Why, you might ask, would a life-long secularist like me be enchanted with this song? First, let's deal with this choice of video.
If playing a bad rendition of a song would have gotten that song out of my head, this would have done it. Unfortunately, just putting up a video that has no visuals in it doesn't make much sense to me. So you get the movie version. The original version is much better, though.
As for what I love about this song, to me, it's not about the question of whether Tommy will be "saved" in any religious sense of the word. The song is about his family's concerns for Tommy's future. He needs to be saved in a very real sense - from the isolation he's built up around himself. Being able to understand religious ideas, and either accepting or rejecting them, is something he can't do. So is everything else he should be experiencing and learning. This concern is one thing that the movie's version of the song gets across, particularly his parents' growing despair over his condition.
I recently saw the Burien Little Theatre (BLT) production of The Who's Tommy, which is one of the shows I mentioned a few weeks ago. Since I work in theatre in this area, I don't feel right about saying much regarding either this or the Centerstage version that will be appearing in early May. I will say, though, that I think the BLT version renders this song better than anything I've heard. It's meant to be a choral number, and they perform it that way. The show's director made a smart choice to not try to recreate the movie's scene, for any one of a number of reasons, but I think it works at least as well at portraying the situation as the movie does.
As someone who is both a fan of The Who and of theatre, I think the BLT version is worth checking out if you live in the Seattle-Tacoma area. (see NOTE 1) As I watched the show, there were songs that I enjoyed more the way The Who did them, and one or two where I liked the movie version better. But it's still a great show, and I don't think any aging rock and roll fans will be disappointed. If you miss it, though, Centerstage will be doing it as well. Check those links for showtimes and other relevant information.
NOTE 1: The Who's Tommy is playing this weekend and next at Burien Little Theatre. Check BLT's site for showtimes, ticket information, and directions.
UPDATE/CORRECTION: Changed the sentence about when Centerstage's version of The Who's Tommy begins its run. Originally, I'd said it was April.