site logo

The Who Behind Blue Eyes Lyrics

Last updated: 08/08/2014 04:18:35 PM

Written by Pete Townshend

No one knows what it's like to be the bad man
To be the sad man behind blue eyes
No one knows what it's like
To be hated, to be fated to telling only lies

But my dreams, they aren't as empty
As my conscience seems to be
I have hours, only lonely
My love is vengeance that's never free

No one knows what it's like
To feel these feelings like I do and I blame you!
No one bites back as hard on their anger
None of my pain and woe can show through

But my dreams, they aren't as empty
As my conscience seems to be
I have hours only lonely
My love is vengeance, that's never free

When my fist clenches, crack it open
Before I use it and lose my cool
When I smile, tell me some bad news
Before I laugh and act like a fool

And If I swallow anything evil
Put your finger down my throat
And If I shiver, please give me a blanket
Keep me warm, let me wear your coat

No one knows what it's like to be the bad man
To be the sad man behind blue eyes

Thanks to Crystal Hobbs / for submitting Behind Blue Eyes Lyrics.

write a review for this song
(Important: Use a nickname if you don't want your name to be published) Type your review in the space below:

Blue Eyes term in prison | Reviewer: M | 8/6/14

All I know is what I learned from a person who had a choice between going to prison or joining the military. He chose military; and to my surprise I worked along side him when I found out his past. He talked about prison terminology and the term "Blue Eyes" (sexual predator to all ages of children and women). So the song means to me much more from the perspective of what this person described would happen to those who came into the prison system termed "Blue Eyes".

empty | Reviewer: mick | 5/10/13

to me it is about Jesus, who we can never be ,we can never feel what he felt when he had to die. listen to Keith Jarret's song "You don't know what love is" Concert in Deer Head Inn.To me it is the next song after the WHO's to listen. L U ALL. Did you liked the song?

Behind Blue Eyes (Isn't there a little of this song in all of us?) | Reviewer: Layla | 3/5/13

Although, this song is commonly accepted to be from the point of view of Jumbo, the villain from Pete Townshend's abandoned Lifehouse project, like all well written songs, it's easy to find multiple meanings. In this case of this particular song, I think that it evokes so much sympathy (and perhaps better to say is empathy) for the speaker that the themes and ideas of the piece can describe many circumstances.

I heard this song for the first time when I was seventeen and I had broken up with my first boyfriend. So, of course when I heard this piece, the idea of it being from the point of view of a villain never crossed my mind. To me, in that moment, the song was about being misunderstood for feeling too much (feeling too sad, or too angry, or too resentful). It was also about the self-pity some of us feel when in those situations; the idea we get that no one else understands us. And, in all honesty, each experience is completely unique, so know one will ever completely understand everything about how we may feel. This song is about feeling alone and misunderstood--something I think all of us have felt at one point.

And now, to address the chorus. Here, upon listening closer, is where you can most clearly see evidence of this song being written by a villainous character. However, without knowing the backstory of the song, and even after knowing it, I remember back to the first time I heard this song. The speaker talks about empty dreams, which for me seemed to represent a lack of interest in moving on, towards the future. The interesting part of the chorus to me is how the speaker says "my dreams aren't as empty as my conscience SEEMS to be"--he doesn't say "is". He feels that his conscience is empty, perhaps due to feelings of resent and anger, but this doesn't make him psychopathic.

However, the line that still resonates the most with me is "my love is vengeance, that's never free." Again, in the moment when I first heard this song, I thought of the resent I felt towards my ex and my friends that had chosen sides, but how I never acted upon the desires I had to hurt them like they hurt me. That's the desire for vengeance that's never free. And, I think it's rather common when one cannot show love towards someone that they love or loved, that their love shifts towards an obsession with vengeance.

Well, that's just an example of how this song produces such strong emotion and empathy for the speaker--because regardless of how this song originated, I think there's a little something for everyone in this song. So, it's written from the perspective of a villain. Aren't we all incredibly flawed human beings? And that's the power of this song: that it can apply to so many different circumstances.

real talk | Reviewer: Anonymous | 11/11/11

im not going to sit here and explain to you what the who was thinking when they wrote this (whether or not i was alive at the time), a psychological analysis, or anything extreme.

heres what i get from this song: this guys perceived as "bad", maybe a modern day "bad boy" and this song is showing the "sensitive side" that some of these guys have. i can sort of relate, not being the most morally conscious individual, but i'm thinking that this guy just does a whole lot of selfish/immoral/disrespectful things and is trying to show hes got some personality beneath it all. and it also seems like hes been beaten down and hurt in the past, and hes trying to justify his actions in this song by saying that those who hate him so much created him. "no one knows what its like" implies that the majority of people will probably never see what hes trying to show, or he will not allow it to show, for hes too ashamed and probably thinks itll just be an act and no one will buy it. so yeah, a self aware narcissist, with a lot of pent up emotion that will never be seen.

