The Who

Getting in Tune

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Song Review by Tom Maginnis

"Getting in Tune" was originally titled "I'm in Tune" and was featured during the Who's live concerts at London's Young Vic Theater, intended for incorporation in the ill-fated multimedia project Lifehouse. The song was eventually retitled and recorded at Olympic Studios, but seldom played live thereafter. The song opens as a delicate ballad featuring Nicky Hopkins on piano and tasteful bass runs from John Entwistle. Roger Daltrey sings the first verse with an earnest croon: "I'm singing this note 'cause it fits in well with the chords I'm playing/I can't pretend there's any meaning here or in the things I'm saying." The lyrics use various musical metaphors in a self-conscious and self-deprecating manner. Daltrey reaches the lines, "But I'm in tune/Right in tune/I'm in tune/And I'm gonna tune," dramatically holding the last word as drummer Keith Moon explodes the tension with a thundering tom fill, the band crashing, then building on the repeated words, "Right on you!" The track then seems to lay back into a kind of grand expanse, the piano taking center stage, acoustic guitars keeping steady time, and Townshend adding guitar licks between the vocal lines. Perhaps the song's catchiest hook comes from a call-and-response vocal between Daltrey and Townshend, repeating the line "Getting in tune through the straight and narrow," with the music holding on a two-chord progression and Hopkins barreling away on piano in response to the lines, "Got it all here in my head/Nothing more needs to be said/I'm just sitting here banging on my old piano/Getting in tune through the straight and narrow." The tempo picks up for the finale, the boys feeling the spirit in a gospel-style rave-up, with drums kicking in double time, Entwistle letting loose with expressive bass scales, and Hopkins responding with some inspired pounding on the piano as Moon almost loses the beat trying to cram in as many speedy drum fills as possible while the track fades away. "Getting in Tune" is only one of many of the brilliant arrangements on Who's Next, displaying the band's mastery of dynamics, tension, and release techniques coalescing seamlessly with strong, memorable melodies. The song was rarely played live after this recording.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Who's Next 1971 MCA Masterdisc / MCA 4:50
Jerry Maguire 1996
Original Soundtrack
Epic Soundtrax / Sony Music Distribution 4:46