Eminence Front Lyrics - The Who

Review The Song (33)



Eminence Front, The Who: Ultimate Collection
written by Pete Townshend

The sun shines
People forget
The spray flies as the speedboat glides
People forget
Forget they're hiding
The girls smile
People forget
The snow packs as the skier tracks
People forget
Forget they're hiding.

Behind an eminence front
Eminence front - It's a put-on.
It’s an eminence front
It’s an eminence front – It’s a put-on
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An eminence front
Eminence front - put-on
Eminence front
It’s an eminence front
I’ts an eminence front – It’s a put-on
It’s a put-on
It’s a put-on
It’s a put-on

Come and join the party
Dress to kill
Won't you come and join the party
Dress to kill
Dress to kill.

The drinks flow
People forget
That big wheel spins, the hair thins
People forget
Forget they're hiding
The news slows
People forget
The shares crash, hopes are dashed
People forget
Forget they're hiding.

Behind an eminence front
An eminence front - it's a put-on
It is an eminence front
Eminence front – It’s a put-on
An eminence front
An eminence front - put-on
Eminence front
It’s an eminence front - it's a put-on
It’s a put-on
It’s a put-on
It’s a put-on

Come and join the party
Dress to
Come and join the party
Dress to
Come on join the party
Dress to
Come and join the party
Dress to kill

Dress yourself to kill.






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Thanks for the celestial ride! | Reviewer: Suzanne | 7/27/14

"Eminence Front" is the most delicious, exquisite, complicated, unique rock music I have heard in a long time. I would put it right up there with "Good Vibrations" by the Beach Boys; another wonderful complicated music invention.

Eminence Front I believe is a slap in the face of all the rah…rah…self-important, phony-baloney, good time, rock'n'rolling sycophantic parasites that rock Gods, like The Who, have to put up with. There is a little of that in the song and now that I have the lyrics, I understand it better. Not only am I losing my hair ("the big wheel spins, the hair thins") and looks, I'm losing my hearing! How I got "Living in the Funk" from "Eminence Front," I will never know. It is sad, but we all turn to crap eventually. Eminence Front was placed on on my Sonos yesterday. Yeah! I love it, can play it till my brains fall out. It appears that Eminence Front is about people assuming the pose of the good life, but not really living. At any rate, the music and the composition are just remarkable. How do they do it?

"Eminence Front" starts out with a seductive, tender and soft instrumental. The piano and xylophone synthesizer come in at 12 seconds. At 40 seconds BAM! Baby BAM! The drums enter the score, then you really get a taste of what's coming. It is a wake up call. They have been lulling us into their web of magical music, now we have to brace ourselves; something big is coming. The guitar enters at l minute 20 seconds and at 2 minutes the lyrics start. At 2 minutes 39 seconds the title "Eminence Front" arrives and you go, Wow! That is profound! I have never heard such an eloquent description of wasted, fraudulent lives. "The shares crash, hopes are dashed" oh yeah…..that is living in our material world. At 3 minutes 18 seconds, there is a little instrumental bridge and at 3 minutes 25 seconds there is this incredible chord change right down the scale: "Come and join the party. Dress to kill. Won't you come and join the party. Dress to kill. Dress to kill." Man, it is breath-taking. The chord change takes place again at 5 minutes 54 seconds with basically the same lyrics, this time the chords go up. At 5 minutes 36 seconds: "Dress yourself to kill." Wham! The music and everything stops. You, the listener, has been seduced into a mellow lift off on an amusement ride at Disney Land and you end up in a rocket inundated with celestial wondrous and seemingly unending frequencies. You wish this music could go on forever. But everything stops and the vehicle is suddenly out of gas. Boom! Time to come back to earth.

Townsends Timeless Truths | Reviewer: Ashamed Of My Generation | 5/4/13

Just as with "Won't Get Fooled Again", these lyrics are timeless. They applied to the court of Gengis Khan, they applied to the Roman Emperor's orgies, they applied to Hitler, his henchmen, and his officers as they danced in the Eagle's Nest, and it applied to my generation, the baby boomers, who had protested in the 60's and early 70's and made much-need change happen but now were largely going for the gold and the power Monday to Friday and partying their brains away on the weekend.

And the behaviours continue to repeat to this very day....I mean, how many times has the stock market crashed since the late 70's? and who REALLY suffered for it every time?

Musical evolution at it's finest. | Reviewer: James | 12/26/12

Brilliant. It begins and then adds layers, building on top of the previous layer, barely connecting, but merging beautifully, drawing us into the opening lyrics that begin building the argument, gliding on and echoing the same path, mentally-emotionally. They merge carrying each other, holding each other up, exposing the self delusional fraud, in a musical envelope of irresistible truth. Musical evolution at its finest.

Gillan | Reviewer: Anonymous | 11/22/12

There's no hidden meaning in this song. It's right there in the open. It about people "fronting"...putting on a front, and forgetting who and what they really are.

On a funny note, I heard a friend of mine singing along to this song....he was singing "...Livin' in a swamp...it's a put on"

Only the Who knows where it came from... | Reviewer: WhizKid | 7/19/12

It is a haunting song, one I really love. I cannot say more because artists create by tuning into the ether and come up with something greater than themselves. Then we plug into the ether ourselves and let it take our souls to a better place.

stop hiding behind your veil | Reviewer: Cameron Kirby | 2/3/12

This track represents a union of cross-cultural revolutions. Its lyrics can be debated, both from an artistic and shock perspective. End of the day - can everyone just agree that this guitar riff is one of the greatest of all time?! It has as much soul as any Robert Johnson 4-bar. Muddy was proud when he heard it. Buddy Guy has covered this tune. Nuff said.

ironically the lyrics tell us plenty about your song analyses | Reviewer: Your Friend | 1/4/12

First of all, no hating, just insights here: I read all the comments and most every one is thoughtful and valid.

