"The Punk And The Godfather" as written by and Pete Townshend....
You declared you would be three inches taller
You only became what we made you
Thought you were chasing a destiny calling
You only earned what we gave you
You fell and cried as our people were starving
Now you know that we blame you
You tried to walk on the trail we were carving
Now you know that we framed you

I'm the guy in the sky
Flying high flashing eyes
No surprise I told lies
I'm the punk in the gutter
I'm the new president
But I grew and I bent
Don't you know, don't it show?
I'm the punk with the stutter
My my my my my my

Generation (generation, generation)

We tried to speak between lines of oration
You could only repeat what we told you
Your axe belongs to a dying nation
They don't know that we own you
You're watching movies trying to find the feelers
You only see what we show you
We're the slaves of the phony leaders
Breathe the air we have blown you

I'm the guy in the sky
Flying high flashing eyes
No surprise I told lies
I'm the punk in the gutter
Woo, I'm the new president
And I grew and I bent
Don't you know, don't it show?
I'm the punk with the stutter
My my my my my my my my

Generation, my, my, my, my, my, my generation

I have to be careful not to preach
I can't pretend that I can teach
And yet I lived your future out
By pounding stages like a clown
And on the dance floor broken glass
The bloody faces slowly pass
The numbered seats in empty rows
It all belongs to me you know

Okay
You declared you would be three inches taller
You only became what we made you
Thought you were chasing a destiny calling
You only earned what we gave you
You fell and cried as our people were starving
Now you know that we blame you
You tried to walk on the trail we were carving
Now you know that we framed you

I'm the guy in the sky
Flying high flashing eyes
No surprise I told lies
I'm the punk in the gutter
Woo, I'm the new president
And I grew and I bent
Don't you know, don't it show?
I'm the punk with the stutter
My my my my my my my my

Generation, my, my, my, my, my, my generation


Lyrics submitted by Chris_Gough, edited by Prisonmike, IndrayudhRoy

"The Punk and the Godfather" as written by Pete Townshend

Lyrics © ABKCO MUSIC INC PETE TOWNSHEND CATALOG , FABULOUS MUSIC LTD , SPIRIT MUSIC GROUP

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The Punk And The Godfather song meanings
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16 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentThis is one of my favorite songs on the album, and I just learned that the the guy using synthisizers to talk is saying "my generation" from their song in the debut album. Thanks lyrics people, you saved me.
    PaulDavidHewsoncolon July 01, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentJimmy goes to cheer himself up at a Who gig, but becomes disillusioned when he realizes that the "godfathers" are just a bunch of phonies.
    QuadrophenicPinkon July 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song, to me, means that there is a split between the generations. The Punk is the young person, the godfather the old person. the Godfather tries to tell the Punk that he made it possible for the Punk to do whatever he wants, while the Punk believes that the Godfather is holding him back. Excellent song, one of my favorites.
    whofreak777on November 20, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with you guys, this song is amazing.
    guitaresson January 31, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPete Townsend said that part of the songs meaning was a conversation between a first generation mod and a second generation mod. he used the example of a conversation between himself and paul weller from the jam (the leader of a mod band during the punk era). his description was along the lines of...
    PT: well, we made you.
    PW: yes, but now you have this to deal with.

