Super-Charged Bluegrass Band Gives The Who’s ‘Pinball Wizard’ A Country Twist

We just love when country artists interpret songs that belong to a completely different genre of music. So when we came upon this bluegrass version of a popular Who song, we just had to share it. 

Even if you aren’t a fan of the original rock opera by The Who, if you’re a bluegrass fan, The Hillbenders’ cover of “Pinball Wizard” will definitely be a feast for the ears. The high-energy rendition, complete with all the makings of a bluegrass band (guitar, banjo, Dobro, bass, and mandolin) brings this classic British rock tune to a whole new, exciting level. 

“Pinball Wizard” was featured in The Who’s 1969 rock opera album, Tommy. It reached #4 in the UK charts, and #19 in the U.S. It tells the tale of a kid who is both deaf and blind that’s a pinball champion and people can’t seem to figure out why. Elton John also recorded a version that was used in the 1975 film adaption of Tommy.

This exciting bluegrass version by The Hillbenders is available on TOMMY: A Bluegrass Opry. Witty, right? Timothy Finn of The Kansas City Star says only good things about their unique take on classic Who tunes: “It was spectacular. Highly recommended, even to the most skeptical of Who fans.”

What a fantastic way to pay tribute to rock legends.


Ever since I was a young boy,
I’ve played the silver ball.
From Soho down to Brighton
I must have played them all.
But I ain’t seen nothing like him
In any amusement hall…

That deaf, dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pinball!

He stands like a statue,
Becomes part of the machine.
Feeling all the bumpers
Always playing clean.
He plays by intuition,
The digit counters fall.

That deaf, dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pinball!

He’s a pinball wizard
There has to be a twist.
A pinball wizard’s got such a supple wrist.

‘How do you think he does it?
I don’t know!
What makes him so good?’

Ain’t got no distractions
Can’t hear no buzzers and bells,
Don’t see no lights a-flashin’
Plays by sense of smell.
Always gets a replay,
Never seen him fall.

That deaf, dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pinball.

I thought I was The Bally table king
But I just handed my pinball crown to him.

Even on my favorite table
He can beat my best.
His disciples lead him in
And he just does the rest.
He’s got crazy flipper fingers
Never seen him fall…

That deaf, dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pinball.

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