But drop back to basics and common sense derived from your own experience to understand why this song is great. For example, Sarte [per earlier comment] is a fine insight, but we need not understand existentialism to define the power of this song. Additionally, we need not understand the 80's party people or drug habits or even The Who as a band.

All of these filters in your attempts to understand the song DO "work" and give insight; to a person, for example, studying philosophy or variously to a person who lived the 80's or etc. etc. But ironically, just consult the song: All these filters are . . . yes, you got it, just a put-on. For whatever your eminence front is, possibly?

The song's power is much more basic, the same basics that power all great art and propaganda: it works on multiple levels, for multiple people. And mostly this includes the multiple "people" that are in YOU, think about that.

Be honest - when your consciousness first sorted this song out of the thousands of others vying for your attention, you might have just discerned . . . . hmm, they're saying something about a front, a put-on . . . and maybe this resonated with you?

It's universal, you know, realizing at some point that someone else is full of B.S., and some aspect of them that you took seriously had then become suddenly transparent to you? . . . also it's universal, the relatively slower coming understanding that life in general is full of B.S. . . . and finally, isn't it also universally true, though not recognized by all, that (myself included) we ourselves are ALSO full of B.S.?

This subtle but very real construct in everybody's existence, which has nothing specifically to do with Roger or Pete or The Who, was likely defined for you, in your mind's language, BY THE SONG. Consciously or unconsciously. As you discovered the different levels of B.S. in the world, get it?

As each level of B.S. is identified . . . The flash of recognition, the bit of cynicism plus the bit of relaxation that enters you as you realize you don't have to take something at face value . . . oh, ok this is just a put-on too . .. they're just fronting . . . hiding . . .

And of course you never would have heard the lyrics -- heard them mostly unconsciously btw -- if you first weren't led to the feeding trough by the awesome groove, a timeless composition. The groove piped you there and kept your mind open so those peeps claiming "its the groove" are right too.

kindest regards.

the jam | Reviewer: Anonymous | 12/23/11

to the earlier anon hater:

bunch of fans here, and clueless you. It ain't about Who being a good band or not - which of course they are, but we won't bother getting into that right now - it's about the *song* being good! (That being said: I'm not going to defend anything contemporary with this, except maybe You Better You Bet.)

No rule that says once a band leaves their heyday they can't put out the occasional genius product. Heck, even Aerosmith might release a good song again one day?

The rhythm section groove, alone, crushes you. The melodic bass parts; the 2/4 fill bar; even Townshend's screw-up in the first chorus - which they fixed later, but it's fine w/ me; (if band ain't going to fix when it's fresh, then why bother later?); The breakdown; etc.

Now, I've given (brief) reasons why it's the jam, but u give no reasons why it ain't.

All about the 1% | Reviewer: A thinker I am not | 12/10/11

This song is about socialites and the rich playing in their boats, on the slopes, at the parties and the clubs. It's about the lifestyle that appears to be glamorous and free, yet is instead disguised in self-denial about one's personal failings and the vicissitudes of life. And when it all comes crashing down the humbleness of failure reminds us all that we are hiding behind an Eminence Front.

Its About Hiding from Your Own Mortality | Reviewer: Sue Thslayer | 8/29/11

The "everydayness" of life preoccupies us to the point that we "forget" that its all pointless i.e. that we're all gonna' die some day. All of these things which we think are so important or situations that we believe to be so grave are actually trivial and meaningless. But its not necessarily a passive amnesia. Many (most?)people actively "hide" behind these "fronts" of seriousness. Read Jean-Paul Sartre for more info.

Great Song! | Reviewer: beeggs | 5/25/11


Townsend wrote great songs in more styles than anyone other than Lennon And McCartney.
I have to admit though, as a kid, when I first heard the song I thought Roger was saying "Tenement Slut". I soon recognised my mystake, but I still sing the song with that line and several others of my own devising.

meh | Reviewer: Eminence | 10/19/10

This song is like any other song that's every been writen. It has a meaning that the writer was trying to say, and the meaning of each person that hears it. Everyone has a different interpertation of what a song means. That's the beuty of music. It means what the person listening to it thinks it means. For me, it just got good melodies and catchy groove.

Just good music, who cares what it is about! | Reviewer: Anonymous | 9/8/10

I have heard this song a lot over the years and I couldn't understand what they were saying...I just liked the rhythm and music! Once I was able to look up the playlist on my radio station, I found the lyrics and artist...and all of these comments! Can't we just enjoy music for music's sake anymore?

Drugs | Reviewer: Phil | 8/15/10

This song has absolutely nothing to do with being molested by a Catholic Priest. It's all about the effects of cocaine. It causes people to party harder and have a good time, but afterwords, "people forget".

This song is NOT about sexual abuse by a Catholic clergy | Reviewer: Nick | 4/5/10

A quick read through the lyrics should lead any (intelligent) person to the conclusion that each instance before "People forget" is an instance of what people typically call "fun". The song is about people living behind a "eminence front" of fun, hedonistic living...and it's a "put on". People are trying to hide behind this fun-filled lifestyle instead of dealing with their problems. It's a simple as that.


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------ 08/28/2014

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