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Retrieved from Wikipedia:
Magic Bus on Wikipedia
"Magic Bus"
Single by The Who
from the album Magic Bus: The Who on Tour
B-side"Someone's Coming"
"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"
Released27 July 1968
18 September 1968
Format7" vinyl
Recorded29 May 1968 at Advision Studios, London and mixed at Gold Star Studios, Los Angeles sometime between 30 June and 7 July 1968
GenrePsychedelic pop
LabelTrack Records
Decca Records
Writer(s)Pete Townshend
ProducerKit Lambert
The Who singles chronology

"Magic Bus" is a song written by Pete Townshend at the time of My Generation in 1965, but not recorded by The Who until 1968. It is one of the band's most popular songs and has been a concert staple. The record reached #26 in the United Kingdom and #25 in the United States.[1]

The song's arrangement uses a Latin percussion instrument known as claves. These are pairs of small wooden sticks that make a distinctive high pitched clicking noise when struck together. The Who previously used the same instrument on the song Disguises, recorded in 1966.

The song makes use of the Bo Diddley beat.[2]


The song was not recorded by The Who at the time it was written, but the band's management and music publisher circulated a Townshend demo recording of the song in 1966. A version was released as a single in the UK in April 1967 by an obscure band called The Pudding, in the UK on Decca and in the US on London's Press label. It was not a hit.[3][4]

The song is usually performed as a duet, where the "Rider", usually singer Roger Daltrey when live, is riding on the bus every day to see his girl. In the song he asks the "Driver", usually Townshend if he can buy the bus from him, with the driver's initial answer being no. After haggling for a while, the driver finally lets him have it and he vows to drive it to his girlfriend's house every day.[5]

Live performances

This was first performed in 1968 and was part of the regular set from 1971 to 1976. (It was performed a few times in 1969 and 1970.) It made less frequent appearances starting from 1979. Its most recent performance was at The Who's concert at the Indigo2 on 17 December 2008. The live version was often a lengthy jam lasting much longer than the studio version.

One of its most legendary performances can be heard on Live at Leeds.[6] This version stretches out to nearly eight minutes, with Roger Daltrey joining the jam playing harmonica. The Leeds recording has been used during the musical montage sequence in the final act of Martin Scorsese's film Goodfellas as well as the opening sequence in Cameron Crowe's Jerry Maguire. John Entwistle reportedly hated playing the song, as most of the bass part consisted of a single note played ad nauseam. This statement can be found on the 30 Years of Maximum R&B DVD.

It was stated on several occasions during their 2009 tour of Australia and Japan that they were unable to play the song, with Townshend stating, "We can't play Magic Bus right now.... But if you shout loud enough... We definitely won't play it."

The song appears in the film Year One.

This song is available for DLC in Rock Band 2.


  1. ^ Who Discography by Ed Hanel, included in booklet to box set Thirty Years of Maximum R&B
  2. ^
  3. ^ Information on "Magic Bus" at The Originals Project
  4. ^ The Hypertext Who: Liner notes
  5. ^
  6. ^


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