Behind Blue Eyes

Behind Blues Eyes by The Who (Fingerstyle Guitar Lesson)

Scroll down for full video lesson (with tab) of Behind Blue Eyes.

Behind Blue Eyes by The Who was released in 1971 and was the second single from their fifth album 'Who's next'. The song was written by the guitarist of the band Pete Townsend and is one of their best known songs.

Although Townsend uses a pick for it, I've taught the song in the video lesson as fingerstyle, simply because this site is all about fingerpicking. It works well either way but the strumming parts will probably be easy with the help of a plectrum, especially if you really want to get it to sound just like the recording.

Behind Blue Eyes is no. 20 on my Top 60 Fingerpicking Songs of ALL TIME list. If you've not seen the list be sure to check it out and sign up to my weekly email lesson so you don't miss learning any of these great fingerstyle songs.

Song Facts:

  • Tempo - 130 Bpm
  • Key - E minor (with modulation)
  • Reach no. 34 in US Billboard Hot 100
  • Recorded at Olympic Studios in London


For the 4 bar intro Townsend arpeggiates his way through an Esus4 chord. It's important to be accurate and play the right strings here, otherwise it won't sound exactly like the song. It's a lot to remember and impressive how you can squeeze so much out of just one chord.

Behind Intro

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For the verse Townsend continues with the arpeggiating approach and adds a simple chord progression underneath. The trickiest part here is bar 4, as you have to quickly add the sus4 to the D chord, really slow it down and practice it over and over until the timing is solid.

Behind Verse


For the chorus it moves from arpeggiating to strumming, I recommend really listening to the recording here as Townsend uses a lot of small nuances.

Behind Chorus

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Although you don't have to, I would use a pick for the bridge to add more attack to it and dig in more.

Behind Bridge


Again I think that for the bridge a pick works best.

Behind Instrumental

If you have any questions or want to share anything at all then please leave a comment below.

I hope you've found this lesson useful.

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