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The Who Tattoo Lyrics

Last updated: 05/17/2009 11:00:00 AM

Me and my brother were talking to each other
'Bout what makes a man a man
Was it brain or brawn, or the month you were born,
We just couldn't understand

Our old man didn't like our appearance
He said that only women wear long hair

So me and my brother borrowed money from Mother
We knew what we had to do
We went downstairs, past the barber and gymnasium
And got our arms tattooed

Welcome to my life, tattoo
I'm a man now, thanks to you
I expect I'll regret you
But the skin graft man won't get you
You'll be there when I die

My dad beat me 'cause mine said "Mother"
But my mother naturally liked it and beat my brother
'Cause his tattoo was of a lady in the nude
And my mother thought that was extremely rude

Welcome to my life, tattoo
We've a long time together, me and you
I expect I'll regret you
But the skin graft man won't get you
You'll be there when I die

Now I'm older, I'm tattooed all over
My wife is tattooed too
A rooty-toot-toot, A rooty-tooty-toot-toot
Rooty-toot-toot tattoo too
To you

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A Personal Favourite | Reviewer: G.B. | 5/16/09

i used to love this song when it first came was just before Tommy blew us all away and I loved the way that some bands would tell little stories with their songs. The Who were always good at this and Tattoo was a great track on a classic album that also gave us "I can see for miles" among others. I was prompted to look up the lyrics as I watch a DVD of the Who made from a film recorded in 1969 featuring many fantastic songs of this era.
And my girlfriend has way more tattoos than I blame The Who?

odd and original | Reviewer: Anonymous | 3/13/09

I put Tattoo alongside Happy Jack and Little Billy and perhaps some other oddball songs written by Townshend that fall in the second-string of the Who catalog, yet are nonetheless cherished by his fans for its oddness and beauty. Like "I'm a Boy", Townshend here grapples with gender identity and wonders what makes a man, a man. The melody is beautiful in a peculiar sort of way, and coupled with phrases like "the skin graft man won't get you", you can be assured that you are hearing a one of a kind. Like much of the material on Tommy, you shouldn't fall in love with Tattoo in the first couple of listens, but eventually you will.

An Overlooked Who Classic | Reviewer: Mitch | 4/14/07

Tattoo is one of the better tracks on the often overlooked classic Who album, Sellout. The entire album is done as a Radio London broadcast. It was one of the most original concept albums ever made. It is also a precursor to Tommy, and all the other glorious Who music that follows this 1966 masterpiece.