I was a just turning teen when this came out. It always seemed to me that it was really was sung by an older generation dream of taking the world back from the younger generation (...children at our feet and the morals that they worshipped will be gone), craving that old time moral/religious order (Sit in judgment of all wrong, They decide and the shotgun sings the song). Kind of Old Testament.
That new constitution/revolution sounds like a scaling back of the perfectly fine constitution (which allows the younger generations freedom of speech/thought) that we had. [Apologies for the American perspective there.] "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss" - politicians/ruling class (the ones the youngers are rebelling against) retains, even cements its hold on power.
BTW, I always heard that 'left out' line as:
If we happen to be left out, we lie
Sound systems were'nt so good back then, but that's still how it sounds to me.
The ironic thing is they "don't get fooled again"
but everything is just the same. Or worse.
Powerful Song for Today | Reviewer: Marty | 8/2/11
I've been listening to this song since it first hit the airwaves, but I believe its message is more relative today than it has ever been. Whether a bloody revolution is on the horizon, I don't know, but it is clear that neither the left nor the right can trust politicians to do anything to improve our society.
Don't over analize stuff. | Reviewer: Matt Coombes | 6/1/11
The be simplistic; the ethos of the song is; whereas revolution, social upheaval and political change are sometimes welcomed and necessary, it's just replacing one system with another, handing on the baton of power from one person to another and power ultimately corrupts, hence "meet the new boss, same as the old boss"
the double meaning | Reviewer: Anonymous | 5/24/11
I think that the song is a double commentary on both violent revolutions like those in China and Russia and on the cultural upeaval of the sixties and seventies. It may have been a way for Townsend to comment on how his generation was becoming mainstream while disguising to ensure all-around ppopularity. It is the opposite of an earlier song of theirs, 'My Generation'.
A Song With Many Meanings | Reviewer: Mr Zero
Depending on the listener this song has many meanings. I believe it was a Sid Barret quote that said "If a song has more than one meaning, it reaches more people, I tnink." I may have the words out of order but that was the general meaning.
Do ya? | Reviewer: jon knight | 3/26/11
Everyone seems to focus on the last line. The sweet meat is found in these lines:
I'll move myself and my family aside
If we happen to be left half alive
I'll get all my papers and smile at the sky
For I know that the hypnotized never lie
It's a recognition of who humanity is, how the collective thinks (or fails to think). It's a recognition that we, as a whole, are responsible for what we 'get'. It's a recognition that for the singer, there's nothing left to do but hope he and his live through it.
don't get fooled | Reviewer: Anonymous | 2/18/11
The key line in this song is the very last one...
"Meet the boss - same as the old boss"
For whatever the writer was preaching throughout the song he ends by saying...nothing has changed.
What Happened? | Reviewer: anonymous | 2/3/11
Well, some of the reviews were insightful. However, this song has an incredible message in that it appeals to ones soul to excersise their rights as human beings to think and act for ones self and yet the writer recognizes that most of us are followers and want a leader to tell us how to think. Did that get your ire up? thought it might? Think about it where did the real revolutionists go? Did they die with the founding fathers who knew what power words had and the need for freedom of speech and right to live with true freedom, not jusy doing everything so as to be politically correct... Think about this song in this context, what do you see???
freeman | Reviewer: Anonymous | 2/4/11
It is about politics in particular the politics of the left , some clues clues are new constituiton, "the fall" both objectives of leftis, anti God references. A new consitution not based on natural rights and a balnce of power required account of "the fall" a theological position. Leftist, total government politics is evil and Towsend nails it.
Nothing to do with US Politics | Reviewer: Jeff
I read an interview years ago about this song and Townsend said it had nothing to do with Politics, but the state of the left movement during the 60's.
He explained in the interview how the hippees and the leftest made all the promises for freedom and liberal rights, but Townsend stated that liberal or right, you still get the same cheating political crap.
Actually this IS about America and the UK | Reviewer: Will See | 1/18/11
This song originally came out just before the 1972 election, when Nixon was running against McGovern for President and the Vietnam war was (like today) dragging on and on, as people began to see though it as a fallen cause of "morality". The US was actually on the verge of Revolutions (Beatles song) as people looked to new leadership or a NEW BOSS. Like others, I supposed that Pete Townsend was being cynical, but a good friend of mine met the Who and talked with them for a while and he claims they actually were Optimistic a real Change could come. But of course it did not, and the NEW Boss, was the SAME as the Old Boss, when Nixon was re-elected. The Theme rings true today with both political parties controlled by the same bloody banksterss who create wars, suffering and economic terror.
Meet the New Boss ,Same As The Old Boss | Reviewer: Bob Davey
The song has many interpretations:
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. The line to end the song says everything about what the song is saying. It is a politician, it is a workplace superior, it is many things but very political.
The song really should end with "meet the new boss, same as the old boss, we can't get fooled again".
Parties or Partings!! | Reviewer: Tigerthang
I always thought of 'Won't Get Fooled Again' as a political song, mainly because as a kid I always thought the line:
'And the PARTING on the left
Is now the PARTING on the right'
'And the PARTIES on the left
Is now the PARTIES on the right'!
With the so called 'parties' being a reference to how there is a thin line between the 'far left' and the 'far right' meaning Socialism and Fascism.
When I got into my teens I began to think 'Is it Parties or Partings!'
With a reference to how the clothes and hairstyles of the 60’s British 'Mod-scene' changed from week to week to express what was 'cool'!
To me this still had a political meaning, indicating so called ‘dictatorships’ and ‘followers’, and also on how we all like to think of ourselves as individuals or leaders, yet we all end up being controlled in one way or another.
So today I decided to check the lyrics, once and for all, only to find that the whole song is a 'political' land mind of possible meanings!
It would seem that there must be a lot of 'beards growing longer overnight’ just thinking what is it all about!
The Danger of Ideology | Reviewer: Anonymous | 10/21/10
Great song, especially because it sparks some engagement with the lyrics and their meaning in ways that few rock songs do. I read it as a statement about the dangers of ideology and demogogues, especially when WE follow leaders who insist on killing for the sake of an idea. It doesn't matter what the idea is, but once ideas matter more than human beings, violence and the silencing of debate and expression are a likely result, because we all know that the "hypnotized never lie", but they can be led to do whatever their hypnotizer wants. If we all think before we dive into a movement, then maybe the new boss will finally be different from the old one.
A song with some truth | Reviewer: ratkellar | 10/13/10
Fun song. It rocks. Van Hagar covered it well, too.
It is not a "political" song in the way of taking sides. It does not assign blame, but does imply that the Labor/Tory changes or the Liberal-Conservative-Liberal-conservative roller coaster is always the same as the old boss. (Pre-Thatcher, of course.) It could be taken to be completely anti-government, or just anti-big government, or anti-Liberal or anti-conservative, or anti-labor or anti-tories -- depending on who is popular at the moment.
I think it mostly anti-government since nobody is named, but all parties exercise power when they become "Boss."