"Pinball Wizard" as written by and Pete Townshend....
Ever since I was a young boy
I've played the silver ball
From Soho down to Brighton
I must have played them all
But I ain't seen nothing like him
In any amusement hall
That deaf dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pinball!

He stands like a statue
Becomes part of the machine
Feeling all the bumpers
Always playing clean
He plays by intuition
The digit counters fall
That deaf dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pinball!

He's a pinball wizard
There has got to be a twist
A pinball wizard
S'got such a supple wrist

How do you think he does it? I don't know!
What makes him so good?

He ain't got no distractions
Can't hear those buzzers and bells
Don't see lights a flashin'
Plays by sense of smell
Always gets a replay
Never seen him fall
That deaf dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pinball

I thought I was
The Bally table king
But I just handed
My pinball crown to him

Even on my favorite table
He can beat my best
His disciples lead him in
And he just does the rest
He's got crazy flipper fingers
Never seen him fall
That deaf dumb and blind kind
Sure plays a mean pinball!


Lyrics submitted by Lucky1869_420

"Pinball Wizard" as written by Peter Townshend

Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group, Spirit Music Group

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Pinball Wizard song meanings
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67 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentWhen I heard this song, I had to try it. I blind-folded myself and put ear plugs in, and yup, I played pinball. It was very hard, but it was possible. I didn't use my "sense of smell", but I could feel the movements through my fingers. I was amazed. Then I lost and couldn't find the quarter slot so I gave up.
    classicRokkeron March 26, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentActually, Tommy could play pinball if he just kept hitting the flippers non-stop. Anyways, Pete wrote this song for Nik Cohn, as was already stated. Although it's a sell-out, I still love it. How couldn't you?
    whofreak777on November 20, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentToomuchmagicbus - I've seen the movie many, many times. If you read the inserts in the album, it says that this song was put in mostly as an afterthought to buy over an important reviewer who was obsessed with pinball.
    kantsuuon January 02, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentpetes mentor, meher baba, taught that people cant perceive god if they can perceive earthly things. this theory inspired pete to write about a boy who was deaf, mute, and blind, but later regained his senses and taught people what he learned about god while he could not sense the world around him. Halfway through recording the album, rock critic nik cohn gave the work-in-prgoress a mediocre review. pete knew that cohn was an avid pinball player, and so he told him that a twist in the story was coming where tommy became a pinball phenomenon. cohn loved the idea, and so pete wrote pinball wizard.
    PJ10on June 18, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'm sure the members of The Who know as well as you do that a deaf, dumb, and blind kid could never play pinball that well. But that's the whole point. A kid that does something impossible. Yeah, it's ridiculous, but it's a great song and I think that its absurdity is a big reason why. Yeah, it would never happen, but it's still a kickass and weird idea.
    Shaun2oo3on April 16, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSomeone brought this up to me, and I'm repeating it here because it's worth a shot: could Tommy possibly be autistic (rather than deaf and blind)? The album never says that, but it would explain the pinball thing.
    Ana Byrdon April 23, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentKafziel, from my understanding Tommy wasn't really deaf, dumb, and blind - he could see but didn't really understand what he was seeing, and he could hear - it just didn't make much if any sense to him. By dumb, I believe he meant mute. I could be wrong, but how would Tommy be staring in mirrors if he were really blind? He's simply blind to reality, and all he seems to see is his reflection.

    Also, as far as I know, the actual pinball part to Tommy really isn't important to the true meaning and plot.
    kantsuuon March 29, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe pinballwizard/messiah persona of Tommy is really important to the story. I didn't know that he wrote the song as a way to get better reviews so I only have this one interpretation of the song. Tommy is not actually blind, he just shut out the world. anyway...Tommy is called a messiah partly because he is so talented at playing pinball. Girls fling themselves on stage to touch him when he has actually done nothing truly profound to deserve this treatment. I think Pete was using this as a comparison to people idolizing him simply because he can play guitar. Tommy could play pinball, but he was not wise. This idea kinda relates to Behind Blue Eyes cause Pete was talking about being stereotyped as this great person and being forced to write "lies" to please people. I knoe the BBE thing isn't actually that relevant, but ....itmakessenseinmyhead
    PlutonianDollon January 17, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment@ Nemt:

    Not concept album, "Rock Opera" :-P

    Kantsuu on page one is correct about "Blind, Deaf, and Dumb". Its not litteral guys.
    FloatOn33on January 21, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo clear up the little lyric issue goin' there... the line "n' never tilts at all" was from the movie version; I watched the movie a couple days ago so I can confirm this. In the album version, it actually is "I've never seen him fall".
    Mikachuon October 28, 2006   Link

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