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The Who - Baba O'Riley - Lyrics Meaning

The song was released on the band's 1971 album, Who's Next. The title is often mistakenly identified as "Teenage Wasteland", as those lyrics are repeated many times in the song. The actual title is derived from two influences, one philosophical, the other musical. Meher Baba was a spiritual master that Pete Townshend studied under and Terry Riley was a composer and pioneer of minimalist western classical music. The song is about growing up in the most basic sense. In the first verse lead singer Roger Daltrey says, "I farm for my meals" and "I don't need to fight" which means he can take care of himself and is moving away from the "teenage wasteland" that is youth. The "exodus" he mentions is the departure from these transitional years. As he becomes an adult, he brings along his female companion Sally, which signifies finding a mate and starting a family.

The children are referred to as "the happy ones" that are near and the singer is ready to begin his family. He has put aside the games and troubles of his youth and teenage years and is progressing into the next period of his life. As the song ends, Daltrey is reflecting on his own experiences and realizes it is only a phase and that everyone goes through that time in their lives.

Meanings of other songs by The Who:
Eminence Front
I'm a Boy
My Generation
Pictures of Lily