"How Many Friends" as written by and Pete Townshend....
I'm feelin' so good right now
There's a handsome boy tells me how I changed his past
He buys me a brandy
But could it be he's really just after my ass?

He likes the clothes I wear
He says he likes a man who's dressed in season
But no-one else ever stares, he's being so kind
What's the reason?

How many friends have I really got?
You can count 'em on one hand
How many friends have I really got?
How many friends have I really got?
That love me, that want me, that'll take me as I am?

Suddenly it's the silver screen
And a face so beautiful that I have to cry out
Everybody hears me
But I look like a fool now
With a cry and I shy out
She knows all of my friends
But it's nice to find a woman who's keen on living
Now I think I've reached the end
I wonder in the dead of night - how do I rate?

How many friends have I really got?
How many friends have I really got?
How many friends have I really got?
That love me, that want me, that'll take me as I am?

It's all like a dream you know
When you're still up early in the morning
And you all sit together to watch the 1 come through
But things don't look so good
When you could use a bit of warning
Then you know that no-one will ever speak the truth about you

How many friends have I really got?
How many friends have I really got?
How many friends have I really got?
That love me, that want me, that'll take me as I am?

When I first signed a contract
It was more than a handshake then
I know it still is
But there's a plain fact
We talk so much shit behind each other's backs
I get the willies
People know nothing about their own soft gut
So how come they can sum us up
Without suffering all the hype we've known
How come they bum us up

How many friends have I really got?
You can count 'em on one hand
How many friends have I really got?
How many friends have I really got?
That love me, that want me, that'll take me as I am?


Lyrics submitted by Chris_Gough

"How Many Friends" as written by Pete Townshend

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Spirit Music Group

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How Many Friends song meanings
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6 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentThis is another one of The Who's more obscure songs on Who By Numbers. The meaning of this one is clear in some aspects and enigmatic in others. Clearly, Pete is talking about how he is attractive to people because of what he is and how he dresses, and yet it is most of those people who want something from him, i.e., sex, money etc. But the song is also about the history of the Who, their conflicts and the people, including the media, who took shots at them all the way. In the end, Pete acknowledges that amongst the scores of people he knows in rock and in business, there are only a small few who are real friends.
    jeanbleuon May 14, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentA lot of times, when I am involved in a discussion about friends, loyalty, family, etc., I find myself quoting Townshend's lyrics "I can count 'em all on one hand"
    NunoInfoon June 07, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is from "By Numbers" wich many, including some of the bad, thought would be the last album.

    It's a bio-song about how life was for Pete and the band at the time. He was relly getting hit on by guys in bars. He Fell in love with a female friend at the movies. The band was going through a lot and really kinda ripping apart.
    regbon March 11, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis means everything apparantly keith moon broke down when payed this to him. It distinguishes between and aquiantance and a reel friend. i can count em all on one hand
    kempeon August 11, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe guitar in this song is BEAUTIFUL!
    Who By Numbers is my FAVORITE album!! So honest!
    the orrible ooon August 16, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI told my younger sister and bro that you find your true friends AFTER high school.. not during. Love this song.
    hockyjockyon September 23, 2008   Link

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