A Man Is A Man

jimthewhofan at aol.com jimthewhofan at aol.com
Tue Jun 24 13:40:28 CDT 2008

 "A Man Is A Man" is so strongly influenced by Scottish poet Robert Burns's 1795 poem "A Man's A Man for A'That" that Pete probably should have given him a co-writing credit, or at least a nod in the liner notes.

It was not unusual for Pete to make these kinds of references, in song, to the poetry of others. "Baba O'Riley" makes a public reference to the "teenage wasteland," rekindling images of T. S. Eliot's "The Waste Land" (1922). Furthermore, "Uniforms," from CHINESE EYES makes an allusion to Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" (1915) with the line "I am frightened/You are frightened/Should we get our trousers tightened." Eliot's line is "I grow old/I grow old/I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled." 

Of course, these kinds of allusions from Pete to Eliot are an homage to Eliot, who made the same kind of literary allusions in his own poetry (which, at the time, Eliot was criticized for doing; now he's hailed as perhaps the finest American or English poet next to Shakespeare). 

But regarding "A Man's A Man," the similarity in terms of structure, concept and title really insist that Pete make a public nod to Burns, IMHO.


PS. I dislike the song. If this one of the things Roger hates about IT'S HARD, I'm in agreement with him. 



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