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‘Lazy Fat People,’ a Pete Townshend youth anthem even more cutting than ‘My Generation’
11.15.2013
10:54 am
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‘Lazy Fat People,’ a Pete Townshend youth anthem even more cutting than ‘My Generation’

The Lazy Fat
 
Unlikely as it may seem, around 1966 Pete Townshend penned a harsh little ditty dividing the world up into the “lazy fat” and the “beautiful young,” warning that the lazy fat are complacent, unperturbed, obsessed with money—and will eventually win out over the beautiful young.

Lazy and fat they are, they are.
And because they are all the same..
They laugh and exclaim
“The young are so funny”

They burn in the sun, the sun
And though painfully pink, when it rains
They always complain
“We all paid our money.”

Oh! The lazy fat people
Are a terrible sight to see.
And the lazy fat people will
Get the better of you and me…….

Lazy and fat they are, they are.
Their children diet till thin
To leave more for them
“To save us some money.”

Oh! The lazy fat people will
Try to sit on you and me
If we dont watch out theyll
Get the better of you and me.

How to tell the young from the
Lazy fat is easy to do…..

LAZY FAT ARE PINK (them) AND THE
BEAUTIFUL YOUNG ARE BLUE (you)

Obviously, this song, called “Lazy Fat People,” was never released as a Who single, although Pete did lay down a demo recording of it. He offered it to Episode Six, a band that at the time contained the core of what would become Deep Purple, in the form of Roger Glover and Ian Gillan, but they passed on it. Townshend then offered it to The Barron Knights, who said yes—their version appeared as a single in 1967.

The Barron Knights were an interesting group—hell, they are an interesting group, they’re still active. They spent some time in Hamburg, like the Beatles did. Bill Wyman saw them in 1961 using an electric bass, an instrument he had never seen before, and the gig inspired him to take it up. The Barron Knights were one of the few groups to tour with both the Beatles and the Stones. The Barron Knights appear to have had a facetious streak, which made “Lazy Fat People” ideal for them, and they seem to have been irreducibly British in comparison to the Beatles and the Stones. Much later, in 1978, they reworked a song about the Smurfs so that it was about a group of British bank robbers.

The Barron Knights’ version of “Lazy Fat People” is a bit laddish, using a muted trumpet for the interstitial musical sections. In Townshend’s acoustic demo, he appears to have used a slide whistle for those parts, and considering how blockheaded the lyrics are, his version is really quite sweet.

Barron Knights version:

 
Pete Townshend demo:

 

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Pete Townshend’s nauseating PSA for The United States Air Force during the Vietnam War

Posted by Martin Schneider
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11.15.2013
10:54 am
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