“Liar, liar, pants on fire”
Lyrics are here
Song is here
Way, way back in the mists of time, when I started university, I read “Dear Boy”, Tony Fletcher’s biography of Keith Moon. It’s a brilliant book and talks in some detail about Moon’s contributions to each of The Who’s albums (and also his ill-advised solo-album, Both Sides of the Moon) Obviously, one of the albums it talked about was their debut LP, My Generation.
At the time the album was out of print due to a disagreement between The Who, their record company and Shel Talmy, the producer of the album who owned the rights to it. Obviously, I’d heard the singles from it; I Can’t Explain, The Kids Are Alright and the title track. However, in those pre-Spotify days, the other songs achieved a semi-mythical status in my mind.
One of those tracks was La-La-La-Lies and that was when I first decided that I wanted to write a song with the title “Lies” It took a couple of years but I eventually came up with a chorus that I was happy with but I couldn’t write any verses that would go with it.
Another couple of years passed and a friend at work lent me “Nuggets” which contains not only the excellent Liar, Liar by The Castaways but also the best Beatles song that The Beatles didn’t write, Lies by The Knickerbockers. Inspired, I finally got around to writing some verses but I wasn’t completely happy with them and so the song remained untouched for another couple of years.
Then, when I digging around for some new lyrics to send to Anthony, I came across it again. I wrote some new verses and a middle-8 for it and by now it had morphed into a Between The Buttons-era Stones song rather than an early Who number.
Anthony disagreed. Ironically enough, the only bits that he kept were some of the new verses. He added to these, wrote a new chorus and a new middle-8 and in the end the whole thing sounds more like The Knickerbockers by way of The Smiths.
I was a bit disappointed that my middle-8:
And you’ve always been a little liar
Gonna tie you to a pyre
Start to laugh as the flames go higher
Cos the only cure for lies is fire
which I’d been quite happy with had been unceremoniously dumped but the song sounds fantastic so I’m not really that fussed.
Through all of its incarnations, it has remained at heart a song about a lying partner so read into that what you will…