" is a song written by Pete Townshend
of British rock
band The Who
from their second rock opera
). The song reached number twenty on the UK Singles Chart
, while the 1979 re-release (along the film
and soundtrack album
) reached number seventy-nine on the Billboard Hot 100
Role in the plot of Quadrophenia
In the song, the main character Jimmy has taken a train to Brighton
, consumed a lot of drugs, recollecting his life with the Mods
, the cultural movement to which he belongs (even if he has dropped out for now), and their duels with the Rockers
. Jimmy's memories are extremely disjointed, consisting mainly of anger, confusion, violence, sexual frustration, and rootlessness.
"5:15", like many of the songs from Quadrophenia is self-referential - "M-m-m-maaah generation" is a line - and thus represents an angrily self-centered, teenage disconnection with society, family and the opposite sex. 'Jimmy' was "born in the war", that is, World War II and its aftermath, does not understand why he should care about it (or anything) in the context of his extravagant, Mod values.
Style and variations
The studio recording shows off the originality of Keith Moon
, whose drumming toward the end of the song mimics the rhythm of a train, slowing down as it enters a station. The simple power and drive of this song made it an extremely popular concert staple. The live performances of the song from 1996 to early 2002 were highlighted by an extended bass solo from John Entwistle
that would push the song either toward or past the ten-minute mark (the version on Live at the Royal Albert Hall
album clocks in at 11:40).