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BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 24: Pete Townshend (R) and Roger Daltrey of The Who perform on stage at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on March 24, 2009 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

WCSX Classic Cuts

The Who: “Substitute”

The Hook: Their label felt American audiences weren’t ready for a certain line in the song.

Album: Initially a non-LP single here. The version on Live at Leeds is the best known in America, while the original U.K. single was finally released here on the 1971 compilation, Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy.

Year:
U.S. and U.K. singles -1966; Live at Leeds – 1970

Writer: Pete Townshend

Stats: Never charted in the U.S. Reached number-five in the U.K. in 1966 and number-seven there when reissued in 1976.

Background: “Substitute” is one of The Who’s most enduring songs, but although it was a hit twice in the U.K., it never charted in the U.S. Singer Roger Daltrey recalls that they were forced by their record label to change a line in the single here in America — and that The Who were not happy about it.

Who singer Roger Daltrey on the original American single version of “Substitute.” OC:…it’s ridiculous. :15

“They had to change a line – ‘I look all white, but my dad was black.’ We had to change it for over here, because they thought it could incite racial disharmony. So we changed it to, ‘But my feet walk back,’ or something stupid. I mean, it was like, ‘Oh God, it’s ridiculous.’”