they’ve done it. Must be great — really screaming record.’ And then I heard their record and it was quite straight, and it was very sort of sophisticated. It wasn’t rough and screaming and tape echo at all. So I thought, ‘Oh well, we’ll do one like that, then.’ And I had this song called “Helter Skelter,” which is just a ridiculous song. So we did it like that, ‘cuz I like noise.”
Interesting stuff, but that’s all besides the point. The point, if you must know, is that “I Can See For Miles” is indeed awesome. It features some of the best hard rock psychedelic harmonies the Who ever achieved, driving the song with force into the psychedelic expanse. The video below is also great even though it’s a mimed performance. The Who had trouble replicating the overdubs live, contributing to the fact that they never played it much on stage, at least when Keith Moon was living. Anyway, enjoy this sucker, because its one of the best ever.