10 Best Hard Rock Ballads

7. Behind Blue Eyes - The Who

As the Who made their way into the 70's, Pete Townshend was on the verge of a creative breakthrough. After the success of Tommy, Townshend's follow-up opera Lifehouse went into production, only to be scrapped and an album being assembled from the opera's meatier passages.

One of the tentative emotional showcases for the album was "Behind Blue Eyes," which blew fans out of the water when it was released on Who's Next. The song tackles the feeling of being alienated in your mind and trying to find a middle ground between love and anger. The subtle acoustic arrangement and Roger Daltrey's vocal delivery perfectly underscore the lyrics, as the tune jumps from a standard ballad into a nervy hard rock assault by the end.

While the rock operas of the past showed the Who at their most musically sophisticated, "Behind Blue Eyes" showed the band using music as a form of therapy as they work out their internal emotions through the power of guitars. Beyond just slowing things down, this song was the ultimate example of the heart beneath the rough rocker exterior. The rock opera may not have come to pass, but "Behind Blue Eyes" remains a bulletproof song.


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