Dave Arbus, who played the violin solo on the Who’s “Baba O’Riley” and was a member of the little-known English group East of Eden, turns 78 years old today (October 8th). Its title is a combined tribute to Pete Townshend’s Indian guru and an American composer. Although many people call the song “Teenage Wasteland” (after its most prominent lyric), Pete Townshend gave it the title “Baba O’Riley.” Meher Baba was his spiritual guru. He tells us where “O’Riley” comes from.

“It was a bastardization of my interest at the time in the cyclic works of people like Phillip Glass and Terry Riley. Terry Riley did this album called Rainbow in Curved Air, which is a wonderful, wonderful serene piece of music for tape recorder, really, and I started some experiments in a similar vein as part of the LIfehouse project that I was working on. It began as a 30- or 40-minute instrumental, and then when I started to put the album together I wrote a lyric for it and had to come up with a title and that’s what I came up with.”

 

Photo Credit: Robin Wong/PR Photos

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