"Substitute" as written by and Peter Townshend....
You think we look pretty good together
You think my shoes are made of leather

But I'm a substitute for another guy
I look pretty tall but my heels are high
The simple things you see are all complicated
I look pretty young, but I'm just back-dated, yeah

(Substitute) your lies for fact
(Substitute) I can see right through your plastic mac
(Substitute) I look all white, but my dad was black
(Substitute) my fine linen suit is really made out of sack

I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth
The north side of my town faced east, and the east was facing south
And now you dare to look me in the eye
Those crocodile tears are what you cry
It's a genuine problem, you won't try
To work it out at all you just pass it by, pass it by

(Substitute) me for him
(Substitute) my coke for gin
(Substitute) you for my mum
(Substitute) at least I'll get my washing done

I'm a substitute for another guy
I look pretty tall but my heels are high
The simple things you see are all complicated
I look pretty young, but I'm just back-dated, yeah

I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth
The north side of my town faced east, and the east was facing south
And now you dare to look me in the eye
Those crocodile tears are what you cry
It's a genuine problem, you won't try
To work it out at all you just pass it by, pass it by

(Substitute) me for him
(Substitute) my coke for gin
(Substitute) you for my mum
(Substitute) at least I'll get my washing done

(Substitute) your lies for fact
(Substitute) I can see right through your plastic mac
(Substitute) I look all white, but my dad was black
(Substitute) My fine-looking suit is really made out of sack


Lyrics submitted by PJ10

"Substitute" as written by Peter Townshend

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, T.R.O. INC.

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Substitute song meanings
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29 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentThis song is about how a guy is simply a substitute for a guy that a girl used to have. She's changing everythign about him, his whole image, but he's still the same guy inside.
    whofreak777on November 20, 2004   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI've read that it was loosely based on the idea that The Who were in those days just a "Substitute" for The Rolling Stones, and that this song was just a way to voice that while coming up with a Can't Get No kinda song for them. For me, it goes a little deeper than that. I've had the experience of being with several wonderful women recently who were still very hung up on their exes. Deny it as they might, I know that I was just a "Substitute" for that other guy. So, I could definitely see it as a metaphor for being in that sort of situation, where someone is all over you, yet completely distracted by another at the same time. Then toward the end I suppose he gets frustrated and finally leaves?
    SpdTrp1050on February 01, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is about a girl who thinks she is in love with this one guy. Whereas the guy thinks they are not soulmates, and she should keep looking.
    topace129on April 18, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe girl thinks he is a rich man but in reality he is froom the working class. he is substituting his working class image for a rich image lines that really reveal this inlcude

    I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth - if you were rich you were said to have a silver spoon in your mouth, so the play on the saying is obvious

    my fine looking suit is really made out of sack - fairly obviuos

    Those crocodile tears are what you cry - cocadile tears are false tears so he is sayin that although you are really sad that i was really poor not rich and you are crying for yourslelf
    rockerdude614on April 28, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentlove the song especially the bass solo
    ParkerD73on November 29, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentcoulnt have said it better truthspeaker, that annoys me too when people associate every rock song with getting stoned
    caffeinerockz44on February 24, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThere's one line that mentions a drug and who guys have to freak out and tell the nobody who said anything that it isnt about drugs?
    You guys have to settle down. This site is to share what you think the song is about, not to tell people what it ISNT about.
    LuckCharmon February 24, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentShe said it
    green_day_babyon February 24, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti love this song. pretty self explanitory i think. the pistols do a pretty good cover of it
    wackydeli3on March 04, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentLove this song, especially the line when he says that, with his mom at least he'd get his washing done. Its about a guy dating a rich girl and she thins he's rich too but in reality he is not and he's sick of pretending.
    amazon_0505on March 20, 2005   Link

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