    Obviously the context of the song in relation to the rock opera is diferent. however it could be seen as a way of PT talking about the who's image being made more mod-like. as in, the who were partialy responsible for the explosion of mod culture, but are then stuck with the epitaff of being a mod band, which they werent as such. Roger Daltery was particularly resentful of the image being forced on him and described himself as a rocker in mods clothing.
    veitchy_88on July 30, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is some what of a confession on Townshend's part, he is the Godfather (the 70s arena rocker) and he used to be a punk (the mod kid), he feels guilty about abandoning the mods. Basically, he turned into the very thing he wanted to put an end to when he was younger.
    wingateson February 04, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe punk is the godfather, and vice versa.
    givinwhatforon June 06, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYou have to understand the lyrics in the context of the plot of "Quadrophenia." Jimmy goes to see a concert (supposedly the Who themselves, according to the liner notes). He sneaks backstage to see the band after the performance, but is disappointed by the rude manner in which he is treated by the band. I assumed that the lyrics were the band talking down to Jimmy, and not being grateful for his support as a fan. This scene is one of many in which Jimmy is disappointed and disillusioned by something in society (rock music/the mod scene, school, parents, girls, etc).
    cjkaupkeon January 21, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentQuadrophenia came out in 1973 some years, some years before the punk rock movement took off. Although "punk rock" was in use in some music magazines to refer to underground music scenes, the term 'punk' would normally mean a low-life or a rebel.

    Despite this, the song really does feel like some sort of confrontation between a late-70's punk rocker and either Townshend or Daltrey. However, in the context of the Quadrophenia rock opera, it's about Jimmy meeting the Who. He meets his musical idols and they don't live up to his expectations - or get on with him. He tries to catch them at the stage door and they are rude to him. It's one of the many things that makes Jimmy disillusioned with the 'mod' lifestyle.

    The song is sung from two POVs. The 'punk' sings the verses. The 'godfather' sings the chorus ("I'm the guy in the sky...") and the bridge. What's slightly confusing is that the godfather is claiming to be "the punk with the stutter".

    The punk complains that the godfather isn't living up to what he claims to be. He accuses him of being out of touch with and ungrateful towards his fans. He bitterly suggestions the godfather is on the way out, as part of a "dying nation". It's an angry rant from a younger generation to the old, just like the song 'My Generation' - which is referenced. It's hard to hear, but the words "M-m-m-my g-g-g-generation" are heard in the breakdowns, processed heavily by a synthesiser.

    The godfather replies by saying that he might "tell lies" and be a bit out of touch, due to all the fame and status of being "the new president". But he still insists he's a rebel at heart, which is why he reminds that he is "the punk with the stutter" (i.e. the famous stuttering vocals of 'My Generation'). In the bridge he's then more open and modest. He tells the punk that "I've lived your future out" and that he's had a wild and destructive lifestyle of his own, and it's not quite over.
    JohnAPrestwickon July 25, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentQuadrophenia came out in 1973 some years, some years before the punk rock movement took off. Although "punk rock" was in use in some music magazines to refer to underground music scenes, the term 'punk' would normally mean a low-life or a rebel.

    Despite this, the song really does feel like some sort of confrontation between a late-70's punk rocker and either Townshend or Daltrey. However, in the context of the Quadrophenia rock opera, it's about Jimmy meeting the Who. He meets his musical idols and they don't live up to his expectations - or get on with him. He tries to catch them at the stage door and they are rude to him. It's one of the many things that makes Jimmy disillusioned with the 'mod' lifestyle.

    The song is sung from two POVs. The 'punk' sings the verses. The 'godfather' sings the chorus ("I'm the guy in the sky...") and the bridge. What's slightly confusing is that the godfather is claiming to be "the punk with the stutter".

    The punk complains that the godfather isn't living up to what he claims to be. He accuses him of being out of touch with and ungrateful towards his fans. He bitterly suggestions the godfather is on the way out, as part of a "dying nation". It's an angry rant from a younger generation to the old, just like the song 'My Generation' - which is referenced. It's hard to hear, but the words "M-m-m-my g-g-g-generation" are heard in the breakdowns, processed heavily by a synthesiser.

    The godfather replies by saying that he might "tell lies" and be a bit out of touch, due to all the fame and status of being "the new president". But he still insists he's a rebel at heart, which is why he reminds that he is "the punk with the stutter" (i.e. the famous stuttering vocals of 'My Generation'). In the bridge he's then more open and modest. He tells the punk that "I've lived your future out" and that he's had a wild and destructive lifestyle of his own, and it's not quite over.
    JohnAPrestwickon July 25, 2016   Link

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