March Monikers: “Tommy, Can You Hear Me?”

Mirrors are powerful symbols in TOMMY. Just what can he see in them?
Mirrors are powerful symbols in Tommy.
Just what can he see in them?

March 2022 at Musical Cyberspace is all about songs with people’s names in the title.

The Who’s Tommy features several name songs, but none is as simple and all the more interesting for that than “Tommy, Can You Hear Me?” This is especially true in The Who’s original version of the song, which transports its listeners to – please forgive me, Pete Townshend – the summer of ’69. Those guitars just take you back in time.

When it comes to the stage show from the 1990s, the song is sung by some local lads as they accompany Tommy back from the street to his home after a doctor’s appointment. The kicker comes when the 10-year-old Tommy appears in the mirror, echoing the calling of his name. It’s a super moment that pays off well theatrically. This is somewhat different from the rendition of the song in the 1975 film in which Ann-Margaret, who plays Tommy’s mother, shows just how willing she was to give it her all, even more so as the number escalates into “Smash the Mirror.”

If you’re keen to share your thoughts on “Tommy, Can You Hear Me?”, then head on to the comment box at the end of this post. Feel free to browse through the playlist of various versions of the number as you do!

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