My Two Cents | Reviewer: Anonymous | 10/17/11

In my humble opinion, this man is trying to be real with himself but is caught in the crosshairs of misandry and/or what society demands him to be. He is being perceived as a bad man if he stands up for what he believes. He is being perceived as a freak if he smiles or laughs or shows his happy mood. Though he feels pain and anguish from the torment and/or manipulation that has been inflicted upon him by others (possibly the opposite sex), he must reluctantly bite his tongue so that he isn't exploited or painted in a bad light.

The song Behind Blue Eyes | Reviewer: Jonathan | 9/28/11

I agree with most of the postings on here in regard to Behind Blue Eyes and yes there are times that there may not be any specific meaning to it other then it is a song. Every one finds meaning in songs I know have for well over 35 years now. Each song that I have liked has meaning period. Some are funny, some are serious, but I can pretty much guaranty that my reasons for liking a song or what it means to me may not have anything to to with the reasons that the song was made. I love this song and that is all there is to it, just like all the others mean something to me. People ask questions about things and they are not stupid because they do. Just something to think about

It Is Just A Song | Reviewer: Anonymous | 7/30/11

It is Just a song why sit and analyze it. There are tons of songs that hold mean for a lot of people and they don't sit and tear those songs apart. The Who and Pete Townsend was the happening of the time when this came out. No one really listened to the lyrics if it was a popular band it was a popluar song.

About this song | Reviewer: Anonymous | 7/20/11

"Lifehouse was a science fiction rock opera by The Who intended as a follow-up to Tommy. It was abandoned as a rock opera in favour of creating the traditional rock album, Who's Next, though its songs would appear on various albums and singles by The Who, as well as Pete Townshend solo albums.Behind Blue Eyes is sung from the point of view of the main villain of Lifehouse, Jumbo. The lyrics are a first-person lament from Jumbo, who is always angry and full of angst because of all the pressure and temptation that surrounds him, and the song was intended to be his "theme song" had the project been successful."

An Altenative View | Reviewer: Anonymous | 7/15/11

I think it's about someone who has sunk so low that they rely on and cling to the one person who still loves them, it's a sad song about a deeply unhappy person who is angry at the world that has made them what they are, there is also a lot of inward anger and his conscience only 'seems' to be empty. He does not perhaps feel worthy of expressing his true feelings or is ashamed of them. I think what the song is trying to say is that there is a lot more going on beneath the surface and that even the most hated people can have something to say that's worth listening to, that often it is circumstance that makes people who they are.
Or maybe i'm reading too much into a song.

wtf is that | Reviewer: Anonymous | 5/12/11

who the hell does that guy think he is? trying to diagnose this song like its an actual person. take your psychology and shove it dude, its a fucking song not to be picked apart by some pencil neck geek

its easy to judge | Reviewer: @anonymous | 5/2/11

Its so easy to sit on your high horse and diagnose this man. The hard part is being honest with yourself like he did and accepting that these feelings, which are not very nice and won't win him many friends, are real and part of him.

That's something to respect.

Now why he decided to tell the world about it, I don't know. Maybe he wants to stop faking and be accepted for who he is. Whatever the case may be, being honest is the first step to fixing your problems.

Behind Blue Eyes - Diagnostic Criteria of NPD | Reviewer: Anonymous | 4/12/11

The person is a narcissist. He has a personality disorder which is listed in the DSM-IV under Axis II, Cluster B. He hates himself, has no conscience, blames others, and punishes them; "his love is never free". He uses others, takes their things, lies pathologically, and "dreams", living in a fantasy world of misperceptions. He makes a fool of himself, is always on stage, and he is impulsive and prone to violence and abuse when angered. This is a sad song, in that this person ceases to exist without the audience, which he must play to; or he believes they will hate him. His existance is a lie, and he must portray himself falsely because he believes that not only is he unloved, but also unlovable. Stay away from people like this. They will suck you dry.

ffs... | Reviewer: TruthSinger | 2/25/11

just because you cretins desperately want to express your faggy pent up feelings that erupt when you embrace the sadness of your emoness.

u will not be able to get the original meaning behind a song, all you guys are doing is revealing your own psychological hang-ups.

talkin bout jesus, racism, and every other extreme and in-between you can think about.

just because you CAN shout in an abandonned car park, you do not automatically do it.
so think before you write, or speak. or just dont.

my point of view | Reviewer: Austin | 2/22/11

it's all about people smilin before you and not meaning it on the inside
Mixed feeling: his pretence of love is vengeance and he cant control such things but try to move on with life.
Love this song!

Snake | Reviewer: Pau | 2/10/11

I would go for the dark side of love, when your feelings have touched ground and disappointment breaks your heart. You try to feel, to act normally, but your heart is gone and hatred rushes through, wanting to take it all and corrupt what it used to be beauty, for misery likes company... While darkness spreads quickly, reason stays still, and you have to pretend, in order to preserve all beauty you've learn to hold on to. Lies come naturally, 'cause no one can understand. To push people out, so they won't come around you and get hurt. You are the bad, the lonely one, forced to be strong and keep quiet, but in the inside you are weak, about to die. You are agonizing in the freezing cold, desperately looking for a small bit of life in somebody else's warm and pure heart.