February 1981: The Who Releases "You Better You Bet"

You Better You Bet
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(Warner Bros)

When it comes to the first single from The Who's 1981 album, Face Dances, it could be said that songwriter Pete Townshend was in rare form.

"I developed ['You Better You Bet'] over several weeks of clubbing and partying. I had gone through a lean period in my marriage and was seeing the daughter of a friend of mine," he admitted in book The Who by Numbers: The Story of The Who Through Their Music. "I wanted it to be a good song because the girl I wrote it for is one of the best people on the planet."

Released on February 27, 1981, "You Better You Bet" would score a direct hit, cruising up the Hot 100 before parking at #18 over the week of May 9, 1981. The #1 song in America that week: Sheena Easton's "Morning Train (Nine to Five)."

"A wonderful, wonderful song. The way the vocal bounces, it always reminds me of Elvis. But it was a difficult time, yeah," singer Roger Daltrey told Uncut in 2001, referencing the band recruited drummer Kenney Jones to step in for the recently deceased Keith Moon. "The Moon carry-on was much harder than carrying on after John, because we're more mature now. I hate going over this but, in retrospect, we did make the wrong choice of drummers. Kenney Jones – don't get me wrong, a fantastic drummer – but he completely threw the chemistry of the band. It just didn't work; the spark plug was missing from the engine...  In some ways I'd like to go back and re-record a lot of the songs on Face Dances, but 'You Better, You Bet' is still one of my favorite songs of all."

FUN FACT: "You Better You Bet" was both the fourth and fifty-fourth video ever played on MTV, making it the first clip the music video channel ever played more than once.

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